Jewish pro athletes are speaking out for Israel unlike ever before

Jewish and Israeli athletes have come out in droves supporting Israel against Hamas terrorists. Clockwise from top left: A post by the Washington Wizards' Deni Avdija; an Instagram story from retired NBA player Omri Casspi; a post by Baltimore Orioles' Dean Kremer; Houston Astros' Alex Bregman drew a Magen David on his cap; Kremer wearing a Magen David necklace during a game; Israeli UFC fighter Natan Levy in an Instagram video; and retired NBA All Star Amar'e Stoudemire.

In the early days of the latest war between Hamas and Israel, something unusual happened in the sports world: a lot of Jewish athletes, their teams and their teammates all went public with their support of Israel. Even Israeli athletes like Deni Avdija of the Washington Wizards, who has refrained from speaking about Middle Eastern politics in the past, posted a lengthy message, in Hebrew and English, disclosing that he personally knows victims and is advocating on the country’s behalf to his teammates and the NBA at large.

That kind of advocacy is rare—and speaks to the severity of the situation. Dozens of Jewish, Israeli and allied athletes have come out in support of the Jewish homeland. And Louis Keene, a reporter with the Forward who covers sports and religion, has been tracking as many of them as he can, compiling a growing list on Twitter.

We invited Keene onto Menschwarmers, The CJN’s podcast about Jews and sports, to discuss reactions to the war, how Jewish athletes have performed this week, and the distinction between teams’ statements, from fervent to mealy-mouthed.


Menschwarmers is hosted by James Hirsh and Gabe Pulver, and produced and edited by Michael Fraiman. Our intro music is by Coby Lipovitch, and our outro music is “Organ Grinder Swing” by chēēZ π. This show is a member of The CJN Podcast Network. Follow the Menschwarmers on Twitter @menschwarmers. Support the show by subscribing to this podcast or donating to The CJN.