Auburn’s head basketball coach is striking out at President Obama for sitting out of a United Nations vote that he says endangers the nation of Israel.
Coach Bruce Pearl shared his reaction on Twitter Saturday following a United Nations Security Council vote that condemned Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.
“Our Country, our [president’s] abstention condemns Israel,” Pearl tweeted. “Without US support Jewish homeland might not survive. Most neighbors want her destroyed.”
Initially put forward on Thursday, Egypt withdrew the measure due to pressure from Israel and President-Elect Donald Trump. However, the measure was reintroduced by four different nations the next day, and the United States’ abstention was seen as a slap in the face to its key Middle-Eastern ally.
The Jewish coach later retweeted a comment that implied opposition to West Bank settlement is “pure anti-Semitism.”
This is not the first time Pearl has expressed his support for Israel. In 2008, he was selected to lead the U.S. men’s basketball team at the 18th World Maccabiah Games (a series of contests sometimes referred to as the “Jewish Olympics”) in Israel. He won a gold medal for the United States team that year, though he said that the honor meant more because he had the opportunity to share a love of Israel with his players.
“I wanted the guys to understand that the trip to Israel wasn’t just about basketball, although we took our basketball really seriously,” he told the Times of Israel in 2014. “It was about our Jewish heritage. It was about our young Jewish men [having] the chance to go to the homeland, if you will, and experience it — and for me, the same thing — and have a greater appreciation for who she is and what she faces and how we stay connected and protect her.”