South Africa Suspends Jewish Player From Sports Team Captaincy Due To Stance On Gaza War

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Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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South Africa suspended David Teeger, a Jewish captain of South Africa’s under-19 cricket team, on Friday over his stance on the Israel-Hamas war.

Teeger showed support for Israel following the Oct. 7 massacre by Hamas during an “impromptu acceptance speech” Oct. 22 at the Absa Jewish Achievers Awards ceremony, in which he dedicated his award to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers, according to the South African Jewish Report. Despite an independent commission clearing Teeger of any wrongdoing in December 2023, the South African government opted to suspend Teeger from his captaincy over protesters who may focus on Teeger’s stance, which would “risk … conflict or even violence.” (RELATED: South Africa Accuses Israel Of Genocide In Lawsuit Before UN Court)

Teeger’s remarks drew ire from pro-Palestinian organizations, one of which argued before an independent commission that “[Teeger’s] unambiguous blind support for war demonstrates an indifference to the suffering of innocent civilians of Gaza who have lost their homes, livelihood, family members, and lives as a direct result of the actions of those soldiers that he admires,” according to South African Jewish Report.

Teeger maintained that since the comments made were personal, they could not plausibly be taken as a statement from any sports team he represented and that he did not express support for killing or harming others based on racial, ethnic, or religious background, the outlet noted.

In addition to Teeger’s pro-Israel stance, the Jewish sports player is Shabbat and kosher observant, Israel HaYom reported.