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Antisemitic, Pro-Hamas Slurs Halt New York High School Girls’ Basketball Game

UPDATE March 13, 2024: The Department of Education has initiated an official investigation into this incident; more here.

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A New York high school girls’ basketball game was aborted last week after the home team hurled antisemitic slurs at their Jewish opponents against the backdrop of the ongoing war between Israel and the Hamas terror group.

Varsity teams from The Leffell School, a private Jewish school in Hartsdale, and Roosevelt High School, a public school in Yonkers, played each other on Thursday night in a non-league game.

During the game, which also reportedly turned physically violent, a Roosevelt player told a visiting Jewish opponent, “I support Hamas, you f-cking Jew,” The New York Post reported, citing the New York City Public Schools Alliance, a group of parents and teachers dedicated to combating antisemitism.

A New York high school girls’ basketball game was aborted last week after the home team hurled antisemitic slurs at their Jewish opponents against the backdrop of the ongoing war between Israel and the Hamas terror group.

Varsity teams from The Leffell School, a private Jewish school in Hartsdale, and Roosevelt High School, a public school in Yonkers, played each other on Thursday night in a non-league game.

During the game, which also reportedly turned physically violent, a Roosevelt player told a visiting Jewish opponent, “I support Hamas, you f-cking Jew,” The New York Post reported, citing the New York City Public Schools Alliance, a group of parents and teachers dedicated to combating antisemitism.

The Leffell School Lions’ head coach, John Tessitore, held a discussion with his players and they decided to end the game after the third quarter.

The development saw Roosevelt High School agree to a voluntary forfeit of the game.

Following the incident, Leffell senior player Robin Bosworth wrote an op-ed in the student paper The Lion’s Roar saying that right from the beginning of the game there were “substantially more jabs and comments thrown at the players on our team than what I have experienced in the past.”

She said Roosevelt players shouted “Free Palestine,” along with antisemitic slurs.

Then, in the third quarter, “members of our team started to get injured from the other team’s physical style of play,” Bosworth said.

“I have played a sport every athletic season throughout my high school career, and I have never experienced this kind of hatred directed at one of my teams before,” wrote Bosworth, who is also the paper’s editor. “Instead of responding to hatred with more of the same, we chose to separate ourselves from the situation and leave with dignity and pride in who we are and what we believe in.”

“Attacking a team because of their school’s religious association is never acceptable, but especially due to the current war in Israel and the world’s rise in antisemitism, this felt extremely personal to me and many members of my team,” she said.

In a letter to the school community reported on by the Post, school head Michael Kay wrote that “a small number of players on the opposing team directed hurtful, antisemitic comments toward members of our team” and said he was “incredibly proud” of how the Leffell players responded.

Roosevelt’s athletic director, Kyle Calabro, later apologized, according to Kay, and vowed “the follow-up would be swift and appropriate.”

The day after the game, Roosevelt principal Edward DeChent also apologized to Kay while detailing “investigative steps” that were being taken as well as “disciplinary consequences and educational responses,” according to the Post report.

The Yonkers Public Schools district said in a statement: “It has come to our attention that a student-athlete made a statement involving ‘free Palestine.’ This incident was promptly addressed in line with our district’s policies and values.”

There has been a sharp rise in antisemitic incidents around the world, including in the US, since October 7, when the war between Israel and Hamas erupted with a devastating attack by the Palestinian terror group, which killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted another 240 people as hostages into the Gaza Strip.

Israel responded with a military campaign aimed at destroying Hamas, removing it from power in Gaza, and freeing the hostages.

Source:https://www.timesofisrael.com/high-school-girls-basketball-game-aborted