The Center for Jewish Impact launched its first strategic collaboration with Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Club and the World Zionist Organization, initiating a unique event marking the 85th Anniversary of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games: ‘United Through Sports.’ The event, which took place earlier tonight in Tel Aviv, Israel, united senior figures in the sports industry, the diplomatic community and public society in Israel, to commemorate the events of 1936 and to discuss the need for collaborative action to counter expressions of hatred, racism, and antisemitism in sports, and society at large.
Among the event participants was the 10th President of the State of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, who received an award for promoting 'Tolerance Through Sports' from the Center for Jewish Impact, the Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Club and the World Zionist Organization. Also speaking were Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner, Michael Muller, Governing Mayor of Berlin, Yoel Razvozov, Minister of Tourism of the State of Israel, Nachman Shai, Minister of Diaspora Affairs of the State of Israel, Robert Singer, Chairman of the Center for Jewish Impact, Shimon Mizrahi, Chairman of Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Club, Yakov Hagoel, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, as well as other top athletes and diplomats, held a dialogue on the need to work together to combat hatred, racism and anti-Semitism on the sport fields, and in society at large.
As part of this continued cooperation, Maccabi will host representatives of local Jewish communities during a selected number of Euroleague away games, in addition to holding meetings and receptions for guests. All of this to be done in collaboration with the Center for Jewish Impact and the World Zionist Organization.
Reuven Rivlin, the 10th President of the State of Israel noted during the "Tolerance in Sports" award: “The lesson we learned from the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games is that there will always be some dark forces, that will try to promote some besotted ideas of hate and violence, and unfortunately, we see that without comparison in every community in the world. The struggle against Antisemitism, racism and hatred, this isometric that everyone needs to participate in. We are all human beings. I know we will succeed in this way because we have the truth on our side. We must win. The Nazis were willing to create false views of openness, prohibited Jews from coming into certain areas, allowed female, male, Jews and black sportsmen to participate in the Olympics. Now we’re going to lead and direct youth in Israel, especially the initiative of this event in which we’re celebrating the victory of sports over racism and Antisemitism.”
Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner: “The role of sports in society is something that we take great pride in here at the NBA. For generations, sports have impacted the world in remarkable ways. They serve as a source of inspiration, they teach us values like teamwork, inclusion, and respect, and most of all they bring people together. That unifying power is why I believe sports matters now more than ever. As we face a disturbing rise in hate and discrimination, including antisemitism, we need to use our collective influences to condemn these acts. We cannot underestimate the powerful voice we have as a sports community to unite people around the world."
Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin: “The 11th Summer Olympics Games with Nazi Germany as their host, were the first gross violation of the Olympic Idea as Coubertin understood it. Even today, they are considered a classic example of how sports can be exploited by politics. At the time, although antisemitism, racism and the exclusion, discrimination and persecution of Jews and dissidents had already been part of everyday life in Germany for three years, the Nazi regime managed to present a sanitized image of its dictatorship to the world. Germany was able to cast itself as a peace-loving, cosmopolitan nation, as a perfect backdrop for peaceful athletic competition in the service of international understanding. And although Berlin was, of course, still the heart of a ruthless and inhuman dictatorship, the city did experience an exuberant sports festival that drew visitors from all over the world. Brutal exclusionary and repressive practices during or before the games were largely ignored by the IOC and other participating countries.”
Robert Singer, Chairman of the Center for Jewish Impact: "It is extraordinary to think that today we stand here, in Tel Aviv, in Israel, as a proud, strong and successful country, remembering what happened to Jewish athletes only 85 years ago. On behalf of dozens of communities and the Center for Jewish Impact, I would like to thank our partners at Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Club, and the World Zionist Organization, for promoting the values of sportsmanship as part of the global fight against anti-Semitism, racism and hatred. Together, we will continue to work to advance this important issue in a variety of ways.”
Shimon Mizrahi, Chairman of Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Club: “The Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Club is grateful and honored to be able to host such an important event, in our museum, marking the 85th anniversary of the 1936 Berlin Games, United Through Sports. We are a proud people, who will not bow down to anyone else. This welcomed initiative, from the Center for Jewish Impact and the World Zionist Organization facilitating this conference, is greatly appreciated, especially at this time when we are witnessing antisemitic incidents across Europe and the US, harassment of Jews, and various boycotts.”
Yakov Hagoel, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and Acting Chairman of the Jewish Agency: "The Struggle against Antisemitism is one of the core values of the World Zionist Organization. Our partnership with the Center for Jewish Impact and Maccabi Tel Aviv greatly expands our international reach, further connecting Jewish communities in Europe to Israel and increasing Jewish identity and pride in the fight against antisemitism."