Security concerns or discrimination? SAZF calls for Teeger’s reinstatement as U-19 captain
The young cricketer was relieved of the U-19 captaincy after making pro-Israel comments at an awards function.
David Teeger. Picture: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images
The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) has demanded the reinstatement of David Teeger as the captain of the SA U-19 cricket team, ahead of the U-19 World Cup which is being held in South Africa from Friday.
According to the SAZF a petition launched in support of Teeger, who was relieved of the team’s captaincy after statements he made last year about the war between Israel and Hamas, has garnered almost 50,000 signatures in its first 24 hours.
The SAZF have called the decision to replace Teeger as U19 captain “discriminatory and antisemitic”.
Though CSA launched an independent investigation into Teeger’s comments, made at a Jewish awards ceremony, which cleared him of wrong-doing, the cricket body stripped him of the team’s leadership last week, citing security concerns.
The SAZF said in a statement: “This development is not only an act of antisemitism but also a violation of the South African Constitution. It unfairly targets and singles out an individual based on his Jewish faith and beliefs.
“Teeger’s continued presence in the team, albeit not as captain, further underscores the discriminatory nature of this decision.”
Teeger said at the awards function, where he was honoured as a rising star: “Yes, I’ve been [given] this award, and yes, I’m now the rising star, but the true rising stars are the young soldiers in Israel,” Teeger said, according to the South African Jewish Report.
“And I’d like to dedicate it to the State of Israel and every single soldier fighting so that we can live and thrive in the Diaspora.”
Rowan Polovin, National Chairman of the SAZF said in a statement released Wednesday: “The Teeger case has shown how the South African government’s vilification of the Jewish state has led directly to actions against Jews who stand up for it. Anti-Zionism bleeds fast into antisemitism.
“Teeger was targeted for no other reason than that he is a Jew who expressed his Jewish beliefs. Being targeted solely for his Jewish identity and beliefs is utterly unacceptable and must be challenged.”
He added that: “The CSA’s rationale, citing security concerns, appears increasingly unfounded and is most likely politically-motivated. This is especially pertinent given the context of the South African government’s hostile stance against Israel and the timing of CSA’s announcement coinciding with South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice.”
The SAZF is demanding that Cricket South Africa issue a formal apology and reinstate David Teeger as captain.
“If security is a genuine concern, CSA must articulate these issues clearly and explain why standard security measures are inadequate. CSA’s actions potentially violate International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations, and we urge the ICC to investigate the conduct of the South African Cricket board.”