Doug Klein

Zionist’s Guide to the World Baseball Classic – Pool C

And so we arrive in Phoeniz, Arizona, the home of Pool C of the WBC.  Competition will begin on Saturday, 11 March, and will feature squads from the USA, Mexico, Colombia, Canada, and Great Britain.

The big boys here–both in terms of baseball prowess and favor from the Zionist’s Guide to the World Baseball Class (ZGWBC)–are the United States.  The Jewish people have found a home in the United States like none other.  Jews have been allowed to flourish like no other place in the diaspora. The list of successful American Jews includes the likes of Hank Greenberg, Sid Gordon, Larry Sherry, and Ron Blomberg.  We can spend our time daydreaming what could have been if the Israel Baseball Team had Sandy Koufax, in his prime, on the mound.  In the meantime, though, it is USA all day, every day in Pool C.

Mexico has been a mixed bag for the ZGWBC.  Mexico boasts a proud, active Jewish community–especially centered in Mexico City.  Mexico also has its own version of an anti-democratically-inclined, populist leader in the form of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador–otherwise known as “AMLO.”  At present, AMLO is doing his level best to neutralize and reverse whatever advances the cause of Mexican democracy have made in the last forty years.  As a committed leftist, AMLO has directed Mexico to take anti-Israel positions in the UN.  For these reasons, Mexico receives a thumbs down.

Historically, the ZGWBC has highly rated Colombia.  In addition to having a small Jewish community, Colombia had established a pattern of being one of Israel’s biggest supporters in South America.  The most recent presidential election, which brought leftist and former guerilla Gustavo Petro to power, has disrupted this pattern.  Petro is attempting to align Colombia to other leftist governments in the region, e.g., Venezuela, Chile, and Brazil.  None of this bodes well for ongoing harmonious relations with Israel.  Or with the ZGWBC, for that matter.  Colombia gets a pareve rating for this competition.

For the ZGWBC, Canada is sort of like the JV version of the USA.  While most Canadians would bristle at such a statement and view it as just another example of American condescension and hubris.  On a similar basis, most Canadians would likely reject the ZGWBC’s endorsement of its team in the WBC.  They would likely protest that they are their own, fully grown-up country and that they don’t need the support of the likes of the ZGWBC.  How quaint.  For its part, the ZGWBC will cite the accomplishments of such notable Canadian Jews as Eugene Levy, William Shatner, and Geddy Lee, and cheer for our cute, little friends to the north.

Finally, there is Great Britain.  Of all the countries competing in the WBC, Great Britain probably has the most extensive history of anti-Semitism,  In addition to violent episodes like the horrific York Massacre of 1189, English society developed deeply ingrained anti-Semitic attitudes.  Even in the absence of Jews after their expulsion in 1290, these attitudes persisted over the centuries.  Polite anti-Semitism is an enduring feature of the English upper class.  Yes, His Majesty’s Government issued the Balfour Declaration and was instrumental in the formation of the eventual State of Israel.  However, His Majesty’s Government did everything in its powers to keep desperate Jewish refugees from Europe out of Palestine during the height of the Shoah.  Given the contrast between its history of ill-treatment of Jews and the rest of the WBC field, Great Britain receives a thumbs down.  Cheerio.

About the Author
Doug Klein is an attorney in Chicago and the wrestling coach at Ida Crown Jewish Academy.
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