The ongoing misery that is the 2018 FIFA World Cup continued unabated today in Russia, as Iranian hopes were lifted by a last minute header by a substitute. Iran bested Morocco, 1-nil.
There are some who contend that this may not actually be a bad thing for the Jews, as the fans of Iranian soccer tend to be secularist and not necessarily the type to be inclined to clear minefields the hard way at the behest of their religious leaders. If so, then the victory may bolster these forces for change in Iranian society. It is a fair point and closely connected to the notion that one’s sense of self-worth and self-confidence is inexorably tied to the fortunes of ones’s favorite sports team. So with this victory, secular Iranians feel better about themselves, thus making it slightly more likely that they will congregate in public spaces and denounce their ongoing repression by their government.
At the same time, though, it is just as likely that many not-so-secular Iranians, good patriotic mine clearing Iranians, will also sense a warm surge of national pride in their breasts. In doing so, they will likely be more suportive of the drive for Persian hegemony across the modern Middle East. (No one said that the exercise of geopolitics must be entirely rational.)
Because the Sisi government in Egypt has numerous foreign policy concerns consistent with Israel’s, it is tempting to argue that today’s defeat to Uruguay is also bad for the Jews. Egyptian society remains, though, largely anti-Semitic and disdainful of their ethnic monotheistic neighbors to the east. If today’s loss means that the discontented Egyptian citizenry are now more likely to seek to overthrow their current government, then so be it. If this is the case, though, then the logic would be different than that applied to their Iranian brethren. More than likely, the Egyptians, though, are still cursing Sergio Ramos and his hard tackle of Mohamed Salah.
To add insult to injury to Zionist interests in this World Cup, the scintillating 3-3 tie between countries which expelled Jews in the 1490s (Portugal v. Spain) only serve to place Iran at the top of the Group B standings at the end of this day’s competition.
Well, Group B is the so-called “Group of Death,” so this should surprise no one.
A guten Shabbos.
For analysis of tomorrow’s Group C and D games, see the video link: