The Shmooze

3.2 Gazillion 'Nazi' Jokes on Twitter for World Cup

By Rachel X. Landes

As Germany hammered Brazil during the World Cup match yesterday 7-1, Twitter exploded in reaction tweets. With a record 36.6 million tweets were sent out during the match, the Germany-Brazil match became the most discussed sports event in Twitter history.

Unsurprisingly a large fraction of those tweets were, well, Nazi jokes.

Of course the ever obvious:

Some pointed out the problem of Holocaust jokes:

And others attempted to be clever:

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Jose Pekerman's 7 Miracles

By Dan Friedman

Jose Pekerman chats with Colombia player as the team prepares to face Brazil in the World Cup. / Getty Images

There’s a joke being told in the bars of Rio about how different national teams tried to curry support. Italy put out a press release that if they won they would give free pizza to everyone. Brazil made an announcement that they would distribute free coffee. And France put out a sultry tv ad saying “cheese and baguettes pour tous!”

The Japanese were about to promise something about sushi when Diego Maradona stands up and starts chanting “Col-om-bia, Col-om-bia!”

Colombia, with a soccer-mad population of over 40 million, has soccer resources other than Maradona’s favorite nose candy. They have one of the world’s best strikers in Radamel Falcao (named apparently by a smurf, but touched by the soccer gods) and one of the world’s most promising youngsters, James (pronounced “ham-es”) Rodriguez.

But their main asset is José Néstor Pékerman Krimen, a Jewish prophet cast out of his native Argentina into the wilderness of Colombia only to effect first the miracle of qualification to the World Cup Finals and now the miracle of reaching the last eight. What other miracles might he work in the next few days?

1. Make the Clown Wig Vanish

For a generation, Colombian soccer has been globally synonymous with the bright yellow of Carlos Valderrama’s perm. This time around the team is more successful and less exuberantly coiffed, perhaps Pekerman can make the specter of Valderrama disappear.

2. Walk on Water

If this guy could do it, Pekerman could. If any man can, Pekerman can.

3. Win Without Falcao

When you have a team built from mostly spare parts of second tier teams, it would have been useful to have an $80 million player who can do this. Falcao was too injured to even join the squad in Brazil. That Pekerman has won without him so far, makes winning without him an achievable miracle but a miracle nonetheless.

4. Silence the Jewish Press

The normally garrulous Jewish and Israeli media have been stumped so far by the focused Pekerman. In the face of the odds he can lead his team into the promised land of the semi finals, in almost complete silence, like the imperturbable lovechild of Joshua ben Nun, Marcelo Bielsa and Harpo Marx.

5. Claim the Golden Boot

Like Belinda the Good Witch, Pekerman can put the ruby slippers (or golden boot) on James Rodriguez. Rodriguez is the tournament’s top scorer at the moment. And though it was Rodriguez who actually put his boot through this and this, (see here) who was it who told him to be there and try?

6. Beat Brazil, in Brazil

Brazil has only lost once in the World Cup in Brazil. That was in 1950 in the final game against Uruguay. Sixty four years on, the country is still reeling from the loss — they have a name for the tragedy, the Maracanazo. Let’s see how soccer-mad the country really is. Can it stay passionate, positive and intense if the over-hyped seleçao get beaten in the quarter finals? It could happen, but it would take a Pekerman miracle.

7. Turn Water Into Wine

If Colombia does beat Brazil, Pekerman will turn water into champagne!

h/t Alejandro Duhalde

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8 Reasons Luis Suarez Should Convert to Judaism

By Dan Friedman

Luis Suarez, right, has been banned from the World Cup for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini/Getty Images

In the most dramatic turn of events at the World Cup in Brazil so far, Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez — one of the most talented players of his generation — has been banned from “all football-related activities” for four months for biting the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in Uruguay’s June 24 game against Italy.

That means he’ll miss the entire rest of the World Cup.

