A new milestone: BDS at the Olympics

Activism
on 153 Comments

“I have no problem with Jewish people or any other religion or different beliefs. But for personal reasons, you can’t ask me to shake the hand of anyone from this state, especially in front of the whole world.” These words, spoken by an individual who has just engaged in a gesture of support for the Palestinian people, are a standard response to the accusation of anti-Semitism which is routinely hurled at pro-justice activists.

The necessary distinction made between the “Jewish people” and the Israeli state is one Israel itself seeks to erase, as it strives to deflect all criticism of its policies, blaming it on anti-Jewish hatred instead. As such, these words do not in themselves establish new grounds, but a new approach to solidarity. Yet as Egyptian judoka Islam El-Shehaby uttered them last week in Brazil, they signified a new milestone: the sports boycott had arrived at the 2016 Olympic Games.

“Shaking the hand of your opponent is not an obligation written in the judo rules. It happens between friends and he’s not my friend,” El Shehaby explained, in the fallout from his action, which resulted in his dismissal from the games, for “poor sportsmanship.”

One day before El-Shehaby’s refusal to shake the hand of the Israeli Olympian he had just competed with, another judoka, Saudi Joud Fahmy, had withdrawn from the competition, in order not to have to compete against an Israeli athlete, should she win and advance to the next round.

And yet two days earlier, the Lebanese team had refused to let Israeli athletes ride on the same bus that had picked them up first, on its way to the opening ceremony. The Lebanese athletes persistently blocked the door, preventing the Israelis from getting onto the bus. As a result, the International Olympic Committee had to send in a separate bus for the Israelis.

While the Olympics are without a doubt an athletic competition, they are also, and to an equal degree, about the countries that send these athletes to the games. At the end of the day, and at the end of the games, we have a countdown of medals by country. And even as the Games are said to be about nations coming together, they are really yet another venue for pitting nations against each other. When any athlete competes, their country and their country’s flag is displayed as prominently as their own name. The winner’s national anthem is played during the medal ceremony, and all are expected to show their respect to that country. It is no surprise that the formidable gold medalist Gabby Douglas has been pilloried by her compatriots for her refusal to place her hand on her heart during the US national anthem, (even though she was otherwise very respectful), and one of the most iconic political images in Olympics history remains the raised Black Power fists of Tommie Smith and John Carlos, at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

Of course then, the snubbing by Lebanese, Egyptian, and Saudi athletes of members of the Israeli delegation is a political act. And of course, Israel has complained that these athletes “are bringing their respective countries’ ongoing conflict with Israel to the Rio games.”

The actions of these athletes are in keeping with the Palestinian call for global solidarity in the form of BDS, including the sports boycott of Israel. A sports boycott is an individual gesture with the greater immediate negative consequences suffered by the person engaging in it, as they will likely be disqualified from further competition. Yet the Arab athletes who refused to normalize with the Israelis have been criticized as violating “etiquette” and “the Olympic spirit.” Which drives one to wonder, is this yet another venue where Israeli exceptionalism wins, as the violent, racist state is left off the hook, not held accountable for its assault on Palestinian athletes?

Over the recent years, Israel has prevented Olympics-bound Palestinian team chiefs from leaving the country. It had restricted their freedom of movement, making it basically impossible for them to practice in adequate facilities, and it has shot at the ankles of Palestinian soccer players. Where was the criticism when these crimes were committed? Two years ago, an international campaign to ban Israel from FIFA, because of its human rights violations, had failed to pressure the international organization into censoring that country.

When no official organization is willing to hold Israel accountable, individuals can do so. The snubbing by some athletes of the Israeli delegation is a noble gesture in a political arena, and it is incumbent on us to appreciate it for what it is: a refusal to normalize with a country that bombs young boys playing on the beach, prevents young swimmers from reaching a pool, and prohibits Olympic hopefuls in Gaza from training with their compatriots in the West Bank. We then can surely appreciate the exquisite irony of the separate buses at the Olympic village for the delegation from a country that builds separate roads for its Jewish citizens, transporting them to their Jewish settlements in illegally occupied territories.

While the Olympics athletes were competing in Rio, another game was being played halfway around the world with an overt political message as well: we will not be cowered into “civility” towards an apartheid state. In Glasgow, Scotland, fans of Scotland’s Celtic FC had organized an event to “Fly the Flag for Palestine, for Celtic, for Justice,” during a game against the Israeli team Hapoel Beer Sheva.  The Facebook page of the event is clear about its understanding of the political reality of Israel, as the organizers explain that the display of flags would be to “invoke our democratic rights to display our opposition to Israeli apartheid, settler-colonialism and countless massacres of the Palestinian people.”

The fans had been warned by UEFA that they could face fines or the closing down of part of their stadium if they flew the Palestinian flag. But, as John Wight writes, “Celtic supporters are typically among the most politically aware and conscious of any demographic in society. For them Celtic is more than just another football club it is a political and social institution, one that has always stood and must continue to stand for justice in the face of injustice, racism, oppression, and against apartheid wherever and whenever it arises.”

Around the world, the Palestinian flag—almost like the kuffiyeh—has taken on a dimension beyond nationalism to signify progressive politics, a collective stand against systemic violence, and anti-colonialism everywhere. And as the game began, Palestinian flags appeared everywhere in the stands. A sea of Palestinian flags greeted the Israeli team in defiance of UEFA rules, and at the risk of the Celtic FC being penalized. Yes, flying the flag was without a doubt an expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people. But it was also a rejection of the system behind the oppression of the Palestinian people; a rejection of apartheid, colonialism and racism. The display of hundreds of Palestinian flags at the Celtic FC game showed an understanding of shared experiences of discrimination, disenfranchisement, dispossession, and a rejection of the Zionist narrative. Every flag that flew in that stadium ripped at Israel’s projection of normalcy and its paper-thin veneer of “democracy.” And the media carried the news around the globe, amplifying the gesture.

Beyond the boycott of consumer products in grocery stores, BDS has so far dealt a major blow to Israel’s image. Artists continue to cancel scheduled concerts in Tel Aviv, academic associations are voting to boycott complicit Israeli institutions, churches are screening their portfolios to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s illegal practices, and the recent events in Scotland and at the 2016 Olympics are the principled athletes’ way of saying: we do not normalize with the representatives of a pariah state. Before these gestures get spun into anti-Semitic incidents by Zionist hasbara, it is incumbent upon BDS activists and organizers to explain the context of the snubbing, the defiance, and the refusal to engage in “good sportsmanship” with a country that violates the most basic human rights of an entire people.

About Nada Elia

Nada Elia is a Palestinian scholar-activist, writer, and grassroots organizer, currently completing a book on Palestinian Diaspora activism.

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153 Responses

  1. ritzl
    August 21, 2016, 3:08 pm

    Less normalization does seem to be the trend. Great!

    I wonder if African athletes shook (were required to shake) the hands of RSA athletes in anti-Apartheid protest years or if this is a new rule because it’s Israel.

    • SallijaneG
      August 22, 2016, 12:25 pm

      Shaking hands has always been the standard policy; I believe South Africa was banned from the games during at least part of the antipartheid years.

  2. catalan
    August 21, 2016, 3:57 pm

    Ugly. There are many awful conflicts, including many hot ones – Karabakh, Abkhazia, the South China Sea, Bolivia, Crimea, Donetzk; and yet none of the athletes from the conflict zones exhibited this behavior.
    The Olympic Games is a wrong forum for this and truly, the face of the Israeli judoka after the refused handshake has become one of the most memorable images from the Olympics.

    • CigarGod
      August 21, 2016, 5:24 pm

      So nations can boycott whole games…imposing their will on every Olympic athlete in the world, but individual athletes aren’t even allowed to decline shaking hands with the athlete of their choosing.

    • ritzl
      August 21, 2016, 5:26 pm

      You may be right catalan. It is the wrong forum for applying pressure on Israel, but since ALL the “right” fora have been eliminated over the course of this 70 colonization/ethnic cleansing with the slaughter of human beings mixed in PRN, this becomes the default “right” forum because it’s the only one left.

      Blame the GoI for funneling protest here by it’s total, abject, omni, and generational failure to even attempt to resolve it’s illegal and amoral behavior.

      BTW NONE of those flare ups you mention has been going on for more than a decade. That makes this one first in the queue for notoriety and resolution.

      I have to say it’s Israel’s special hands-off [non-] treatment under international law that is shredding that law. Expect more of this type of protest if that process is not reversed. All the advocates of death out there will be increasingly unrestrained, there will be many more prolonged failures of the institutions charged with resolutions (especially given that the advocates of death are in charge of them), and high-profile, globally-publicized events like this will become increasingly political as disenfranchised seek to bring attention to their ongoing plights.

