‘Undermining the Spirit of Sport’

A dark side of international sport raised its ugly head at the Olympics, yet again: INSIDE SPORTS, Undermining the Spirit of Sport, 800x800‘Lebanese Olympics team stops Israelis from boarding shared bus’

“The Rio 2016 Olympic Games began on a sour note for the Israeli delegation, but not one relating to the actual competition. When the delegation was ready to board the bus to the Maracana stadium in the Brazilian city, they were physically prevented from doing so by the Lebanese delegation, already aboard, according to Israeli sailor Udi Gal.

“The 2016 Olympics – a disgrace!!” wrote Gal in a ‘Facebook’ post. “(When) Israel’s Olympic delegation got ready to board the bus for the opening ceremony, it turned out the bus was shared with the Lebanese delegation. Once the members of the Lebanese delegation realized they were (sharing the bus) with the Israeli delegation, they asked the driver to close the door, with their delegation leader {Salim al-Haj Nakoula} heading (the effort).”

“Gal claimed that the organizers tried to calm things down.

“The organizers tried to split us up to different buses, something which was not possible security and representation-wise,” he wrote, “I insisted and we insisted that we get on the intended bus, and if the Lebanese don’t want (to ride with us), they are welcome to get off (of it). The bus driver opened the door, but this time the head of the Lebanese delegation blocked the entrance with his body. The organizers tried to prevent an international incident and sent us aside to a special (vehicle).”

“Gal was surprised the organizers gave in to the pressure, writing,

“How is it that they let something like this happen, and on the opening night of the Olympic Games? Isn’t this the opposite of what the Olympics represent and (don’t the actions by the Lebanese delegation) work against it? I cannot describe the way I feel. I’m enraged and shocked by this event.”

“Head of the Israeli delegation to the Rio 2016 games, Gili Lustig, responded…by saying…

“The committee’s people tried to talk to the Lebanese, who refused to accept us. It should be said that the busses were joint: They’d fill a bus, and move on. They asked that we not make a scene ahead of the opening ceremony.”

“Lebanese Minister of Youth and Sport Abdel Motaleb Hannawi told a Lebanese news site that this was not the first time Israel has attempted to embarrass a Lebanese delegation in this kind of circumstance {?}. He praised the delegation’s behavior, Nakoula’s specifically {!?!}.

“His stance was principled and patriotic,” he said.

“Nakoula became the hero of the day in Lebanon {!?!} after the incident was publicized.

“The ‘Al Mayadeen’ and ‘Al-Manar’ news networks, both associated with {terrorist} ‘Hezbollah’, gave Nakoula praise, with the latter also interviewing him. ‘Hezbollah’ supporters and officials praised him on social media, with one ‘Al-Manar’ broadcaster tweeting,

“The Israelis were sent away from the bus because normalization (with Israel) is not to be had in any form, and because the Lebanese identity (is that of) ‘resistance’. Be proud to be Lebanese.”

–‘Lebanese Olympics team stops Israelis from boarding shared bus’,
Ynet News, Aug. 6, 2016


Israeli delegation at Rio Olympics (Photo credit: REUTERS)
Israeli delegation at Rio Olympics (Photo credit: REUTERS)

COMMENT: “Those Lebanese athletes should have been banned from participating in the games. Should have been taken to the airport and told to leave.”
“Once again, the Arabs would not miss an opportunity to demonstrate to themselves and to others that their intent is not peace. Instead of acting respectfully to their colleagues as well as the organizers of the Olympic games, they chose to initiate a conflict. The authorities, as could have been expected, instead of sending the Lebanese team back to the Olympic village, sent the Jews to the “back of the bus”.
“Not only that — the “Palestinians” wore Bedouin patterned keffiyehs around their necks, a direct political statement in support of the ‘Fatah’ terrorist organization. The patterned keffiyeh is NOT traditionally Palestinian but was adopted by Arafat after he was kicked out of Jordan in 1971-1972. It was Arafat who ordered the Munich massacre of 1972 under the guise of “Black September”, which actually did not exist as a separate organization.”
“Would you tolerate it if you knew that terrorists were traveling next to you? All of the people who were refused to travel in the bus are terrorists who kill and maim Palestinian children and hence were not allowed to travel in the bus.”

Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev

“Miri Regev, the Israeli culture and sport minister, reportedly labelled the Lebanese athletes’ refusal to share transport the “worst kind of racism” and called on the International Olympic Committee to condemn the incident.

