Brooklyn College Volleyball Players Called Out For 'Anti-Semitism' After Kneeling For Israeli National Anthem
While visiting Yeshiva University last week for a college volleyball game, two players from Brooklyn College took a knee during the airing of the Israeli national anthem, "Hatikvah."
The two players are now being accused of "anti-Semitism."
Prior to each game, Yeshiva University plays both the United States' national anthem as well as the Israeli national anthem.
The President of YU, Dr. Ari Berman, said he was happy the University was in a position to support both countries.
"[The school is] proud to be the only university who sings both the American and Israeli national anthems before every athletic competition and major event."
But when the two opposing players, identified as Omar Rezika and Hunnan Butt, took a knee during the playing of Israel's national anthem, YU students in the stands were shook.
One student at Yeshiva University's Stern College for Women, commented:
"I saw these two guys kneeling and I honestly had to [do] a double take … and I was shocked, my heart felt ripped out of my chest."
One of the audience members, Sarah Serfaty, recorded a video of the anthem being played and the players who took a knee.
She later posted it to Facebook and captioned it:
"I don't care what your political beliefs are, have some respect. This is Anti-Semitism. This is not a place to make a religious or political statement, respect the other team. Show sportsmanship and tolerance."
You can watch the brief video here:
Many commenters concurred.
The President of Brooklyn College, Michelle Anderson, defended the students' actions by reiterating that they were protected by the first amendment.
"The students' kneeling itself is protected speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The college, as a public institution, is bound by the First Amendment, which prohibits the suppression of speech based solely on its content or viewpoint."
The college also disputed Serfaty's initial report that the two players also refused to shake YU players' hands.
"Brooklyn College strongly condemns all forms of anti-Semitism and hatred. The two students who knelt during the national anthem did not refuse to shake hands with players from the other team."
Yeshiva University disputed that claim as well.
@ChoveveiZion @BrooklynCollege @YUNews @CUNY Your tweet is not accurate. Please rest assured that if anything like… https://t.co/bBdeZsCMcc— Yeshiva Maccabees (@Yeshiva Maccabees)1582500427.0
Kneeling during a national anthem has gained prominence as a means of political protest over the past several years with Colin Kaepernick's kneeling during the U.S. national anthem to protest police brutality against African-Americans.
Many on Twitter supported Rezika's and Butt's protest.
Two volleyball players from Brooklyn College, Hunnan Butt and Omar Rezika, decided to kneel before a game on Februa… https://t.co/cs1iOprWbR— Palestine SunBird (@Palestine SunBird)1583012365.0
🎥: A Brooklyn College volleyball player that posted “Free Palestine 🇵🇸” on his Facebook page took a knee during the… https://t.co/V4NglvGtTY— Resist Programming 🛰 (@Resist Programming 🛰)1582769718.0
Following in the footsteps of former NFL star Colin Kaepernick, Hunnan Bhat and Omar Rezika have 'taken a knee' in… https://t.co/YfabBdLoXZ— Middle East Eye (@Middle East Eye)1582948806.0
Just as Kaepernick should not be seen as anti-American for his protests, nor should these students be seen as anti-semitic for theirs.