    • Mr.T
      August 21, 2016, 5:32 pm

      “The Olympic Games is a wrong forum for this”

      Absolutely false. South Africa was kicked out of the IOC for its shameful behavior and JSIL’s acts against Palestinian sportsmen and women in Palestine deserves equal condemnation. If the IOC is too cowardly or bought or blinkered to do it, the athletes themselves should stand up for what is right.

      “and truly, the face of the Israeli judoka after the refused handshake has become one of the most memorable images from the Olympics.”

      What I see is a disgusting display by the Israeli. This representative from a wicked, fascist regime has the unmitigated gall to demand that the Egyptian athlete ignore the evil that Israel does and treat him as an equal??? He should have spit in his face. Few people are willing to stand up to evil, especially when it is right in front of them. Good for this Egyptian for doing so in a gracious was.
      The Israeli wants himself and his state to be treated as normal decent human beings? Let them act like it first and end their barbarism against the Palestinians. Until then they deserve scorn, contempt and isolation, not handshakes.

      • Carnal49
        August 22, 2016, 1:05 pm

        Bravo for the gesture rejecting the handshake. BDS should be recognized by everyone as the only nonviolent method available to secure justice, dignity, peace and soveriegnty for Palestine given the impunity Israel enjoys thanks to the antidemocratic protection of the US.

      • Jackdaw
        August 25, 2016, 12:41 pm

        @t

        I’m an Israeli and you can try to spit in my face. Where do you want to meet up?
        I can be there in about 24 hours.

      • Mr.T
        August 25, 2016, 4:57 pm

        “I can be there in about 24 hours.”

        {point and laugh}

      • Mooser
        August 25, 2016, 5:22 pm

        “I’m an Israeli and you can try to spit in my face. Where do you want to meet up?
        I can be there in about 24 hours.”

        “Jackdaw”, you seem to be laboring under a slight misapprehension. This is Mondo, where you get BDS.
        As you are obviously looking for some form of BDSM you might want to advertise elsewhere. You might get a lot of takers.

      • eljay
        August 25, 2016, 6:38 pm

        || Jackdaw: … I’m an Israeli and you can try to spit in my face. Where do you want to meet up?
        I can be there in about 24 hours. ||

        He’s willing to travel to any place in the world just to do violence to another man. Captain Israel just blew a wad.

      • gamal
        August 25, 2016, 10:17 pm

        “some form of BDSM”

        Dear Mooser i want to offer you, god it should be Zappa Bobby Brown, ” we kinod of drifted along into SM”

        but this everything in one song

        “when misfortune falls no man can shun it

        I was a blind fool I’ll ne’er deny”

        my friend it has the sweetest line there could be

        ” And I wish the Queen would call home her armies..”

        all the very best you a paragon, exemplar, (and fuck off i make my own rules)

        https://youtu.be/YOH-RslaJwA

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2016, 12:04 pm

        “…i make my own rules”

        That’s fine with me, since I don’t make them, just don’t retire. Not yet, anyway. You can go a while yet.

    • echinococcus
      August 21, 2016, 6:15 pm

      Oh it’s the wrong forum now, is it?
      A major icon of Judaic tradition is rumored to have said “if not now, when?”
      Ever heard of that?
      The face of the Zionist entity judoka is worth signaling, of course –the face of an entitled bully surprised by the absence of obeisance.

      • Marnie
        August 22, 2016, 4:07 am

        Bingo!

    • mariapalestina
      August 21, 2016, 11:23 pm

      I admire and applaud Egyptian judoka Islam El-Shehaby for his integrity in sacrificing his personal ambitions of winning an Olympic medal in order to stand up for Palestinian human rights and against Israeli apartheid. El-Shehaby’s gesture showed true courage. Israeli athletes should have been banned from participating in the Olympic Game, just as South African athletes were prohibited from participating in the Olympics for over 30 years.

      • Marnie
        August 22, 2016, 2:25 am

        Absolutely right! It speaks volumes that they are still allowed to participate, as if they were a country and not just a space-occupying lesion in Palestine.

      • ritzl
        August 22, 2016, 8:49 am

        +1

      • Jackdaw
        August 26, 2016, 2:30 am

        “I admire and applaud Egyptian judoka Islam El-Shehaby for his integrity in sacrificing his personal ambitions of winning an Olympic medal ”

        No Maria. El-Shehaby fought the Jew and the Jew beat him fair and square. Only than did El Shehaby exhibit poor sportsmanship by refusing to shake his victor’s hand.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2016, 12:16 pm

        “No Maria. El-Shehaby fought the Jew and the Jew beat him”

        “The Jew”. Must be wonderful, to fight not just for Israel, but for all the world’s 200 million Jews.

      • Mr.T
        August 26, 2016, 1:11 pm

        “Only than did El Shehaby exhibit poor sportsmanship by refusing to shake his victor’s hand. ”

        Better to be a poor sport than to be a sucker that stupidly pretends that any of you Israelis are worth treating like decent people when you’re not.

      • Jackdaw
        August 26, 2016, 3:28 pm

        @Mooser

        Stalking me?

      • Jackdaw
        August 26, 2016, 3:34 pm

        @t

        We Jews have been dealing with your ilk for many thousands of years. The Jewish State will bury BDS, along with your perverted dream of annihilating Israel.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2016, 3:52 pm

        “We Jews have been dealing with your ilk for many thousands of years.”

        What you mean-um “we”? So how many of the world’s 200 million Jews are ready to back you up? (“Hophmi” says there’s only 140-150 million)

        “The Jewish State will bury BDS,”

        It hasn’t even been there a hundred years yet, and still can’t find its own borders.

        “Stalking me?”

        Like you’re all that hard to catch? I mean, you just offered to fly anywhere in the world to get spit on.

      • Mr.T
        August 26, 2016, 3:53 pm

        “We Jews have been dealing with your ilk for many thousands of years.”

        {point and laugh.} You bought into that “everyone is out to get us” victim narrative that the right wingers are pushing ??? Ha ha!!! You sucker…

        “The Jewish State will bury BDS, along with your perverted dream of annihilating Israel.”

        Get over yourself, drama queen. I have no dream of annihilating anything other than your state’s bigoted, racist policies. Absent that, your people, state, culture and history aren’t important enough to waste two seconds’ thought on.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2016, 4:08 pm

        “The Jewish State will bury BDS, along with “

        Nikita, please stop banging on the lectern, and for G-d’s sake put your shoe back on .

      • eljay
        August 26, 2016, 4:28 pm

        || Mooser: “The Jew”. Must be wonderful, to fight not just for Israel, but for all the world’s 200 million Jews. ||

        Not sure if it’s because they’re filled with “Jew hatred”, self-loathing or both, but Zio-supremacists have this anti-Semitic tic that causes them continually to conflate all Jews with Israel and Israel with all Jews.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2016, 4:52 pm

        “We Jews have been dealing with your ilk for many thousands of years.”

        “We Jews have been dealing with your ilk for many thousands of years…”! Very original and creative use of the blood libels, “Jackdaw”!!
        I never before thought they could be turned to our advantage but I think you are showing us the way.

      • Kay24
        August 26, 2016, 5:48 pm

        Here is some really uplifting news for those fighting the good fight:

        “Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists have welcomed World Bank figures that show a 24% drop in Palestinian imports from Israel during the first quarter of 2015 as a strong sign that the boycott of Israeli goods by Palestinians is starting to

        World Bank partially attributes 24% drop in Palestinian imports from Israel to boycott
        Israel’s escalation of attacks on Palestinians underline urgency for BDS
        Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists have welcomed World Bank figures that show a 24% drop in Palestinian imports from Israel during the first quarter of 2015 as a strong sign that the boycott of Israeli goods by Palestinians is starting to hit the Israeli economy.”

        https://bdsmovement.net/news/world-bank-figures-show-palestinian-boycott-israeli-imports-starting-bite

        This should make some here very irritated.

      • Jackdaw
        August 27, 2016, 2:02 am

        @t
        @ Moose Stalker

        The Arabs economically boycotted Zionism in the 1920’s, 1940’s and 1970’s.
        To this day, many countries practice ‘anti-normalization’. For example, a dozen countries still won’t permit an Israeli passport holder entry into the country.

        The Jewish State has outlasted all these prior boycotts.
        The efforts of failed Euro-Leftists, jihad inspired Arabs and their Western ‘useful idiots’, will come to naught.
        Why?

        Because global warming, sectarian fighting and a Cold War with Iran has fractured the Arab world, which it spiraling down to disaster. Millions are fleeing the region.