“It is antisemitism pure and simple, and the worst kind of racism,” she told ‘Israel Radio’. “The [International] Olympic Committee, which champions the separation of sports and politics, must condemn this vehemently and work to ensure that such behaviour is not repeated.”


Lebanese_Olympic_Committee_logo“A source from the Lebanese Olympic committee told Lebanese television station ‘Al Mayadeen’ on Saturday that the refusal to allow the Israeli delegation to ascend the bus on Friday was a group decision of the Lebanese Olympic delegation.

“A separate source also said that Lebanese athletes are

“committed to the national position in refusing to be in the same place as the Israelis.”

“He added that Lebanon will remain part of the ‘resistance’ against Israel.”


National_Olympic_Committee_of_the_Islamic_Republic_of_Iran_logo.svgFrom the 2012 Olympics:
“The anti-Semitism of Iran (which is a proxy for the anti-Semitism of the entire Muslim world, be it Shi’ite, like Iran, or Sunni) is, yet again, on full display at the London Olympic Games…which – in appeasing the Muslim world – still will not have a memorial to the Israeli Olympic athletes who were murdered by Islamic terrorists in Munich…

“Iran went to great lengths to make sure that its athletes will not have to face Israeli Jewish athletes (and the IOC is acquiescent in this, having Israel compete against European nations in regional preliminaries, etc.). Now, when that doesn’t appear to have worked, Iran has chosen to keep some athletes away from the Games, rather than have them compete against Israeli Jews

“Despite an Iranian assertion on Monday that its athletes would compete against Israeli Olympians at the 2012 Games, the Iranian team departed for London hours earlier, leaving behind the lone athlete who had the possibility of facing an Israeli opponent.”



After decades of being regionally homeless on the sports field because Asian and Middle Eastern regional sports bodies refused to include Israel, the Jewish state was accepted in European soccer and basketball leagues — as well as other sports like track and field — in the early 1990s

“The reason there are not more flaps between Israeli athletes and their counterparts from Arab or Muslim countries is that they so rarely compete in the same arenas. It’s only in world gatherings like the Olympics or world championships that their paths cross.

http://www.jta.org/2004/08/20/archive/the-2004-olympics-for-israeli-sportsmen-boycotts-by-muslim-athletes-are-nothing-newWorldBoxinghampionship“A Syrian boxer on Saturday quit the world boxing championship in Azerbaijan after he refused to compete against an Israeli rival.

“The first round match between Syrian Ala Ghasoun and the Israeli fighter was scheduled to place at the tournament which is a precondition to qualifying for the upcoming 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.

“I quit the competition because my rival was Israeli, and I cannot shake his hand or compete against him while he represents a Zionist regime that kills the Syrian people,”

Ghasoun said according to Arab media, the ‘Jerusalem Post’ reported.

“If I fight against him, it would mean that I, as a athlete, and Syria, as a state, recognize the state of Israel,” Ghasoun added.

The decision to quit was not mine,” the Syrian boxer said. “It was made by the ‘Syrian Sports Federation’ and by senior Syrian officials. It was a very difficult decision, because I have worked hard to participate in the championship. But I serve my homeland — my honor and my loyalty belong to Syria.”



From 2011:
‘Muslim athletes pay the price for their leaders’ anti-Israel politics’

“Sunday’s refusal by an Iranian swimmer to compete against Israeli Gal Nevo is the latest in a list of similar snubs. In 2001, judoka Yoel Razvozov was supposed to face Iranian Mahed Malekmohammadi in the second round of the World Championships, but Malekmohammadi bowed out because of the sensitive political situation; Iran does not recognize the existence of the Jewish state.

“That same year, the two had an additional scheduled encounter, and once again Razvozov was the only athlete to show up to the mat.

“To say it wasn’t sportsmanship is a nice slogan,” Razvozov said. “The Iranian athletes came to win just like us but they know that if they compete, they will end up in jail. I see how they are scared to death waiting for the draw. They’re trapped by that policy, and they have no choice.”

“In the summer of 2001, Razvozov and Malekmohammadi traveled with their respective teams to a training camp in Holland, where they exchanged glances.

“We tried to avoid contact in the training camp, too, but that time we looked at each other,” Razvozov recalls. “We were embarrassed, and we thought about whether to go up to one another or not. He made the first step, came up and shook my hand. Although it’s not my fault, I felt guilty that he was screwed over twice because of me, and I felt the need to apologize to him.”

