Iranian-German Soccer Player Refuses to Play Against Israel

Rick Moran
He should be kicked off the team:

An Iranian-born player for Germany's under-21 national soccer team has caused controversy by asking to be excused from playing a match against Israel in Tel Aviv this Friday.

Ashkan Dejagah, 21, said in a statement posted on the German Football Federation's Web site that his reasons for not playing were "of a very personal nature and have to do with my close family."

But the player had previously been quoted in Bild newspaper as saying: "There are political reasons. Everyone knows I'm a German Iranian." Berlin newspaper BZ quoted him as saying: "I have more Iranian than German blood in my veins. Besides, I'm doing this out of respect. After all, my parents are Iranian."
Dejagah also says that if he plays in Israel, he fears the Iranian government will not allow him to visit relatives still in Iran.

Not surprisingly, the fact that the Germans have granted him his request not to play against Israel while still remaining on the team has raised the hackles of Jewish groups as well as others:

The case has angered the Central Council of Jews in Germany. "It's inconceivable and impossible that a national team player initiates a private boycott of Jews," Vice President Dieter Graumann told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "It would be scandalous if the DFB doesn't penalize this behavior."
 
Friedbert Pflüger, head of the parliamentary group of the conservative Christian Democrats in the Berlin city assembly, said: "This is impossible and totally unacceptable. If Dejagah has political qualms he mustn't play for the German national team again."
Note to the German National Team: If one of your players refuses to play in a game against anybody for any reason - especially the reasons given by Dejagah - you should invite him to play somewhere he would be more comfortable; say, Tehran.
He should be kicked off the team:

An Iranian-born player for Germany's under-21 national soccer team has caused controversy by asking to be excused from playing a match against Israel in Tel Aviv this Friday.

Ashkan Dejagah, 21, said in a statement posted on the German Football Federation's Web site that his reasons for not playing were "of a very personal nature and have to do with my close family."

But the player had previously been quoted in Bild newspaper as saying: "There are political reasons. Everyone knows I'm a German Iranian." Berlin newspaper BZ quoted him as saying: "I have more Iranian than German blood in my veins. Besides, I'm doing this out of respect. After all, my parents are Iranian."
Dejagah also says that if he plays in Israel, he fears the Iranian government will not allow him to visit relatives still in Iran.

Not surprisingly, the fact that the Germans have granted him his request not to play against Israel while still remaining on the team has raised the hackles of Jewish groups as well as others:

The case has angered the Central Council of Jews in Germany. "It's inconceivable and impossible that a national team player initiates a private boycott of Jews," Vice President Dieter Graumann told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "It would be scandalous if the DFB doesn't penalize this behavior."
 
Friedbert Pflüger, head of the parliamentary group of the conservative Christian Democrats in the Berlin city assembly, said: "This is impossible and totally unacceptable. If Dejagah has political qualms he mustn't play for the German national team again."
Note to the German National Team: If one of your players refuses to play in a game against anybody for any reason - especially the reasons given by Dejagah - you should invite him to play somewhere he would be more comfortable; say, Tehran.