Irish team refuses handshake with Israeli opponents — RT World News

The women's basketball team snubbed its rivals due to allegations of anti-Semitism

The Irish women's basketball team refused to shake hands with their Israeli rival during a match in Latvia, after Israeli player Dor Saar accused his counterparts of… “Totally anti-Semitic.”

Ireland took on Israel in a EuroBasket 2025 qualifier in Riga on Thursday. In a departure from usual protocol, Basketball Ireland announced before the match that its team would not participate in the tournament “Exchanging gifts [or] Formal handshakes before or after the match, while our players will line up for the Irish national anthem on the bench, rather than on center court.

The statement came after the Israel Basketball Association published an interview with Saar on Tuesday, during which the player accused her Irish counterparts of anti-Semitism.

He added: “It is known that they are completely anti-Semitic and this is not a secret, and perhaps that is why we expect a strong match.” Saar said. “We talk about it among ourselves, we know they don't like us and we will always leave everything on the pitch and in this match in particular.”

Basketball Ireland reported Sarr's comments to and contacted FIBA “Inflammatory and not accurate at all.”

Before the match with Israel, Basketball Ireland issued a statement saying as much “Deeply concerned about the events unfolding in Gaza and…very sympathetic to the horrific situation people are having to deal with.” The organization revealed that it had contacted the International Basketball Federation to discuss withdrawing from two scheduled matches with Israel, but was warned that the Irish team would be fined up to 180,000 euros ($195,000) and banned from participating in the 2025 and 2027 EuroBasket tournament.

“Basketball Ireland remains committed to holding the match on February 8th.” The statement concluded.

Public support for the Palestinian cause is rising in Ireland, especially among supporters of the Palestinian cause Sinn Fein The party whose leaders maintained friendly relations with Hamas even after stopping their armed struggle against Britain. An opinion poll conducted last month showed that 71% of the Irish public viewed Israel's treatment of the Palestinians as inappropriate. “racism,” While 62% supported imposing sanctions on the Jewish state due to its ongoing war in Gaza.

Israel won the match 87-57, with the Israeli Basketball Association announcing the victory “Despite the lack of sportsmanship among the visiting team.”

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