        What’s your inbred, myopic cult going to do when the entire Middle East and North Africa goes ‘tit’s up’?

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2016, 11:17 am

        “The Arabs economically…/… ‘anti-normalization’../…naught…/…global warming…/…myopic…/… goes ‘tit’s up’?

        Sure, “Jackdaw” Peach out and tits up to you, too.
        (Er drayt sich arum vie a fortz in russell .)

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2016, 12:43 pm

        “We Jews have been dealing with your ilk for many thousands of years.”

        While reasons of taste and empathy prevent me from going into a blackly humorous detail about it, I’ve still gotta say: “We Jews” sure showed them how we deal with the ilk over the last couple thousand years, didn’t we, “Jackdaw”! I often laugh triumphantly in the shower over it.

      • eljay
        August 27, 2016, 9:43 pm

        || Jackdaw: … Because global warming, sectarian fighting and a Cold War with Iran has fractured the Arab world, which it spiraling down to disaster. Millions are fleeing the region.

        What’s your inbred, myopic cult going to do when the entire Middle East and North Africa goes ‘tit’s up’? ||

        The entire Middle East / “Arab world” is about to collapse into utter chaos and a Zio-supremacist – proud of the unapologetically oppressive, colonialist, belligerent, intransigent, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist state he and his ilk established smack dab in the middle of the Middle East / “Arab world” – taunts far-away Americans about their myopia.

        The irony is just too damned much!

        Thank you, Jackdaw, for what is perhaps the most awesome comment ever made on MW.

      • Mr.T
        August 29, 2016, 1:33 pm

        “For example, a dozen countries still won’t permit an Israeli passport holder entry into the country.”

        Shame more countries don’t have such high standards as that dozen.

    • Marnie
      August 22, 2016, 4:05 am

      “the face of the Israeli judoka after the refused handshake has become one of the most memorable images from the Olympics. ”

      Ah yes, the world according to catalan, as no one else really counts.

      I think the ear to ear smile of Gabby Douglas is probably one of the most memorable images, not the pout of an israeli athlete, followed by the traditional olympic ‘stomping off to complain to the judges’. Priceless.

      • hophmi
        August 26, 2016, 1:36 pm

        The world’s 200 million Jews? There are 14-15 million, not 200 million.

        “This was an act of courage and resistance to a brutal . never ending occupation and violent human rights crimes against humanity. ”

        LOL, from a brute idiot who comes from a dictatorship that he would never protest. You wonder why Arab countries are such a mess. It’s because people like that guy are more interested in protesting Israel than in changing their own societies.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2016, 2:07 pm

        “The world’s 200 million Jews? There are 14-15 million, not 200 million.”

        You’ve got it mixed up “Hophmi” . There are 14-15 million superbly conditioned, trained and disciplined fighting age males in Israel. Out of an 80 million strong, young, prime reproductive age and burgeoning Jewish population. All of whom have nowhere else to go.
        And I think there are about 20 million settlers outside Israel’s declared borders. A vast movement. Irresistible in its urgency and numbers.

      • hophmi
        August 27, 2016, 1:05 pm

        Ok, Mooser. Have no clue what you’re smoking, but take that medicine; it’ll keep you from hallucinating.

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      August 22, 2016, 11:05 am

      This was an act of courage and resistance to a brutal . never ending occupation and violent human rights crimes against humanity.

    • SallijaneG
      August 22, 2016, 12:27 pm

      Actually, it was not shown at all during the U.S. NBC coverage, I don’t think—at least not on broadcast. I do not have cable service so I was not able to get behind the paywall for more than about 45 seconds.

    • Emory Riddle
      August 22, 2016, 12:33 pm

      Conflicts? What conflict? This is a 70 year long occupation of a peoples. Fully supported by the American taxpayer. There is nothing else like it in the world.

    • K Renner
      August 22, 2016, 3:31 pm

      @Catalansbara:

      Only the last one you mentioned is remotely “hot” to a comparable level with Israel’s war on the Palestinians. I for one would have no problem with Ukrainian atheletes refusing to shake hands with Russians, or spitting at Russians, or hitting Russians, because of the war in Donetsk.

      As Israel is responsible for the conflict with the Palestinians, Russia is responsible for the situation in East Ukraine.

      “and yet none of the athletes from the conflict zones exhibited this behavior.”

      Yawn. Stick your self-righteous indignation back up the smelly hole it came from. You and yours (dare I guess where they might live?) aren’t entitled to even one iota of respect.

      “The Olympic Games is a wrong forum for this ”

      Nope. It’s the right forum for this. The Olympics are a farce anyways when it comes to “promoting world unity” or whatever they market themselves as doing.

      As long as Israel and Jews around the world ban or aid and abet those who ban Palestinian atheletes from even making it to the Olympics, Israeli contestants deserve nothing better in terms of treatment.

      “truly, the face of the Israeli judoka after the refused handshake has become one of the most memorable images from the Olympics. ”

      Hyperbole. A petulant, stupid expression is hardly memorable. That old bag who was talking about 1972 at Rio isn’t memorable either.

    • kalithea
      August 24, 2016, 11:51 am

      The Olympics is just one venue from which the Ziokaners should be banned.

      I would spit all over my hand first and ask him to shake that.

      So Israelis the majority of whom were in the military at some point oppressing, killing and committing war crimes against Palestinians for decades want the rest of us to just shake their hand. Would you shake the hand of someone who has the blood of another on his hand? Oh and I’m not interested in your hasbara justifications.

      • hophmi
        August 26, 2016, 1:37 pm

        “I would spit all over my hand first and ask him to shake that. ”

        So you’re a jerk. What else is new?

    • kalithea
      August 24, 2016, 1:52 pm

      Catalan my ass! Apologist for Zionist war crimes – you bet!

    • xanadou
      August 24, 2016, 4:53 pm

      Catalan,

      Ugly, absolutely. To shoot a football/soccer player in the ankle, to execute 4 boys playing the game on a beach, and on, ad infinitum.

      The Israeli delegation to Rio had to expect the boycott in whatever the form and THAT is what the Israeli guy’s face shows.

      Inasmuch as I sympathize with the Israelis for having had to endure the humiliation, that pic had to be shown in Israel. The Israeli media comments have likely whined to the tune of the world’s biggest imaginary violin, but it is events like this that eventually will crack the decrepit façade built with lies.

      Israelis are a society as complex as any; the majority will howl and hurl the usual tired invectives, but there will be a few more who will start packing to join the modern ongoing exodus out of hell and into the real world of equality, fraternity and liberty to exist with harm to none. To them I say, WELCOME, now start working and playing WITH us for our COMMON good.

      And if the Israeli hasbara really truly believe in their dogmas, then why send out flunky hackers to make reposting such as above articles as hard as possible? Why are negative comments and slurs not sufficient to register a differing opinion, hmmmm?

      • DaBakr
        August 26, 2016, 5:13 pm

        @x
        the loud universal booing from the crowd in the stands at the egyptian spoke volumes about what the world, in general, thinks about such obnoxious and infantile behavior.

  3. JustJessetr
    August 21, 2016, 5:32 pm

    I think it shows extreme cowardice on the part of the Lebanese, the Egyptians and the Saudis. They’re obviously afraid of the Israelis sports ability, or to take a stand against their own repressive govt’s by manning up.

    Pathetic.

    • Misterioso
      August 21, 2016, 8:10 pm

      JustJessetr

      It’s your comment that is pathetic. No person in any setting or for any reason should be compelled to shake hands with a citizen of a country that is brutally oppressing and dispossessing a people whom it is belligerently and illegally occupying.

    • zaid
      August 22, 2016, 12:09 am

      The Egyptian player may have lost the Judo battle , but he surely won the moral battle.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 22, 2016, 12:28 am

        fabulously so

      • JustJessetr
        August 23, 2016, 6:53 am

        You’re right! It makes absolutely no difference the Egyptian Judoka lost fair and square and backed away in fear, or spite, of his overpowering opponent. Now it doesn’t look at all like he’s an unsportsmanlike, childish, little twerp. And since the Saudis and Lebanese won zero medals, their backing away from Israelies is also a sign of athletic and moral superiority.

        Thanks for helping me change my opinion.

    • JustJessetr
      August 22, 2016, 6:42 am

      And every coward has his reasons.

    • CigarGod
      August 22, 2016, 8:49 am

      Israeli sports ability?
      Be careful with the battles you choose to engage in.
      For example, Alexander Shatilov. He represents Israel, but is not an Israeli. There are several more similar examples on the team.
      Back in 2002 there was a supposed Israeli bobsled team trying to make the games. The athletes were not Israelis, but Americans. Israel Olympic Committee denied they had a team.
      They were fine athletes in other sports but not bobsled.

