RIO DE JANEIRO — The Rio Jewish federation apologized for a Facebook post which called on the Jewish community to root against a Chilean soccer team founded by Palestinians slated to play against Brazil’s most popular team.
The federation’s official Facebook profile with nearly 30,000 followers on Wednesday displayed the flags of the Flamengo and Palestino teams, and the question “Who are you going to root for today?” The post was removed shortly afterwards.
“It was produced by one of our team members with personal purposes and was intended for a closed group of friends. It was published accidentally on our page. We apologize for the mistake,” the federation wrote in an online message on Thursday after Rio’s largest newspaper O Globo reported the incident.
“The federation does not encourage this type of behavior and has as one of its premises coexistence with our Palestinian cousins,” Jewish federation President Herry Rosenberg was quoted as telling the newspaper’s Friday edition.
Flamengo is the most popular soccer team in Brazil. Founded in 1895, it has some 40 million supporters. Chile’s Palestino club was founded in 1920 by members of what is considered the world’s largest Palestinian community outside the Arab world with some 350,000 members.
“It is sad that the episode, the result of a silly failure, has caused discomfort to a serious entity like the Rio Jewish federation, which fights firmly against all kinds of injustice. Flamengo praises the officials’ apology. We will continue to preach peace in the world and in the stadiums,” Flamengo’s vice president of marketing Daniel Orlean, who is Jewish, told JTA.
Flamengo beat Palestino 5-0 in the Thursday match for the South American Cup.