Here’s why Suarez should use his enforced absence from the beautiful game to join the Chosen People.

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6 Jewish Things About the World Cup

By Diego Melamed

Colombia’s Coach Jose Pekerman is among the Jewish participants in the World Cup/Getty Images

(JTA) — Israel’s not in the World Cup, and none of the star players is Jewish. But never fear: We still managed to compile a list of six Jewish things about Brazil 2014.

The coach: Jose Pekerman, the coach of Colombia’s team, is an Argentine Jew. Pekerman, 64, was born in Villa Dominguez, one of the main centers of Jewish immigration in Argentina; his grandparents emigrated from Ukraine.

The adoptive mother: Mario Balotelli, a key player in Italy’s victory over England last Saturday, was adopted and raised by a Jewish family. His adoptive mother is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. At the Eurochampionship 2012, Balotelli dedicated the two goals he scored in Italy’s 2-1 semifinals victory over Germany to his Jewish mother.

The shmoozing: Argentine husband-and-wife team Mariano Schlez and Paola Salem have coordinated 14 Jewish gatherings for fans attending the World Cup, including Shabbat evening prayers, beach soccer games leading into Saturday-night Havdalah services and Jewish heritage tours.

The philo-Semite: Argentine Lionel Messi traveled to Israel in 2013 with the Spanish Football Club Barcelona as part of the team’s “peace tour.” In 2011, he participated in a campaign for justice and memory of the victims of the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing.

The Nigeria-Israel connection: Austin Ejide, a Nigerian goalkeeper, currently plays for the Hapoel Beer Sheva soccer team in Israel and played three years for Hapoel Petah Tikva, another Israeli team. Juwon Oshaniwa , another member of the Nigerian national team, also plays in Israel.

The Israeli fans: Israelis have purchased more tickets per capita than citizens of any other country without a team in the games. The number of tickets sold to Israelis through FIFA’s website – 11,222 (tickets were limited to 17 per individual, and allocated via a raffle system) puts Israel second after Canada in ticket sales among countries without a team to root for.

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Israel's Hyped for the World Cup — Even Without Spot

By Natalie Schachar

(JTA) — Blue-and-white soccer fans may not be able to rally behind the Israeli team with bold colors and flags at this year’s World Cup, but their country won’t be underrepresented in Brazil.

According to the most recent data from FIFA, Israel (11,222) ranks behind Canada (28,542) for the largest number of tickets purchased by citizens not represented by a team.

“It would have been great to cheer for Israel, but what can you do?” said Jonathan Roizin, a computer engineer from Rishon LeZion, who is part of the Facebook group “Israelis at the World Cup,” a forum for travelers to swap tickets and share tips on lodging and entertainment venues.

Since 1970, when Israel made its first and only World Cup appearance, the soccer team has failed to qualify for any international competition apart from two consecutive showings in the quarterfinals of the 1968 and 1976 Olympics. The Israelis currently play in the European league, where they have competed since they were ousted from the Asian Football Confederation in 1974, after Arab and Muslim countries refused to play with the Jewish State.

In last year’s qualification round, Israel played in a group with Russia and Portugal, and quickly slipped in the standings following a 0-4 defeat against the former in its first match. Like most of the smaller 53 teams in the league who compete for a place at the World Cup, the Israeli team was eliminated by both European powerhouses.

In June, almost three million fans will be at the World Cup. But who will Roizin cheer for?

“I’m bringing an Argentine jersey and an Israeli flag,” he said.

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Palestine Scores: Next Stop, World Cup?

By Dan Friedman

Palestine scored its first ever goal in a home World Cup qualifier on July 3. And it was better than Beckham.

At Al Ram on the West Bank, Palestine drew 1-1 with nomadic Afghanistan which, when combined with the 2-0 win over the Afghanis in the first match (played in Tajikistan), put the Palestinian team through to the next round of the Asian preliminary qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Watch Hussam Wadi’s Historic Goal:

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