“Razvozov says he told the Iranian he was sorry about the difficult position he was put in because of his Israeli opponent. Malekmohammadi replied that he also was sorry he had to be put in that situation, and added that it did not depend on him.

“I invited him for sparring,” Razvozov said. “I saw him looking toward the national team coach for approval. The coach nodded ‘okay’ and we started. I am sure this conflict is of no interest to the athletes themselves.”

“Fencer Maor Hatoel faced a similar dilemma three years ago when he drew a Tunisian in a youth tournament.

“You can look at it from my side, but there’s also the Arab fencers’ side,” he said. “The Tunisians are very nice people, even friends of ours. We met with them a few times and we laughed together. The draw worked out that he had to end against me.”

“Hatoel prepared for the fight and watched his tormented colleague wait for a decision by senior officials in the country.

“They waited for an answer from the Federation and the Tunisian government, and then he gestured to me with his hands (as if to say ), ‘What can I do? I’m not allowed to fight,'” Hatoel said. “The Tunisian was my friend, and I felt pretty bad for him. Later, his coach apologized and invited me for a Cola. There was nothing left to say.”

“Hatoel says things have changed since the exchange, and Tunisians and Qataris now compete against Israelis…

“Razvozov says there is an element of uncertainty when it comes to competing against Arab and Muslim countries. Iranians definitely do not compete, but one never knows with Jordanians, Lebanese and Algerians. He drew a Jordanian, he said, in the first round of the 2007 World Championship in Brazil:

“You ask yourself if he will show up or not,” he said. “I looked for him in the warm-up and didn’t find him, but he showed up for the fight in the end and did not shake my hand. I did an ‘ippon’ on him within half a minute. At the end, he again did not shake my hand and my coach at the time, who understood Arabic, told me the coach also cursed me.”

“The Iranian boycott meant gold for taekwando fighter Gili Haimovitz at the 2007 Youth Olympics. Iranian Mohammad Soleimani had won the first semifinal before Haimovitz, then 17, later took on his Argentine opponent. Haimovitz says he knew it was his last fight when he emerged victorious, but he nonetheless showed up in full gear for the final. The excuse was that Soleimani was injured, but Haimovitz says he felt sorry for his rival.

“I saw that he wanted to fight with all his soul, but he was forbidden from doing so,” he recalls.

Olympic Committee of Israel

“The ‘Olympic Committee of Israel’ takes the boycott seriously, according to its director, Ephraim Zinger.

“It violates the basis upon which international sports is founded,” he said.

“The problem, according to Zinger, is that in many cases the other side makes up medical excuses, tying Israelis’ hands.

“It’s a disgrace that they don’t have the courage to say, ‘We don’t show up because we are boycotting and are prepared to bear the punishment,'” he said. “They deceive, lie, fake, and it’s impossible to start a police investigation and try every doctor who writes a note.”

“Zinger says the best answer to this corrupt behavior is for Israeli athletes to advance to the next stages and stand on the podium while other representatives sit in the audience and listen to the Israeli national anthem.

“In the case of Nevo, Zinger says ‘FINA’, the governing body of international swimming, should file a complaint. However, he said, he would not be surprised if it was discovered that the Iranian developed an allergy to chlorine on the eve of the competition.”

–‘Muslim athletes pay the price for their leaders’ anti-Israel politics’,
Uri Talshir, Haaretz, 27.07.2011


World-School-Individual-Chess-Championship-2012From 2012:
“A sports boycott of Israel is not an unusual occurrence, but it appears the age of the boycotters is continuously dropping – A ten-year old Tunisian boy by the name of Muhammad Hamida, who took part in the ‘World School Chess Championship’, refused to compete against an Israeli opponent. Hamida’s actions have turned him into a media hero in Tunisia and other Arab countries.

“The media has interpreted Hamida’s actions as taking an unequivocal stance regarding the normalization (of relations) with Israel and showing his support of the Palestinian cause… Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Gaza, Ahmed Machisan, expressed his gratitude for Hamida’s “show of bravery” during the tournament…”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4224725,00.htmlFIFA_Logo(600).svgSee also:
‘Could Israel Really be Barred from World Soccer?’ {May 24, 2015}: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=681707375266552&id=345805362190090

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