    • Froggy
      August 22, 2016, 11:50 am

      JustJessetr :: “They’re obviously afraid of the Israelis sports ability….”

      -LOL- And just where did the Israelis stand in the Olympics medals table ? Two Bronze….

      Add to that Hapoel Beersheba FC, Israeli League champions, getting trounced by Glasgow Celtic. By a score of 5-2.

      Nothing to be ‘afraid of’ there.

      • hophmi
        August 26, 2016, 1:40 pm

        Yeah, lol. Egypt has about 12 times the population of Israel and it won three bronze medals. Definitely nothing to be afraid from the jewel of the Arab world, a dictatorship of 80m that oppresses religious minorities and shoots African migrants at the border.

  4. pabelmont
    August 21, 2016, 5:58 pm

    Yes, the USA-imposed (and multi-national imposed, I don’t doubt) kibosh on enforcing international law on Israel has allowed the expulsions of 1947-50 and later to go unpunished, the victims unrestored to their homeland. These athletes may (I don’t know) have risked opprobrium from their own governments, which may be friendlier with Israel than their people are.

    • Citizen
      August 22, 2016, 8:01 am

      @ pabelmont

      The Egyptian Street is totally against normalization of Egypt with Israel. OTOH, the Egyptian military class runs Egypt and gets the second biggest chunk of US military aid, after Israel, and on condition Egypt pay nice with Israel (which they do, e.g., cutting off Palestinian tunnels on Egypt’s side of the Gaza Strip).

      Remember when South Africa was banned from the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo due to the apartheid policies? This ban effectively lasted until 1992. During this time, some sports people (like Zola Budd and Kepler Wessels) left for other countries in order to compete internationally.

  5. DaBakr
    August 21, 2016, 11:12 pm

    disgusting, immature, sour, pathetic and almost universally disparaged behavior by a:
    lebanese and saudi athletes who brought shame upon their nations no matter how much this author and her […] on mw try and sugar coat their actions. if the ioc were even half as corrupt and debased as it already is it would have taken much more firm action then the rather light rebukes it took. but rebukes they were.

    if the nations that despise israel had any real guts they would boycott the entire olympics since israel will always be there to compete.

    • CigarGod
      August 22, 2016, 9:00 am

      No, I think face to face shows plenty of “guts.”

    • oldgeezer
      August 22, 2016, 9:23 am

      @dabakr

      Lol since when is almost universally disparaged behaviour an issue for an israeli or zionist. You live it every day. And you’re proud of it.

      It really bothers you that there are people who won’t sell out principles and normalize the paruah state. Too funny. Adhere to international laws and norms but until then you’re just a bunch of whiners and wankers.

      • JustJessetr
        August 23, 2016, 9:07 am

        Universally disparaged except for Turkey who just reestablished diplomatic relations.

      • zaid
        August 23, 2016, 12:39 pm

        JustJessetr,

        Normalizing relations with Government is different than normalizing relations with the societies and the peoples of these countries.

        http://www.timesofisrael.com/turkey-detains-5-protesters-trying-to-enter-israeli-consulate/

      • JustJessetr
        August 23, 2016, 5:28 pm

        @Zaid

        Which is different from the tide of business deals made since 1948 between Israel and those countries who are supposed to be boycotting it.

        Arab and Muslim societies speak out of both sides of their mouth, just like anyone.

        Boycotting Israel is, and has been, useless at hurting Israel’s economy. And most importantly, hasn’t won a single right, morsel of food, or patch of land for a single Palestinian.

        Keep up that losing strategy!

      • Talkback
        August 24, 2016, 5:37 pm

        Justsetters: ‘Boycotting Israel is, and has been, useless at hurting Israel’s economy. And most importantly, hasn’t won a single right, morsel of food, or patch of land for a single Palestinian.

        Keep up that losing strategy!’

        Keep repeating Afrikaners’ losing arguments! LOL

      • DaBakr
        August 26, 2016, 12:07 am

        @g
        You can lol and try and slap any coat of paint on either of the Arab athletes who refused contact but when you take your special glasses off and look at the videos, read the universal contempt and listen to the booing you’ll remember where you stand I the world

  6. silamcuz
    August 21, 2016, 11:39 pm

    I was so overjoyed when I saw the handshake refusal on TV, though I wished the Israeli athlete was white rather than a fellow Middle Easterner because it would’ve framed the entire fiasco in a more historically accurate manner.

    Two things should come out of this brave expression of principles and nonconformity to injustice. Firstly, the common Israelis themselves would be stimulated to think and debate why would this happen, and possibly introspect on their role in perpetuating the injustice of Israel’s existence. Some with definitely resort to simplistic accusation on hatred and jealousy, but I’m certain the core of the debate will delve deeper into the issue. I’m certain the event even provoked the Israeli athlete himself to soul search and awaken to the bigger framework of oppression that is exploiting him like a puppet.

    Secondly, it delivers a potent message towards the rest of the world that Israel is not righteous and should never be tolerated by anyone with loyalties to humanity and justice. When people see respectable Olympic athlete engage in such a radical show of principles, it will stoke a primal sense of truth seeking among the masses, especially in the West. It will serve to open a window to reality for many who are trapped in the illusionary world of false sense of what is right and wrong, created by the patrons of Zionism and white supremacy.

    • -
      August 22, 2016, 4:44 am

      you wish he was white…?!! damm

      • silamcuz
        August 22, 2016, 12:07 pm

        Well, my reasoning is if the athlete had been a white Israeli, it would have sent a clearer message that this is a political conflict grounded on secular, materialistic issues. A visibly Middle Eastern man refusing to shake a visibly European man representing a country in the Middle East would have been more effective in arousing a particular angle of debate that is appropriate for this conflict. I.e. European settler-colonialism vs determined indigenous resistance.

        With two Middle Eastern-looking people, the picture send a much more different message, especially to those people with little background knowledge on the conflict. If these two physically look about the same, while representing the same region of the world, their beef must be due to something intrinsic like religion or ethnicity. And when this happens it only serve to bolster the Zionist narrative of the conflict.

        I realize this is unremarkably simplistic in thinking, but then again, the average person is not that knowledgable and easily influenced with provocative imagery as these.

      • echinococcus
        August 22, 2016, 5:30 pm

        Simba Cruz, aka Bulga_R, aka Catalano…. and even if it is not the same one it is, as the other guy said, his brother:

        A visibly Middle Eastern man refusing to shake a visibly European man representing a country in the Middle East would have been more effective in arousing a particular angle of debate that is appropriate for this conflict

        Kindly provide at good last an exact, reproducible and measurable description of “visibly Middle Eastern” and “visibly European” or put your racist yapping back where is was excreted from. Thank you.

    • catalan
      August 22, 2016, 9:01 pm

      Echo,
      Regarding whiteness, people always ask me whether I am German or Israeli; which is interesting because I am neither. Great discussion although I continue to believe that the Olympics should not be spoiled by political expression. It seems that intolerance already has a sufficient number of venues for its expression (social media, political rallies, etc).
      Treat people well because they rarely have any meaningful impact on the actions of government officials. Kindness.

      • echinococcus
        August 23, 2016, 12:30 am

        Bullsh|t.
        I asked for a precise description –that’s the least you can provide to substantiate your racist delirium if there were anything to substantiate.

        The boycott will not be effective before the Zionist entity Meistervolk people are shunned by all when they travel. Could shoulder and surly looks wherever they go, not only at the tourist destinations where their pushiness has forced the hoteliers to hang “No Israelis” signs.
        That is what will impress them –being shunned by their envied Europeans.
        They are the Zionist government, by the way.
        By over 90%, they think like you: they want “no spoiling by political expression “when they happen to face the business end of it.

      • kalithea
        August 24, 2016, 2:19 pm

        Treat people well because they rarely have any meaningful impact on the actions of government officials. Kindness.

        Even Nazi wannabes? The German people circa 1935 would agree with you.

      • Mr.T
        August 26, 2016, 1:10 pm

        “Treat people well because they rarely have any meaningful impact on the actions of government officials. ”

        Bull. The Israeli government policies are what they are because Israeli people vote for them. THEY are the ones responsible and every Israeli who votes for the Zionist parties and all of their supporters should be shunned, boycotted and treated like dirt until Palestinians have justice.

