Why a Jewish cricket star is questioning Usman Khawaja’s motives after Aussie batter tried to wear a peace dove symbol to make a statement about the war in Gaza

A Jewish former Proteas batsman says he supports Usman Khawaja’s push to wear a peace dove symbol on his bat and boots but has questioned his motives for the controversial move.

Khawaja had hoped to use images of a dove holding an olive branch, as well as a reference to article one of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, on one of his boots and bat in the clash with Pakistan at the MCG.

The plan was part of Khawaja’s renewed push to raise awareness for what he sees as a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Mandy Yachad, one of South Africa’s small number of Jewish former international cricket players, backs the Aussie opener’s recent move, but is questioning he feels as passionate about the Israelis killed by Hamas terrorists as he is about Palestinians killed by Israelis.

‘I totally respect and support Usman Khawaja’s right to express his views and particularly as the symbol he has chosen is the universal symbol of peace (for which we Jews pray many times a day in our prayers) and having regard to his statement that ‘all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,’ Yachad told News Corp.

Jewish former international cricketer Mandy Yachad (pictured) has questioned Khawaja’s motives for taking a stand over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza

The Aussie star was previously told not to wear shoes bearing a pro-Palestine message

The Aussie star was previously told not to wear shoes bearing a pro-Palestine message

‘I trust and hope, based on Khawaja’s stand for human rights and equality of lives and his statement about his daughters (namely that ‘when I’m looking at my Instagram and seeing innocent kids, videos of them dying, passing away, that’s what hit me the hardest…I just imagine my young daughter in my arms …’), that he felt the same way, in his personal bereavement, about the tens of innocent children (and hundreds of others) who were slaughtered, burnt, mutilated and taken hostage in the Hamas attack on 7 October 2023.

‘Or is it only now, when as a consequence of the conflict which arose as a result of that barbaric attack that, unfortunately, Palestinian children are being killed, that he is expressing such views?’

Khawaja has insisted that his push to wear slogans on his apparel in the Test series isn’t political. 

‘What I’ve written on my shoes isn’t political, I’m not taking sides, human life to me is equal. One Jewish life is equal to one Muslim life, is equal to one Hindu life, and so on. I’m just speaking up for those who don’t have a voice,’ Khawaja said.

On Tuesday, Khawaja batted with the names of his daughters Aisha and Ayla written on his shoes, but expressed his frustration at the ICC’s stance, pointing out that teammate Marnus Labuschagne was allowed to use a bat with a sticker referring to a Bible verse.

Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley has suggested that the ICC considered the ‘broader context’ of the batter’s stance when making their decision.

‘My understanding is the context of the lead into Perth Test, and the context of the lead into the making of the application [contributed],’ he said.

‘Again, we work with Uzzie to try and find something which was nonpartisan, non-religious, apolitical, the universally recognised symbol of peace. But I think the ICC statement calls out the broader context,’ Hockley said before play on Tuesday.

The ICC rejected Khawaja's plan to wear a dove symbol on his shoes - the bird being the universal symbol of peace

The ICC rejected Khawaja’s plan to wear a dove symbol on his shoes – the bird being the universal symbol of peace

'All lives matter' and 'freedom is a human right' were featured on the star batter's shoes before he put tape over the messages before playing in the first Test against Pakistan

‘All lives matter’ and ‘freedom is a human right’ were featured on the star batter’s shoes before he put tape over the messages before playing in the first Test against Pakistan

The ICC has also rejected his attempt to wear a logo of a dove carrying an olive branch (pictured above) during the Boxing Day Test

The ICC has also rejected his attempt to wear a logo of a dove carrying an olive branch (pictured above) during the Boxing Day Test

‘We didn’t speak yesterday. We spoke the day before and I think over the last week or so we’ve been working really constructively with Uzzie to find a way that (was) nonpartisan, I think that symbol is universally recognised as a symbol of peace.

‘That being said, the ICC have got their rules. I think they explained the rationale really clearly and we respect that.

‘We’ve been really clear about is that support as all our players really to share what they believe over their own channels. I think the ICC has very clear rules in place for good reason.’

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