Auburn University head basketball coach Bruce Pearl was featured on FNC's "Fox & Friends First" Wednesday to rally support for Israel.
During his appearance, the Jewish-American basketball coach discussed an effort he is leading an effort to send humanitarian aid to Israel following an October 7 terrorist attack.
He also expressed his disappointment in those who were protesting against Israel in the United States after the attack, which he declared genocide.
Transcript as follows:
CARLEY SHIMKUS, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Well, one of college basketball top coaches is doing what he can to support Israel, helping to put together a charity event to pack boxes of supplies, food and clothing for Israeli children and soldiers. Over 50 people attended the event, and all of the items were purchased in about 48 hours. In total, over $7,000 was raised.
Coach Bruce Pearl helped organize the event. And he joins me now. Coach Pearl, good morning to you. Thank you so much for joining us. Tell us about this event and what you're doing to help out.
PEARL: You know, Carley, it just breaks my heart to see students across our country, you know, protesting against Israel, after they saw the genocide. I love this country. And I'm grateful for its support as an American-Jewish college basketball coach. We have Jewish students on campus that are scared. And just a few days after, you know, October 7, we got together, and I said, Coach, we got to do something.
So I contacted my friends and athletes for Israel, the Church of the Highlands here in this community, along with our Jewish student group Hillel. And we got together, we said, let's do something positive, let's get some humanitarian boxes together of aid. And let's write notes to soldiers and children and moms. And we want to do something positive and support our greatest ally, Israel.
SHIMKUS: Well, 15 people were supposed to come to the event that was the expected number, 50 people showed up. So it must have been really good to see that level of turnout?
PEARL: Carley, we just wanted to be together. And we want to do -- try to do something positive. And, you know, we -- again, it's so disturbing to see the rise in the anti-Semitism, you know, in this country. And just days after the world's greatest genocide, since the Holocaust, we felt like we just, you know, we wanted to do something.
Thirty-three Americans were killed by Hamas terrorists. It's just disturbing to me to watch people in this country supporting an organization that supports this kind of terror. And so we -- this group here, was proud to stand with Israel.
SHIMKUS: Yeah. And how do you feel about that when you see these protests taking place, across college campuses, and there will be more to come support, supporting Palestinians, pro-Hamas protests following a brutal and horrific terror attack that like you rightly pointed out, killed 33 Americans, more Americans are hostages, brutally -- the brutal murder of children rape, women. And how do you rationalize that?
PEARL: You know, Carley, I can't understand it, it just goes to show you how deep the roots of anti-Semitism are. I don't know that any organization in the world is calling out for the death and the destruction of an entire race of people. When they chant from the river to the sea, what they mean is every Jew from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, 6 million ironic and that number, they want dead. And all Israel has done for 75 years since its existence, and simply defend itself.
And this time, the world has seen they just have gone too far. Israel is looking for partners for peace. There are 2 million Israeli-Arabs right now living in Israel, in peace and prosperity, they're doctors and lawyers, and they're in education, they're in health care. And they're living a really, really good life. But there are about a million Palestinians or other Arabs that don't want to live in peace.
And they've clearly demonstrated that. And right now, there's just got to be a change. And I pray to God, that this is an opportunity to find other peace partners in Israel, that -- that want to live as your neighbor, and live in peace and prosper.
SHIMKUS: So many people, Coach Pearl, are joining you in that prayer. And this terror attack occurred on the back of news that Israel was trying to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia for lasting peace. So, with that in mind, what do you think the future of Israel looks like?
PEARL: Well, God's made certain promises about what Israel is going to look like. And so, in my mind, that's what it's going to look like. I think, you know, right now, Israel has become the land of milk and honey, Israel has really grown and developed and flourished. I'm so grateful for the Abraham Accords. There are many Arab states that have recognized that Israel is a great partner, and it could be a great friend.
And -- and we really did sort of have Iran and -- and some of the Islamic extremists in a place where they were -- they were not the majority of the Arab world. I'm praying for peace. I'm praying that Israel is able to accomplish the things that need to accomplish militarily, that the enemy is defeated, with -- with as few casualties to the civilians as possible. But Israel's got to do it. It's got to do this turn and then find partners for peace.
SHIMKUS: Well, you're doing a great thing in sending these care packages to children who need them and getting young people involved in this positive of effort. Coach Bruce Pearl, thank you so much for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.
PEARL: Thank you, Carley.
Pearl has been an active advocate of the U.S. ally of Israel.
The latest project for Pearl and his Auburn Tigers team and staff is the sending of needed supplies to Israeli victims of the attack by Hamas in and around the area of Gaza.
Four days after the Hamas attack, Pearl and Alabama Sen. Katie Britt were featured presenters at a Zoom meeting of 247 U.S. citizen activists putting together a strategy for U.S. support of Israeli defenses.
Last year, Pearl took his team and staff to Israel. There, team members could choose to be Baptized in the Biblically significant Jordan River. All did.
A funny thing happened when the Auburn team was in Israel that mostly only people from the state of Alabama would understand. The locals there were somewhat confused because the Auburn visitors used a different pronunciation of the local area. The Auburn folks kept talking about the JEERDAN River. This Southernized pronunciation emanated from long-time Auburn football coach Ralph 'Shug' Jordan, pronounced Jeerdan, and Auburn's Jordan-Hare stadium, pronounced Jeerdan-Hare — only in Alabama.
The author, Jim Zeigler, is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor.