Israel Erased From Asian Cup History Video

Omission of 1964 host and winner Israel embarrasses Asian Football Confederation; oversight blamed on external production agency.

Moshe Pridan/Government Press Office

An official video history produced in the run up to the 2015 Asian Cup has omitted Israel, despite the country having both hosted and won the 1964 football cup.

The three-minute clip, posted on the Asian Football Confederation's official site, traces the history of the cup from South Korea's victory in 1956 to Japan's triumph in the most recent 2011 tournament.

However, conspicuously absent from the clip, replete with rousing music and dramatic narration, is the tournament's 1964 winner, Israel.

Despite the video's YouTube caption reading, "As we head towards the AFC Asian Cup 2015, we take a look back at all the past winners and legends of the AFC Asian Cup since 1956," the narrator skips from Korea's 1960 victory to Iran's victory in 1968.

In response to the omission, AFC officials told Guardian Australia that Israel's absence from the video was a surprise to the confederation, which would be "seeking answers." The Guardian writes that it is understood the video was produced by an outside agency.

A spokesperson for the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the elected representative body of Australia's Jewish body, appeared to tie the omission to Arab and Muslim countries refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist: “There are countries in the AFC which wish that Israel didn’t exist and that the Jewish people’s sovereignty in its homeland was brought to an end," Alexander Ryvchin said to Guardian Australia. “It would bring great shame to the world game, which should unite and inspire, if the omission of Israel from the film was an act of politically motivated historical revisionism.”

Ryvchin called on the Football Federation of Australia to bring the issue up with the AFC president, Bahraini royal Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, if a “satisfactory explanation” was not provided.

Despite being omitted from the video history, Israel does, however, feature on the cup's online table of past winners. 
 

Not omitted: Iran. The Iranians won the 1968, 1972 and 1974 Asian Cups - the only team to have won three consecutive AFC tournaments. (YouTube screenshot)

Just for the record
Despite the video's selective memory, Israel hosted the finals of the third AFC Asian Cup from May 26 to June 3, 1964, winning the title with a perfect record of three wins. India was runner-up (only four countries competed, the others being South Korea and Hong Kong). The four venues were Ramat Gan Stadium, Kiryat Eliezer Stadium in Haifa, Bloomfield Stadium in HJaffa and Hebrew University Stadium in Jerusalem. 

As Guardian Australia notes, the 1964 victory is Israel's only international football competition title. Citing a veritable golden age in Israeli soccer, the paper also notes that Israel was runner-up in both the 1956 and 1960 tournaments, and placed third in 1968. 

However, after a Kuwaiti motion to have Israel expelled from the confederation was adopted in 1974, Israel spent two decades without belonging to a regional confederation, until it was accepted into the European confederation in 1994.

Up against so many illustrious European national teams, however, odds are that Israel's 1964 triumph may remain its single solitary victory for many years to come.