Israel will not tolerate discrimination and boycotts by Arab countries hosting sports events and has launched a legal campaign to quash their shameful conduct.
By: United with Israel Staff
Arab countries that discriminate against Israel at sports events, ban Israeli athletes or single them out in any other way will now face legal action by an international team of leading lawyers.
Israeli athletes recently faced humiliation, boycotts and other forms of national shaming at tournaments hosted in Arab and Muslim countries. A legal team headed by renowned US lawyer and Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz is preparing a lawsuit to force the host countries to allow Israeli athletes to compete under the Jewish state’s flag and, if they win, play its national anthem, Times of Israel (TOI) reported Wednesday.
The team, assembled by Member of Knesset (MK) Yoel Razvozov, a former athlete and competing judoka, is working on the lawsuit that will be filed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, an international body for settling sports-related disputes.
“As a former Olympic athlete and as a Knesset member, I cannot tolerate seeing Israeli athletes being forced to compete without our flag, our anthem and our national colors,” Razvozov stated, according to the TOI report.
“It is humiliating for the country and it is a capitulation to extremism. The Arab world is using sport as a political tool against Israel’s very existence,” he said.
Discrimination ‘May Begin in Sports but it Doesn’t End in Sports’
Dershowitz noted that such discriminatory actions “may begin in sports but it doesn’t end in sports. If this is allowed to continue in sports, it will spread to other areas of life.”
“It is part of the BDS approach and tactic and we have to stop it at its core,” Dershowitz said, relating to the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.
“There is no better place to stop this than in sports because the vast majority of spectators and participants do not want to see sports politicized, they do not want to see hatred enter into the sporting arena,” he added. “We will not let anyone give second-class status to the nation state of the Jewish people. Israel should be given equal status and we will achieve it.”
Years of Boycotts and Snubs
For years, Israeli athletes have faced boycotts, snubs and logistical hurdles in sporting events involving Arab and Muslim countries.
In April, a court in Tunis banned four Israeli athletes from competing at the taekwondo world junior championships after a group of anti-Israel activists who opposed “normalization” with Jewish state filed a last-minute lawsuit.
In November, Morocco refused entry to Israel’s national judo team.
In October, Israel’s Judo team encountered Muslim hostility in Abu Dhabi when the country barred Israel’s team from donning national symbols and refused to play the Jewish state’s national anthem during the tournament.
Similarly, in one of the competitions, Israel’s Tohar Butbul beat the UAE’s Rashad Almashjari, who then refused to shake hands after losing.
In February 2017, Iranian karate athlete Majid Hassaninia refused to compete against an Israeli opponent at the 21st Open de Paris – Karate Premier League in France. The Iranian’s unsportsmanlike conduct defied the accepted international code of honor in sports.
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