The Anti-Defamation League is pushing back against social media backlash in response to Cristiano Ronaldo’s appearance in an Israeli cable TV commercial.
The ADL sent out the following Tweet in response to a Breitbart Jerusalem article posted on Twitter by the news agency’s bureau chief, Aaron Klein:
— ADL (@ADL_National) February 11, 2016
Klein had tweeted the headline and link to a Breitbart Jerusalem article titled, “Anti-Israel Trolls Attack Ronaldo For Israeli TV Debut.”
The 31-year-old player features in a new ad for Israeli internet provider HOT, alongside three well-known Israeli comedians sporting Ronaldo-esque haircuts.
Ronaldo tweeted a link to the ad and wrote, “There are rumors that I’m going to be a star in Israel. Not in soccer… In a HOT commercial.” While the post was liked by six thousand people, predictable anti-Israel trolling soon ensued.
There are rumors that I’m going to be a star in Israel. Not in soccer… In a HOT commercial https://t.co/1wkz4vHgB2
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) February 10, 2016
One user wrote: “Because of tweets like this, you lose many supporters in Arab countries. #freepalestine, you should avoid supporting Israel.”
Another wrote, “WTF İSRAEL? MY İDOL İS MESSİ NOW U ARE SHİT,” while a third commented, “You spelled ‘OCCUPIED PALESTINE’ kinda weird there.”
An equally fiery debate erupted on YouTube where a clip of the commercial has already garnered just under 100,000 views.
That clip appears here:
The “plot” of the ad features the three Israelis excited over their internet speed, which allows them to watch Ronaldo in the best streaming quality. They debate the identity of their team’s latest player, joking that he was probably bought from a dollar store. The new player, Ronaldo, then makes his appearance.
The Israelis, shocked, then argue about which is faster, the celebrated Portuguese footballer or HOT’s new 200 MB internet connection.
Ronaldo takes offense and, to the delight of Israeli fans, speaks Hebrew by mockingly calling the comedians “neshama” – which translates roughly as “sweetheart.”
Celebrities who express any kind of support or cooperation with Israel are routinely vilified.
On Tuesday, Breitbart Jerusalem reported that Jennifer Lopez had been on the receiving end of a Twitter campaign called #CancelTelAviv in which anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) activists attacked the star for “entertaining children’s killers” and demanded that she cancel her summer concert in Israel.