    • hophmi
      August 26, 2016, 1:41 pm

      “Secondly, it delivers a potent message towards the rest of the world that Israel is not righteous and should never be tolerated by anyone with loyalties to humanity and justice. ”

      Yeah, except that the message the rest of the world got is that athletes from Arab dictatorships are petty losers who care more about slighting Jews than fixing their own backward societies.

      • Mr.T
        August 29, 2016, 1:39 pm

        “Yeah, except that the message the rest of the world got is that athletes from Arab dictatorships are petty losers who care more about slighting Jews than fixing their own backward societies. ”

        Wow, you packed in at least 3 bigoted statements in this sentence. That must be a record for you, eh?

  7. Marnie
    August 22, 2016, 12:19 am

    This literally brings tears of joy to my eyes. Thank you Nada for this most excellent article.

    “Every flag that flew in that stadium ripped at Israel’s projection of normalcy and its paper-thin veneer of “democracy.” And the media carried the news around the globe, amplifying the gesture.”

    “israel” is great at the phony front, but not so much at details. Of course the zionist apologists will scream antisemitism, knowing full well it isn’t hatred of Jews driving BDS or the athlete who refused to ‘normalize’ the zionist state’s offering by shaking his hand.

    It takes courage to follow one’s convictions and do the right thing, as Islam El-Shehaby did last week and will be seen as a hero in Egypt, and I’m sure to a good many outside of Egypt. Ms. Gabby Douglas will continue to catch hell for following her convictions and will be called a traitor, a non-patriot and most likely told by the Trump-ettes that if she doesn’t love America she should leave the country. So much for the ‘greatest democracy’ in the world. How much easier it would have been for both of them to do what was expected of them, instead of what their conscience told them to do.

    Then there’s the irony of the bus debacle, which I’m quite sure was missed by every israeli and zionist apologist here on these pages. It was wonderful. It may open the eyes of some people when they find out that israel has a history of segregated bus lines, even among their so-called own people (mehadrin anyone?), separate roads, walls that are supposed to be fences, life in the fast lane and life in the Palestinian only lane, etc., etc.

    It’s ridiculous to assume that attending the Olympic games legitimizes and normalizes the zionist state, or any other 3rd world dictatorship or enterprise built on racism; nothing can do that because it’s not normal. It’s wrong. It’s immoral. And it must end. This Olympic season, people weren’t willing to play ‘let’s pretend israel is a democratic ‘place’ that treats all of it’s citizens the same, and doesn’t hold almost 2 million people captive. And it’s about damn time.

    As miracles do happen, maybe FIFA will gather its strength and collective balls and give israel the boot.

    • Annie Robbins
      August 22, 2016, 12:34 am

      great comment marnie! everything.

      • Citizen
        August 22, 2016, 7:42 am

        Yep

    • silamcuz
      August 22, 2016, 5:27 am

      It’s ridiculous to assume that attending the Olympic games legitimizes and normalizes the zionist state, or any other 3rd world dictatorship or enterprise built on racism; nothing can do that because it’s not normal. It’s wrong. It’s immoral. And it must end. This Olympic season, people weren’t willing to play ‘let’s pretend israel is a democratic ‘place’ that treats all of it’s citizens the same, and doesn’t hold almost 2 million people captive. And it’s about damn time.

      The Olympics is not as noble and positive as you are making it to be. Whilst I won’t argue that it legitimizes Zionism or 3rd world dictatorship, it does normalize structural inequalities in society that lead to huge disparities in a person’s success in life.

      How can a talented swimmer growing up in the inner cities lined with concrete and asphalt, attending a run-down school struggling for funding, who is black and is facing a lot of racism during a sensitive time of his or her life, grow up to compete with a privileged white person for the Olympic gold? With all of society’s built in system of oppression and inequality, how can we produce with fairness and merit the most qualified athlete to wear the honor of being an Olympian? We can’t and we shouldn’t even bother with such a meaningless, self-aggrandizing exercise in privilege.

      As the Games come to a close this time, the US managed to top the medal count once again. But for a wage-earning, average person of color like myself, what would this even mean?

      • CigarGod
        August 22, 2016, 9:19 am

        You understand the system well.
        I can tell you from my experience, tho…if you show up at one if the several testing locations around the country and do well, you will get track time…in my sport.
        Unfortunately, can, you pay for travel, housing, equipment, track time, etc?
        If you can figure that out and you do well, you can get free housing and track time at the OTC…if you can pay for the airfare.
        Once there, if you do well, you may get selected for a devo team. If so, you may get housing for the season at an OTC. Say you make the team in a few years…you will get housing, track time, and some gear. But you will pay your own way on lower tier tours. Sometimes, even World Cup athletes don’t get it all covered.
        On the bright side, my friend, google USA Olympic athletes. The amount of diversity on display will make you feel pretty good. We are doing something/some part of it…right.

      • silamcuz
        August 22, 2016, 9:57 am

        On the bright side, my friend, google USA Olympic athletes. The amount of diversity on display will make you feel pretty good. We are doing something/some part of it…right.

        I can’t really agree with you. Look, diversity is great and all, because representation is imperative for promoting sports for the next generation. But diversity shouldn’t be the end goal of Olympics, it should be presenting the cream of the cream of your people as a mark of great pride and honor. After all, there is only one gold medal and you wouldn’t want some mediocre white boy getting it just because our society is racist towards blacks. Actually, if I am being perfectly honest, that’s all I think when I see some white guy proudly showing off a medal in the news. I don’t share his happiness or pride at all, which I suppose goes against the spirit of the Olympic games, but I have to be honest.

        Anyone who wear the Olympic gold in theory are the absolute best, but again, how would this be even remotely possible given the grossly unequal state of our society in the most fundamental level? Societal inequality serve to exponentially magnify a person’s individual abilities in a open competition, therefore making it meaningless if the goal was to determine who is the best of the best.

        So let’s add up the pro and cons of Olympics. Pros is that it allows the dominant group with unearned privileges to show off “their” athletes, stroking their already inflated egos even further. It also allow marginalized people to destroy stereotypes and prejudices of their inferiority in the most direct, least disputable manner such as the grand display of black excellence in this year’s event.

        Cons include each Olympics costs billions to organize and run, often breed corruption or worsen it, produce huge ecological impact, arguably all negative, highly disruptive to lives of the poorer folks, it distracts people away from more pressing issues and promote a false sense of peoplehood or nationalism among the masses.

        I am certain the list of cons could be longer with a google search, but I think these are enough to get the point across.

      • CigarGod
        August 22, 2016, 10:53 am

        You are correct, the Olympics does not bring the best athletes of the world together. It’s stated ideal is to bring the best athletes of each country together.
        If it did, in some sports you’d have 100 Americans with better qualifying times than some smaller or more poorly funded nations.
        I know nations…and from the way tou talk, it sounds like you do, too…where an athlete (very loosely defined) decides he wants to be an Olympian. He gets his buddies together, talks to a friend of a friend with is an honorary consul…who is willing to be the head of a nations new NGB. Papers are filled, the team pays for training access somewhere and gets into the competition path that may lead to qualifying for the games. The athletes ir team may not be able to outrun a three legged dog, but is suddenlt carrying his nations flag into the stadium/opening ceremonies.
        Diversity as an Olympic goal?
        Probably not, but do you want to go back to the days of Jim McKays Wide World of Sports where you never saw a tan face? Where coaches discretion kept athletes out not matter how they performed.
        Yes, the system is still rigged…but every one of those athletes on the usa roster has a story of personal struggle to tell. They got there and stayed there because they never gave up. And luck, and the system, etc. But mostly they %[email protected]# earned it.

      • silamcuz
        August 22, 2016, 11:49 am

        CigarGod,

        Ultimately I do not want to be associated with athletes, no matter how talented or hard-working that I do not identify with. This could be due to anything, cultural similarities, religious outlook, political stance, race, ancestry and so on.

        I don’t want any of my tax money going to the training of those people I disassociate with as per above criteria. I don’t want to be told to share the excitement and pride of the accomplishment of these people. I don’t want publicly funded school lauding these folks to my children and I don’t want publicly-funded media to hammer into me how great these people are.

        Olympics for me has no meaning, because I do not identify with most of the athletes that I am supposed to, because we share a nationality which in this global age means absolutely nothing. As such, as an individual, I object to it and I believe it is well-within my rights to do so.

      • SallijaneG
        August 22, 2016, 12:35 pm

        I have found this year to be especially obvious about this; maybe it is just my growing awareness of inherent inequality in U.S. society, or maybe the “professionalization” of the Olympics is cutting out everyone else to a greater and greater degree. I don’t EVER remember so many multiOlympians—athletes who have been to 3, 4, 5 Olympics. Yes, there has always been the anomolies like the 41-year old Romanian gymnast, the Michael Phelps, the 58-year-old equestrian from Great Britain, but there have also been the “Eddie the Eagle”s. One of the reporters mentioned that in the 1970s, anyone could compete for the U.S.A. Olympic team; now it seems that coaches reach out to invite professionals (who stay in hotels, not the Olympic village). The Games have evolved, and in my opinion, not for the better.

