The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called out Nike for an animated promotional video posted online before the World Cup in Brazil, urging leaders of the shoe and sports paraphernalia company to have the ad removed because its content is anti-Semitic.
In the video, titled “The Last Game,” animated international soccer stars compete against evil clones who wear uniforms bearing a logo that looks like the Jewish Star of David. Additionally, the background of the video includes images of a white rectangle with the same Star-of-David-like image in the center — resembling the Israeli flag, but without the blue stripes.
The offensive image, when magnified, is actually a highly unusual hexagonal-designed soccer ball that looks like a Jewish star to the naked eye. Soccer balls commonly have a pentagonal pattern, which does not resemble a Jewish star. The video contains numerous subliminal images of the Jewish star with evil connotations, including an evil player with a “Jewish star” on his shoe tripping a good guy.
“Some of the animated soccer stars in the video — i.e., the ‘good guys’ — are wearing shirts with a ‘Fly Emirates’ logo and a ‘Qatar Airways’ logo, which must mean that these Arab airlines co-sponsored the video. It is no secret that the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have a deeply troubling history of anti-Semitism and hostility to Israel,” ZOA leaders wrote in a letter to Nike Chairman Philip H. Knight and President and CEO Mark Parker in Beaverton, Ore.
Nike has dismissed accusations that the video is anti-Semitic, despite complaints from ZOA, the Israeli Knesset, the World Zionist Organization and general viewers. The company claims that the controversial logos in the ad were intended to represent a soccer ball.
“No one should wrongly interpret the Nike video as a sign that Nike is anti-Semitic,” ZOA stated in its letter. “That would not be good for the Jewish people. That would not be good for Nike.”
The video can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iy1rumvo9xc The ZOA urges concerned people to write the Nike chairman and president/CEO at Nike World Headquarters, 1 Bowerman Drive, Beaverton, OR 97005.
Senior Copy Editor David Sachs contributed to this report.