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Courtesy of JTA Photo credit: Mark Kolbe 

Pablo Matera of Argentina's national rugby team.

(JTA) — Three players from Argentina’s national rugby team were suspended after anti-Semitic and other hateful messages from a decade ago were discovered on line and spread on social media.

The messages, also against Black people and immigrants from neighboring countries, were made in 2011-12 by Pablo Matera, the team’s captain, as well as Guido Petti and Santiago Socino, and discovered last week.

“What a mess could be in Villa Crespo if Hitler were alive,” Socino wrote, referring to the Jewish-backed soccer team Atlanta from the Jewish neighborhood of Villa Crespo. A hashtag used a slang expression that refers to the idea of killing Jews to make soap.

In another post, Socino mocked circumcision and made reference to the stereotype of Jews being cheap.

Matera spoke of “running over blacks” with his car and disparaged Bolivians and Paraguayans.

The Argentine Jewish political umbrella, DAIA, responded on online.

“The hatred and racism with which he refers to different groups reveals the contempt for equality and human diversity from who today is one of the representatives of Argentina,” the group wrote.

The National Institute against Discrimination also condemned the tweets.

On December 11th, following a meeting of the union and DAIA, the union’s website said the Jewish group offered its pedagogical tools and agreed to tackle “a series of trainings in order to raise awareness and reflecting on the problem of discrimination, and to value of cultural diversity.”

The controversy erupted just two weeks after the national team’s historic victory over the world power All Blacks of New Zealand, 21-15, at the Tri Nations Tournament in Sydney. The win, led by Matera, marked the first time Argentina had ever beaten the New Zealanders.

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