A match between the Leeds University Jewish Society (Hapoel Hyde Park) football team and the Arab Society football team has been cancelled amidst allegations that a number of Arabsoc players said that they did not feel comfortable playing against the Jsoc team.
According to a statement from Hapoel Hyde Park, the captain of the Arabsoc team informed the university social sports department the night before the match was scheduled to take place, having previously approved the match.
A statement from Hapoel Hyde Park condemned the decision as “a blatant act of antisemitism”, as the Arabsoc team had said they would have no issue playing any other team in the league that Wednesday.
The club has condemned the actions of the Arabsoc players who refused to play the game, and are awaiting an investigation from the university. The club says that they “will not be silent…we will hold those who perpetrate and enable it (antisemitism) to happen”. Hapoel Hyde Park manager Jasper van Veen said he was “devastated” by what had happened, and that the club is encouraging other Jewish sports teams to “support each other and stand up for ourselves”.
Leeds Jsoc President Joel Herman described the impact of the decision as “harrowing…we all feel totally disrespected and let down by the league for accommodating this…unfortunately this is not the first act which has taken place but this is the most blatant form”. Herman said that the war in Gaza should have no impact on the Jsoc, and that Jewish students in Leeds now feel “threatened and unsafe…we seek urgent support and comfort from the union and the university in these hard times”.
The university’s investigation into the situation remains ongoing.