Monday, July 30, 2012

Dividing Nations At The Olympics

What is it about judo and the Middle East? First, Iran decided to leave their judo champion home, osenstibly because he had an iffy tummy, more probably because he was the only Iranian competitor in danger of facing an Israeli. Now, the Lebanese judo team has decided that they can't train while looking at the Israeli judo team. And the Olympic officials have decided to accomodate them, erecting screens across the gym.
This is, frankly, disgusting. It is part of an ongoing attempt to portray Israel as a uniquely transgressive nation, one which can be freely discriminated against, with accomodation from the Games themselves. And it is already being defended by anti-Israel voices such as Ben White's, and compared to boycotts against apartheid South Africa. The Olympics have made their message loud and clear this year, first through refusing to honor the memories of the Israeli athletes murdered in 1972, and now through giving in to the political posturing of Lebanon. At an event supposedly dedicated to allowing nations to meet without political burdens, in an open spirit of athletic dedication and competition, Israel, and no other nation, is being delegitimized by her enemies, with the cooperation of the IOC.

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