      • CigarGod
        August 23, 2016, 9:22 am

        I’m interested in what kind of Olympics and athletes you would find acceptable.
        I tried to understand your post, but was unable to.

      • silamcuz
        August 25, 2016, 8:38 am

        I’m interested in what kind of Olympics and athletes you would find acceptable. I tried to understand your post, but was unable to.

        I think athletes should stop representing political establishments such as most modern nation-states as a start. Sports is a human activity, and therefore we should introduce a more human-centric representation to showcase sporting excellence based on ancestry and kinship, heritage, cultural and ethnic ties all of which transcends petty things like borders, political establishments and what passport you hold.

    • SallijaneG
      August 22, 2016, 12:42 pm

      “Ms. Gabby Douglas will continue to catch hell for following her convictions.”
      I have actually seen very little of that; a few complaints on social media, with replies in support, but not a big outcry. Before the Olympics, I saw an e-mail suggesting that the Black Lives Matter wanted black athletes to make political statements akin to the 1968 Games’ fist-raising. I saw other U.S. athletes without hands over heart (because I started to pay attention); outside of those few initial comments, it was pretty much a nonissue, judging by the coverage I saw.

      • MHughes976
        August 22, 2016, 3:57 pm

        Looking for information about Gabby D I find she has just now secured a place on the judging panel for Miss America.

    • hophmi
      August 26, 2016, 1:43 pm

      “It takes courage to follow one’s convictions and do the right thing, as Islam El-Shehaby did last week and will be seen as a hero in Egypt, and I’m sure to a good many outside of Egypt. ”

      Yes, what a hero! 80m Egyptians live in a brutal dictatorship that imprisons dissidents and kills people left and right, and did this loser protest any of that? No. He was jerk who refused to shake the hand of a Jew.

      And you Marnie, are standing up for the same brutal dictatorship that El-Shehaby is.

      • RoHa
        August 26, 2016, 4:36 pm

        He was a man who refused to shake the hand of an Israeli. But you want to make it about Jewishness.

        And what twisted reasoning leads you to say Marnie is standing up for the Egyptian dictatorship?

      • Keith
        August 26, 2016, 5:43 pm

        HOPHMI- “Yes, what a hero! 80m Egyptians live in a brutal dictatorship that imprisons dissidents and kills people left and right….”

        Yes, and is supported by the empire in which you live and by the country you love and support. The Middle East is a mess precisely because of the imperial policies of US/Israel.

        HOPHMI- “He was jerk who refused to shake the hand of a Jew.”

        An American Jew? Oh, you mean the Israeli was a Jew? Your dishonest spin yet another example of your lack of intellectual integrity. May you live in interesting times!

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2016, 6:54 pm

        “Yes, what a hero! 80m Egyptians live”

        “Hophmi”, you transposed a “0”. You meant ‘8 million Egyptians live…’

        No need to scare everybody by exaggerating the challenges Israel faces. 80 million Israelis can deal with a mere 8 million Egyptians.

      • hophmi
        August 27, 2016, 1:08 pm

        Mooser! Take your medicine!

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2016, 5:50 pm

        “Mooser! Take your medicine!”

        Why not straighten us all out on this, “Hophmi”? How many people are we talking about? How many in Israel (and age distribution might be nice) And how many are living over Israel’s self-declared lines? Or in occupied Jerusalem?
        So how many people exactly is all this over?

  8. -
    August 22, 2016, 4:38 am

    I support the BDS, but I think making such action by El-Shehaby without making a strong statement after, supporting the palestinians is useless, and mainly served the Israeli right wing government propaganda.
    The palestinians situation is urgent to be addressed and every possible call should be made, but this article simplify the middle east situation, cos some of the personal egyptian-Israeli boycott has nothing to do with the palestinians, but to the debate – why is Israel there at all, and as much as the colonialism in palestine and Nakaba should be mentioned, and are the root of the current situation, efforts must be made of highlighting the crimes made there now and not about a decision made in the UN for the founding of a jewish state and are been protest still against passive aggressively by arab countries. in my personal opinion it was a wrong call maybe , but the call against the country not in regarding of palestinians look suspicious sometimes and has to do also with the hall america-jewish -money mediterranean hate. also why are there other 20 countries there committing crimes against even their own citizens and not nothing is mentioned against. I think it highlights the passion of dealing with the Israeli-Palestinians, and not with others. I think the resistance should be more focused and also understand that eventually both palestinians israelis will have to learn to live together.

    • Mooser
      August 22, 2016, 1:44 pm

      Oh, this is great. Now we have a commenter with the user name “_”!!

      The user-name is a single underscore! Check its archive.

      • eljay
        August 22, 2016, 3:03 pm

        I shudder to think of the commotion that would result if a commenter were to join whose username was a comma…in the wrong place! 8-o

      • RoHa
        August 23, 2016, 4:02 am

        Eljay, the very thought is sufficient to give me an attack of the vapours.

      • Mooser
        August 23, 2016, 12:54 pm

        “I shudder to think of the commotion that would result if…”

        …there’s trouble, truncation, and bad data in the comment archives? Yes, there was quite a bit.

    • xanadou
      August 24, 2016, 6:01 pm

      Making a strong statement is, at this time, superfluously redundant. Whom and what Israel represents is no longer stewing under the carpet. Minimal, but clearly and widely understood number of gestures in the growing context of global disapproval are instantly recognized and together they constitute a loud and strong statement by many, not a single voice, anymore. It is the many who force change to happen.

    • Jackdaw
      August 25, 2016, 12:48 pm

      Yeah. Egypt treats the Palestinians very well. Starting with Gaza.

      • eljay
        August 25, 2016, 2:53 pm

        || Jackdaw: Yeah. Egypt treats the Palestinians very well. Starting with Gaza. ||

        You can always count on Zio-supremacists:
        – to promote and praise Israel as a “moral beacon”, a “Western-style democracy” and a “light unto the nations”; and
        – to defend Israel by comparing it to dictatorships, failed states and other countries they despise.

        Funny stuff. :-)

  9. Kay24
    August 22, 2016, 8:44 am

    Apparently Israel is pounding Gaza again in response to a rocket that did not damage anything or kill anyone. TIME FOR COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT AND USING PALESTINIANS AS LAB RATS FOR TESTING WEAPONS AGAIN.

    https://twitter.com/hashtag/GazaUnderAttack?src=hash

    NOT A PEEP FROM THE ZIONIST MEDIA IN THE US. If this is real, why is this not a major news event?

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/08/israeli-air-strikes-pound-gaza-rocket-attack-160821212419200.html

    • Teapot
      August 22, 2016, 10:14 am

      Unbelievable. I just spent over an hour reading up on today’s international news and I had no clue about this. What’s the threshold before Israel’s crimes become newsworthy? And here I was wondering how come Israel hadn’t yet taken advantage of everyone watching the Olympics. As disgusted as I am by Israel’s actions, I find the world’s insistence on looking the other way even more horrifying. Thank God for twitter.

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      August 22, 2016, 11:24 am

      It is real and mind boggling as the US and Germany remain complicit in another Holocaust, the Nakba. No it takes a different form but it is a deeply racist genocide, an ultra nationalist Zionist movement that has resulted in violence throughout the mideast and a rise of hatred against Jews.

      • Marnie
        August 22, 2016, 11:56 pm

        “No it takes a different form but it is a deeply racist genocide, an ultra nationalist Zionist movement that has resulted in violence throughout the mideast and a rise of hatred against Jews.”

        You’d think with their extreme dedication and diligence 24/7, that this is what their objective is.

        Talk about self-hating Jews!

    • Misterioso
      August 22, 2016, 2:12 pm

      While flying America’s newly developed F 35 jets that were gifted to Israel, Israeli pilots launched 70 missiles within twenty minutes at the defenseless inhabitants of the Gaza Strip.

      How can they live with themselves?

      • Mr.T
        August 22, 2016, 2:32 pm

        “How can they live with themselves?”

        It’s simple if you don’t have a scrap of human decency.

      • inbound39
        August 22, 2016, 4:06 pm

        State of the art weaponry gifted by America to commit genocide. Defenceless Gazan’s rightfully opposing an illegal occupation slaughtered by cowardly pilots.

