The Israeli-American Council’s Las Vegas branch held a friendly match with its Argentinian counterpart in a display of unity and friendship following the cancellation of an Israeli-Argentinian soccer match in Jerusalem earlier this month.
The June 9 friendly match in Jerusalem was canceled by the Argentinians after a campaign of death threats, harassment and other provocations targeting Argentinian soccer superstar Lionel Messi.
The match in Las Vegas, which was organized and sponsored by Meir Cohen, president of the Las Vegas Sportspark and Las Vegas Indoor Soccer, and Fernando Sabbadini, leader of the Argentinian-American soccer club, sought to counter that negative BDS-driven campaign through a friendly soccer game on June 17.
The event featured the singing of the Israeli, Argentinian and American national anthems; the flying of those nations’ flags throughout the venue; games to engage the audience; and the presentation of a “community spirit trophy” to the Israeli team, which won the match 6-3.
“I hope our next game can be in Jerusalem,” said Sabbadini. “And I hope the following game can be in Buenos Aires,” replied Cohen. He continued, “Soccer is the people’s game … it is an international language that we will continue to speak without fear.”
“While the IAC is not a sports organizer, we believe that the Israeli-American community can play a leading role in countering those who seek to demonize Israel and exclude it from the family of nations,” said Noa Peri-Jensch, the IAC’s Las Vegas regional director. “All countries regularly host international sporting events in their capitals. It is sad that Israel remains the exception to the rule.”