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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 These days, anti-Israel vio­lence at the Olympics has been replaced by pol­i­tics, with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from coun­tries hos­tile to Israel going to great lengths to avoid any inter­ac­tion with Israeli athletes.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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October 9, 2013 Off

“Mein Kampf” Used To Validate Anti-Semitic Forgery On Popular Arab TV Program

A Kuwaiti tele­vi­sion pro­gram focus­ing on con­spir­acy the­o­ries fea­tured a dis­cus­sion on The Pro­to­cols of the Learned Elders of Zion. But instead of debunk­ing this noto­ri­ous anti-Semitic forgery, the program’s host and guest pun­dit cited Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf to prove the authen­tic­ity of the Pro­to­cols’ claims.

The pro­gram, which aired on Sep­tem­ber 30 on Al-Rai TV, was hosted by Dr. Mohammed Al-Awady, a well-known tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity, and fea­tured pun­dit Dr. Muhana Al Muhana.

Dur­ing their dis­cus­sion, Al-Awady quoted sec­tions from Mein Kampf, Hitler’s blue­print for world dom­i­na­tion and for the destruc­tion of the Jews. Al Muhana responded by claim­ing that Jews are “wicked” because the Tal­mud teaches them to treat non-Jews badly and to “suck the other’s blood.” 

Cit­ing Hitler’s geno­ci­dal anti-Jewish rant in Mein Kampf to val­i­date the Pro­to­cols fan­tasy of a Jew­ish con­spir­acy to achieve global dom­i­na­tion is not only absurd, but a dis­turb­ing reminder of the bla­tant anti-Semitism that is still broad­cast in that region.

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October 4, 2013 Off

Kuwaiti Officers Reportedly Force Two Arrested Men To Pose As Hitler For Photo

kuwait-migrants-hitler-twitter-nazi-salute-officers

Two arrested men report­edly forced by Kuwaiti offi­cers to give Nazi salute after mus­taches shaved to resem­ble Hitler.

Two migrant work­ers arrested by Kuwaiti law enforce­ment in a recent raid were appar­ently forced by offi­cers to pose for a photo giv­ing a Nazi salute after hav­ing their mus­taches shaved to resem­ble Hitler.

There is no indi­ca­tion that the offi­cers, who appar­ently posted the photo on social media, were act­ing on behalf of Kuwaiti authorities.

Accord­ing to the Kuwaiti daily Al Rai, the photo has caught the atten­tion of the Kuwaiti Min­istry of Inte­rior, which has issued orders to inves­ti­gate the mat­ter and to iden­tify the officers.

Reports of this inci­dent first appeared on Twit­ter on Octo­ber 3 when Sara Al-Darees, a Kuwaiti activist, posted the photo on her twit­ter account. Al-Darees gained inter­na­tional atten­tion in July 2013 when she was arrested on charges of Tweet­ing mes­sages deemed offen­sive to the Emir of Kuwait.

Accord­ing to Al Rai, three offi­cers arrested two migrant work­ers dur­ing a raid on an alco­hol pro­duc­tion facil­ity. Alco­hol is banned in Kuwait.

While the behav­ior of the offi­cers may be an iso­lated inci­dent, it serves as a reminder of the per­va­sive­ness of Hitler and Nazi imagery in the region. From smart phone appli­ca­tions to adver­tise­ments to bla­tant Holo­caust denial, the ubiq­uity of such imagery con­tributes to the triv­i­al­iza­tion of and desen­si­ti­za­tion to the unpar­al­leled hor­rors of the Holocaust.

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