      • Kay24
        August 22, 2016, 5:46 pm

        Oh, no wonder they pounced on that one rocket (that did not injure anyone) and bombed those poor people, because they must have received those shiny new F35 jets and were itching to use them, on defenseless civilians. We may never know that rocket might have been deliberately sent from some scumbag as per zionist instructions.
        After all, they cannot use them on their own people now can they?

        The US is complicit yet again on all these zionist crimes.

      • Kay24
        August 22, 2016, 5:51 pm

        When they have absolutely no compassion, easily break international laws, have greed to steal lands displacing millions, will lie and resort to violence easily, they can live with themselves. Being vicious is part of their nature. From Nutty Yahoo to the IDF soldier, we have seen it almost every day.

      • Boomer
        August 23, 2016, 9:27 am

        re: “How can [Israeli pilots] live with themselves?”

        I assume most of them rationalize it as a necessary part of the sacred mission of “building the Land of Israel.” Some are probably proud of themselves. Some are honored for their brave exploits in Israel.

        I have the same question about the U.S. politicians who enable this behavior, and the editors of U.S. mass media who let it go unreported. It is a question that arises from my heart. My head knows that most of these people are comfortable with their behavior. Some are pro-Israel partisans like the pilots, while the others are not so concerned as to be willing to risk their comfortable jobs.

    • inbound39
      August 22, 2016, 3:58 pm

      Yes Kay24….fifty strikes in Gaza for one rocket that hit nothing. Another stark example of Israeli overkill and an intent to commit genocide in Gaza. No media outcry. Proof that Zionism has gagged it. All we can do here is continue to be outspoken. Rattle the cage for all its worth and do our best to embarass those Governments that claim to stand for freedom. I am glad my father is not alive to see this. It is not what he or his generation fought for during WW2. To see a nation so close to what Germany in WW2 stood for being shielded by nations like America and UK is a dangerous precedent and given that taxpayers in both thos countries are worse off due to the billions their governments give to that nation to continue its genocide and suffering needs more that words like “deplorable”, “unhelpful”. History will look back on this like it did the Chamberlain speech. No politician in US or UK can hold their heads up. They have the capacity to stop Israel and its illegitimate policies now. They have the opportunity to honour those who gave their lives in WW2 in defence of freedom. Never again means never again yet they are helping it to unfold yet again. The World is being held to ransom and ridicule by a pip squeak nation called Israel.

      • Kay24
        August 22, 2016, 5:39 pm

        According to Haaretz:

        “Rocket Hits Israeli City of Sderot, on Gaza Border; IDF Responds With Airstrikes
        A local Gaza group that identifies with ISIS’s ideology claims responsibility for the rocket fire, which is seen as a challenge to Hamas in Gaza.
        read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.737859

        Israel kills first and never asks questions later.

    • Marnie
      August 22, 2016, 11:50 pm

      Massive bombing for shooting off a bottle rocket that did no harm.

  10. eljay
    August 22, 2016, 9:23 am

    Since Mr. El Shehaby chose to compete against Mr. Sasson, IMO he should have been courteous enough to bow properly after the match (a quick Google says he didn’t) and/or to shake his opponent’s hand.

    I wonder: Would he have acted in a more “sportsmanlike” fashion if he had defeated his Israeli opponent?

    • Mr.T
      August 22, 2016, 12:37 pm

      I disagree. Israelis — save those working for justice for Palestine — don’t deserve courtesy.

      • inbound39
        August 22, 2016, 4:02 pm

        A handshake is a mark of respect and a sign of friendship. Israel’s actions in Palestine garner neither. I have refused to shake hands with a number of people over the years for precisely that reason. I do not validate people who do not conduct themselves respectfully.

    • SallijaneG
      August 22, 2016, 12:38 pm

      I think I agree with you on the first part; the woman who refused to compete was more in spirit with the Games and still staying true to her principles.
      On your second statement, I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assumed that he would simply have walked away.

    • Froggy
      August 22, 2016, 12:59 pm

      Not everybody is a sell-out.

    • silamcuz
      August 24, 2016, 9:30 pm

      Eljay,

      You don’t get to decide how a person ultimately choose to exercise his political beliefs.

  11. genesto
    August 22, 2016, 12:27 pm

    “Around the world, the Palestinian flag—almost like the kuffiyeh—has taken on a dimension beyond nationalism to signify progressive politics, a collective stand against systemic violence, and anti-colonialism everywhere.” THIS, IMHO, is the most inspiring and important message to take from this excellent article.

    • ritzl
      August 22, 2016, 3:32 pm

      Agree genesto.

      Not only signify, but serve as a metric of progressive sincerity, honesty, and universality. If one doesn’t front or simply include Palestine in one’s progressive “palette,” one is an unprincipled gutless fraud, incapable of acting progressively on any issue.

      • genesto
        August 22, 2016, 5:49 pm

        Thanks, ritzl. As they say, ‘We are all Palestinians’.

  12. jd65
    August 22, 2016, 4:43 pm

    Great piece Nada :) Really… Important, thorough, timely, right-minded, and very readable. Just fantastic.

  13. jd65
    August 22, 2016, 4:51 pm

    Islam El-Shehaby is a hero. Good on him for his principled and courageous act of non-compliance.

    • lonely rico
      August 22, 2016, 9:00 pm

      > jd65
      Islam El-Shehaby is a hero. Good on him for his principled and courageous act of non-compliance.
      I second that in spades. El-Shebaby an honourable man, in solidarity with the Palestinians. Israeli abuse will increasingly incur a price, which will take many forms – personal, economic, academic, artistic, institutional &.
      It’s been a long time coming, far too long, but celebrate every small gesture for justice in peace in Palestine.

  14. yonah fredman
    August 22, 2016, 9:32 pm

    Clearly the only way to combine the attitude of the Olympics and bds, is to forfeit any match against an israeli. To compete with an Israeli and then refuse the handshake looks petty. Everyone in the choir approves , but to everyone outside the choir you look childish.

    • eljay
      August 23, 2016, 5:48 am

      || yonah fredman: Clearly the only way to combine the attitude of the Olympics and bds, is to forfeit any match against an israeli. To compete with an Israeli and then refuse the handshake looks petty. Everyone in the choir approves … ||

      Every Zio-supremacist desires and advocates Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine.

      Not everyone “in the [MW] choir” approves of Mr. El Shehaby’s decision.

      • silamcuz
        August 25, 2016, 8:30 am

        Not everyone “in the [MW] choir” approves of Mr. El Shehaby’s decision.

        No one, not even those most intimate with Mr. El Eshahaby has the right to disapprove or approve what essentially is an expression of his personal convictions towards the injustice that is Israel. Get over yourself with this approval bullshit.

    • Mr.T
      August 25, 2016, 12:03 pm

      “Clearly the only way to combine the attitude of the Olympics and bds, is to forfeit any match against an israeli. ”

      No, we should kick Israel out of the IOC.

    • jd65
      August 26, 2016, 11:12 am

      Hey yonah:

      Clearly the only way to combine the attitude of the Olympics and bds, is to forfeit any match against an israeli…

      Palestinians forfeiting any match w/ Israelis? From my observations over the last couple decades, it’s not average behavior for a Palestinian to back down (“forfeit”) from a match w/ an Israeli. Though, for some reason, Israel and its apologists still feel, and believe, the Palestinians should simply roll over and play dead. The Palestinians I’ve met and read about aren’t about to do that. And more power to them.

      Everyone in the choir approves , but to everyone outside the choir you look childish…

      I guess the next time I need to check and see if my opinion on something jives w/ “the choir” or the rest of the world, I’ll send you a query to check myself. I wouldn’t want to look childish…

  15. jsinton
    August 23, 2016, 3:33 pm

    If everyone had that kind of attention to human rights, I don’t believe it would be appropriate for anyone to shake the hands of anybody else. Let’s face it folks, there’s plenty of blood on the hands of all nations. We live in a socio-politico world of infinite shades of grey, some things much darker than others, but none are lily-white.

    The Olympics is one of the few places where all nations can compete on an equal playing field (in a perfect world) and remain friends later. Should we not encourage athletes to compete above the politics? Perhaps find common ground for once? How about saying “I shake your hand and compete with you as a human being in these Olympic games, but I protest the actions of your government.” What’s wrong with that?

    • jd65
      August 23, 2016, 6:30 pm

      If everyone had that kind of attention to human rights, I don’t believe it would be appropriate for anyone to shake the hands of anybody else. Let’s face it folks, there’s plenty of blood on the hands of all nations. We live in a socio-politico world of infinite shades of grey, some things much darker than others, but none are lily-white.

