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August 8, 2016 9

Israeli Athletes Encounter Hostility At Rio Olympic Games

The Olympic games, cur­rently tak­ing place in Rio, aim to bring together the best ath­letes from around the world in the spirit of pro­mot­ing peace and unity through com­pet­i­tive sports. For Israelis, how­ever, the Olympics will for­ever be tainted by the 1972 Munich games, where 11 Israeli ath­letes were bru­tally mur­dered by Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ists. These days, anti-Israel vio­lence at the Olympics has been replaced by pol­i­tics, with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from coun­tries hos­tile to Israel going to great lengths to avoid any inter­ac­tion with Israeli athletes.

On Fri­day, mem­bers of the Israeli Olympic del­e­ga­tion were phys­i­cally blocked from board­ing an opening-ceremonies bound bus by the head of the Lebanese del­e­ga­tion, appar­ently because he didn’t want his team to ride with Israelis. The Lebanese Min­is­ter of Youth and Sport praised the del­e­ga­tion head, whose actions were lauded in the Lebanese media, say­ing his actions were “prin­ci­pled and patri­otic.” Fol­low­ing the inci­dent, the head of Lebanon’s Olympic Com­mit­tee was rebuked by the Olympic orga­niz­ers.
Israeli Olympic Team

On Sun­day, Saudi Judo fighter Joud Fahmy for­feited her first-round match against Chris­tianne Leg­en­til of Mau­ri­tius in order to avoid fac­ing Israeli Gili Cohen in the next round (who Fahmy would have faced if she had defeated Leg­en­til). The Saudi Olympic team tweeted that Fahmy with­drew because of “injuries” to her arms and legs, but the Israeli press reported that Fahmy was in fact not hurt and dropped out to avoid com­pet­ing against Cohen.

A sim­i­lar inci­dent occurred dur­ing the 2012 Lon­don Olympics, when Iran­ian judo cham­pion Javad Mahjoub, who was sched­uled to face Israeli Arik Ze’evi, with­drew from com­pe­ti­tion, claim­ing health con­cerns. Mahjoub had pre­vi­ously acknowl­edged throw­ing matches to avoid com­pet­ing against Israeli athletes.

In recent years, coun­tries hos­tile to Israel, includ­ing Kuwait and Malaysia, have denied Israeli ath­letes visas to par­tic­i­pate in inter­na­tional sport­ing com­pe­ti­tions. The most infa­mous case was from 2009, when the United Arab Emi­rates denied Israeli ten­nis player Sha­har Pe’er a visa to com­pete in an inter­na­tional ten­nis tour­na­ment in Dubai. A num­ber of impor­tant ten­nis fig­ures, includ­ing Venus Williams and Andy Rod­dick (who dropped out in protest), pub­licly con­demned the UAE deci­sion, and Pe’er was allowed to com­pete the fol­low­ing year, albeit with heavy restrictions.

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July 21, 2016 Off

Israeli Flags Burned in Cairo in Protest of Foreign Minister’s Israel Visit

Egypt­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Sameh Shukri’s July 10th visit to Israel and meet­ing with Israeli PM Netanyahu was the first such trip in nine years.   In Israel, Shukri’s visit was greeted as reflec­tive of warm­ing rela­tions between Jerusalem and Cairo who signed a peace agree­ment in 1979.   For some in Egypt, the visit sparked protest against this act of normalization.

Accord­ing to reports in Arab media, Egypt­ian jour­nal­ists burned Israeli flags on Wednes­day (July 13) on the foot­steps of the Syn­di­cate of Jour­nal­ists build­ing in Cairo, shout­ing anti-Israel slo­gans. A video of the demon­stra­tion posted on YouTube by Egypt’s Al-Masrawi news­pa­per shows a group of pro­test­ers stand­ing around an Israeli flag, hold­ing addi­tional Israeli flags marked with an X. The per­son in the mid­dle is say­ing “We came today to burn this despi­ca­ble flag, the flag of the apes and pigs. We’ll also burn the pic­tures of the one called “the Prime Min­is­ter of the Zion­ists” and that of Egypt­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Sameh Shukri”. The video goes on to show them shout­ing together “We’ve been repeat­ing it gen­er­a­tion after gen­er­a­tion – we’ll treat you as enemy, Israel.”

From Twitter

From Twit­ter

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July 11, 2016 Off

Violent East Jerusalem Graffiti Suggests Incitement Seeping Into Palestinian Daily Life

Graf­fiti recently on view in East Jerusalem, includ­ing on Salah El-Din street (the area’s main busi­ness dis­trict), high­lights the incite­ment to vio­lence seep­ing into the daily lives of hun­dreds of thou­sands of Pales­tini­ans liv­ing in that area. It serves as a reminder of the fragility of the rel­a­tive calm Jerusalem has enjoyed in recent weeks, hav­ing pre­vi­ously been a focal point in the wave of Pales­tin­ian ter­ror which began in Sep­tem­ber of 2015, often referred to as the “Knives Intifada” because of the fre­quent stab­bing attacks. Exam­ples of this hate­ful graf­fiti include an image of a hand hold­ing a knife with the Ara­bic cap­tions “stab”  and “The Jerusalem Intifada,” and an icon of a Pales­tin­ian hurl­ing a Molo­tov cock­tail with the cap­tion “resist.”

Other exam­ples include a map of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza with the cap­tion “From the river to the sea”, sug­gest­ing that the Pales­tin­ian state should stretch from the Mediter­ranean to the Jor­dan River, thereby elim­i­nat­ing the State of Israel. Also spray painted are slo­gans call­ing for addi­tional acts of Pales­tin­ian ter­ror, with graf­fiti read­ing “The armed strug­gle till the liberation/long live the Intifada” and “The Intifada con­tin­ues till the lib­er­a­tion of the land and the people.”

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