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August 8, 2016

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 These days, anti-Israel violence at the Olympics has been replaced by politics, with representatives from countries hostile to Israel going to great lengths to avoid any interaction with Israeli athletes.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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March 27, 2015

Arab Media Cartoons Relating to the Israeli Elections and Tensions with the US

Following Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s election victory earlier this month, and the increasing tensions in the relationship between PM Netanyahu and President Obama, newspapers across the Arab world published a number of related anti-Israel and anti-Semitic cartoons. Some represent unhappiness within the Arab world over PM Netanyahu’s victory, portraying him and the Israeli voters as inherently violent and racist, while others resort to the anti-Semitic stereotype of Jews and Israel controlling President Obama and the US government.

The cartoons reflect a widespread view within the Arab world that Israeli election results represent a shift towards a more extreme right-wing stance on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which will ultimately result in damage to the Palestinian cause. They also highlight a belief that the rift in US-Israel relations will ultimately fail to alter overall US support of and perceived bias towards Israel and its policies.

The following are some examples of the cartoons published:

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August 26, 2014

Claims That ISIS Has Jewish Roots Grow In Muslim World


Cartoon published on Al-Iraq Agency News website

Several prominent public figures in parts of the Muslim World, including religious figures, elected officials and scholars, are promoting a conspiracy suggesting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)was created by the Jews and Zionists to tear Islam apart.

ISIS has engaged in a murderous terrorist campaign and has conquered significant territory stretching between Iraq and Syria over the past several months. In June it declared its advances to be the latest Caliphate and renamed itself the Islamic State.

The following are some examples that demonstrate the growing popularity of the absurd accusation that Jews and Israel are responsible for the creation and rise of ISIS.

  • August 7: The World Association for Al-Azhar Graduates, an umbrella group based in Egypt for scholars connected to Al-Azhar University, Egypt’s top religious authority, published a statement on its website describing how ISIS and other extremist groups are “[a] Jewish product under various names that change every now and then.” The statement cites the head of the association’s chapter in Pakistan, Sheik Sahib Zadeh Aziz, as saying, “The terrorist organization ISIS is a Zionist plot which aims to murder Muslims, shed their blood, and rape [their] women and girls.”
  • August 6: During an interview with Dijlah, an Iraqi-based satellite television station, popular scholar Ahmed al-Kubbaisi said, “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi [ISIS leader]… no more than a Jewish agent… and even Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the founder of Wahhabism is a hundred percent Jewish product.” He added, “I am responsible for this statement before the lord. [I swear] by God, this is an organized Jewish movement to tear apart the Ummah [Islamic Nation] and it did tear it apart.” In response to his attack on the founder of Wahhabism, the official version of Islam implemented in Saudi Arabia and a number of other Arab-Gulf states, the Mufti of Saudi Arabia and other prominent scholars in the region attacked al-Kubbaisi for affiliating ibn Abd al-Wahhab with the Jews – an ultimate insult in the Arab world. Consequently, a Saudi lawyer submitted charges to the Dubai police, which submitted the complaint to the attorney general in Dubai.
  • August 4: Iran’s Secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council, Mohsen Rezae, said during a TV interview with the Tehran-based Alalam TV that the “Zionist Entity” is behind ISIS. He said that because there is a small number of “Zionists” worldwide, they usually try to get rid of others by making them fight each other. “There is information that al-Baghdadi himself [ISIS leader] received training and instructions at the Israeli Entity,” Rezae said.
  • July 29: A prominent Shia’a cleric in Iraq, where ISIS has conquered significant territory over the past few months and killed many Shia’a Muslims, Ayatollah Sayed Mortada Al-Qazwini, reportedly described ISIS during an Eid sermon in Kerbala as “a Jewish Israeli organization, established to tear apart the land of Muslims.”

Several Arab newspapers and TV stations have also circulated a story claiming that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a Jewish Mossad agent by the name of Simon Elliot. This claim originally appeared in the anti-Semitic and conspiratorial American publication Veterans Today. In addition, an ad campaign against ISIS appearing on Afaq, an Iraqi satellite television station, showed a snake with the mark of ISIS coming out of the Jewish Star of David.

Even the notorious anti-Semitism of a group such as ISIS is not enough to prevent some in the Muslim world from claiming Jews are responsible for the ISIS reign of terror in Iraq and Syria.

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