      Moral relativism gobbledygook. The usual Israel apologist gibberish.

      The Olympics is one of the few places where all nations can compete on an equal playing field (in a perfect world)…

      It’s not a perfect world (and you know it), so the playing field isn’t level (and you know it).

      Should we not encourage athletes to compete above the politics?

      No. We shouldn’t.

      How about saying “I shake your hand and compete with you as a human being in these Olympic games, but I protest the actions of your government.” What’s wrong with that?

      What’s wrong w/ that is that it appears from your comment that you think Islam El Shehaby shouldn’t be able to, or feel free to, express his protest as he sees fit. ie: To refuse to shake the hand of a competitor who is representing a country he feels is violating international law, rights, ethics, etc. It’s not your place to dictate to him how he protests.

      • mcohen.
        August 27, 2016, 5:45 pm

        jd65 says……no gobblethegook

        “Should we not encourage athletes to compete above the politics?”

        yes we can,it was fifa who sugg3sted that in the …… gaza football shot in the foot matter…..

        (note ellipses )

      • jd65
        August 28, 2016, 5:34 pm

        @ mcohen:

        jd65 says……no gobblethegook

        “Should we not encourage athletes to compete above the politics?”

        yes we can,it was fifa who sugg3sted that in the …… gaza football shot in the foot matter…..

        (note ellipses )

        Are you trying to say something? I certainly hope you’re not actually doing your best to get an actual point across.

    • Mr.T
      August 25, 2016, 12:09 pm

      “How about saying ‘I shake your hand and compete with you as a human being in these Olympic games, but I protest the actions of your government.'”

      Does this Israeli favor the acts of the Israeli government? Is he a Likud voter and therefore responsible for the horrors and terrorism inflicted on the Palestinians every second of every day?? Until we know that he is working for Palestinian freedom, he should not be treated other than as one who aids and abets Israeli war crimes.

      “What’s wrong with that?”

      It normalizes these people who should be shunned and branded otherwise. If he is not actively working to undermine Zionism and its evil fruit, his support and that of his fellow Israelis for that evil government is what makes the horrors inflicted on the Palestinians possible. He should not get a pass because we want to pretend in the myth that we are all one humanity, when the very people he represents are committing grievous and long-standing crimes against humanity itself.

    • hophmi
      August 26, 2016, 1:45 pm

      You’re in the wrong place, jsinton. These folks are violent, and they believe in pursuing conflict everywhere. Most of them are privileged Westerners who think that nonviolence means advocating violence for people elsewhere in the world.

      • Mr.T
        August 26, 2016, 3:44 pm

        “These folks are violent,”

        More lies from the prince of lies.

        “Most of them are privileged Westerners who think that nonviolence means advocating violence for people elsewhere in the world. ”

        The only one advocating violence is you and your fellows, who advocate for and defend the violence of the Apartheid state.

      • jd65
        August 26, 2016, 5:30 pm

        That doesn’t make sense. In fact, it is nonsense:

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2016, 7:04 pm

        ” These folks are violent, and they believe in pursuing conflict everywhere. Most of them are privileged Westerners who think that nonviolence means advocating violence for people elsewhere in the world.”

        Wow, “Hophmi”, it’s like you were right there with me when I formed my first opinions and drew my first conclusions about Zionism!

      • jd65
        August 27, 2016, 10:19 am

        @ Mooser:

        Wow, “Hophmi”, it’s like you were right there with me when I formed my first opinions and drew my first conclusions about Zionism!

        LOL. I thought the same thing when I read that. Not that I’m necessarily a fan of psychology, but it struck me as “projection” of the highest order.

        Or, as is often the case in my opinion, simply (and knowingly) accusing the victim of the violent, unethical, immoral behavior one commits himself/herself; which accusation can then come off as some sort of projection; which projection can then be spun as some sort “psychological trauma;” which trauma can then be spun as the reason for one’s own violent behavior, thus deflecting blame under cover of some quasi unavoidable mental condition (oh, wait, lemme see… The Holocaust Trauma Gene!). Par for course, I guess…

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2016, 11:48 am

        “thus deflecting blame under cover of some quasi unavoidable mental condition “

        I think it’s called “the terror of history”. I think we all have some.

      • hophmi
        August 27, 2016, 1:10 pm

        If you’re opposed to violence, then you can condemn Hamas and the Egyptian junta which Islam El-Shehaby represented at the Olympics.

      • jd65
        August 27, 2016, 6:20 pm

        @ hophmi:

        If you’re opposed to violence…

        Define violence. This question/request is not an evasion. And I would suggest that if one answers that it’s a dumb question, or that “Everyone knows what violence is. Why would you ask that?,” that person would either be a simplistic thinker, uneducated in the ideas and realities of occupation/resistance/war, or that they simply pretend to be simple minded to be able to serve their ideological perspective. How do you define violence? In one context, can a particular action considered “violent”, while in another context that same action would not be considered violent? Or violent to a much lesser degree? Are these questions not what you wanted in reply to your transparently simplistic post? Do these questions make you angry, wanting to become violent by smashing in your computer screen?

        …then you can condemn Hamas…

        How wonderfully simplistic and reductive of you. “Condemn Hamas.” Is this like how we should all condemn The United States of America? Or we should all condemn Islam? Or maybe we should all condemn Christianity? Oh, wait… Let’s all condemn Men. Yeah, that’s a good one. gain, you are as transparent as the day is lone. And exceptionally easy to expose.

        …then you can condemn… the Egyptian junta which Islam El-Shehaby represented at the Olympics.

        I no basically nothing about the “Egyptian junta” of which you speak. But don’t worry. You’ll soon enough make the leap that since I don’t much about that situation, I shouldn’t be speaking out against Israel’s policies and crimes. Enjoy…

      • Mr.T
        August 29, 2016, 1:29 pm

        “If you’re opposed to violence, then you can condemn Hamas and the Egyptian junta which Islam El-Shehaby represented at the Olympics.”

        Prince of lies, I will happily condemn the Egyptian junta, which took power no doubt at the behest of the American/Israelis, as the former government was more favorable to the opinions of the people of Egypt, who are clearly against the racist occupiers of Palestine.

        As for Hamas, I will happily condemn much of their actions, especially intra-Palestinian actions, but not their use of force against the Israeli enemy. One can be opposed to violence, but still accept that the Palestinians have a right to self-defense, especially against a people as mindlessly and inhumanely violent as those who run JSIL. When the Israelis stop acting as aggressive barbarians, and put down their weapons, I would condemn any Palestinian who doesn’t reciprocate.

        But all this is nonsense, as you’re a fan of violence; in fact, you’d happily swim in it, so long as the state you favor is the one being violent. So, you’re both the prince of lies and the prince of hypocrisy.

  16. catalan
    August 24, 2016, 7:26 pm

    out of hell and into the real world of equality, fraternity and liberty to exist with harm to none. – Xanadou
    Wow I must live in an alternate reality. This stuff you describe is nothing like the world you inhabit. Good for you, I am honestly jealous. Fraternity…

  17. Shingo
    August 25, 2016, 8:23 am

    I must admit I found this sad. As much as I support BDS and hate Israel’s policies, it is so unfortunate that it comes down to this where human beings cannot be gracious and civil to one another.

    Of course, I would like to ask that Egyptian if he was dumb enough to participate in the overthrow of Morsi and return Egypt to a Saudi/US puppet dictatorship.

    • Mr.T
      August 25, 2016, 12:11 pm

      “where human beings cannot be gracious and civil to one another. ”

      I’d rather that the Israeli Jews be gracious and civil (and just) to all of the Palestinians in Palestine. When that occurs, then hands of friendship should be extended, and not one second sooner.

  18. ritzl
    August 28, 2016, 6:53 pm

    Colin Kaepernick, a starting NFL quarterback sat down during the national anthem to protest racism in the US.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/08/27/491636683/49ers-quarterback-sits-out-national-anthem-to-protest-oppression-of-minorities

    Good on him.

    • ritzl
      August 28, 2016, 7:21 pm

      OT now, but I never knew this:

      https://theintercept.com/2016/08/28/colin-kaepernick-is-righter-than-you-know-the-national-anthem-is-a-celebration-of-slavery/

      “Almost no one seems to be aware that even if the U.S. were a perfect country today it would be bizarre to expect African American players to stand for the Star Spangled Banner. Why? Because it literally celebrates the murder of African Americans.

      Few people know this because we only ever sing the first verse. But read the end of the third verse and you’ll see why the Star Spangled Banner is not just a musical atrocity, it’s an intellectual and moral one, too:

      No refuge could save the hireling and slave
      From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
      And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
      O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

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