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Major bike race will kick off in Jerusalem Friday even as snipers line up on Gaza border

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For the first time in its 101-year history, the second most important pro cycling race in the world, the Giro d’Italia, will be starting outside of Europe.  You would think this would be hailed as an auspicious sign that traditional European-based pro cycling is becoming more inclusive, more international, more welcoming.  Unfortunately, we have good news/bad news scenario…. The bad news is that the race will be starting in Jerusalem this Friday, May 4th.    Yes, the Jerusalem that is the seat of the self-avowed Jewish state that is currently every Friday killing and wounding people in Gaza who have the temerity to protest their being held, against all international law, in an open air prison.

We can on the same Friday now look forward to the spectacle of the start of an international sporting event  hosted by the same country that about 50 miles away is concurrently killing and wounding civilians in cold blood.  Imagine if at the time of the Soweto uprising (protests led by South African black school children with at least 176 being killed) there was an international rugby event occurring.

And wait, there’s more!  Undermining any pretense that sports are apolitical, RCS, the sport corporation running the Giro, made the casual mistake of saying the starting race will occur in “west Jerusalem.”  Oopsy, whether intended or not, this caused a major dust up, the Israeli government wasn’t having it and insisted that the race would start in “Jerusalem”, per se, or Israeli government money would be withdrawn. (You see, for Israel, it’s only political – particularly trying to normalize its image as a “European” civilized country).

At this point, if you don’t know much about pro-cycling, the one thing you should know – it’s all about the money.  Israel paid RCS to start the race in Israel. RCS and cycling’s governing body, the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale), were not going to forego something like 12 million dollars because of silly international law stuff, so united Jerusalem it is!  So much for the sports-is-not-political canard/fig leaf. Stephanie Adams at PACBI (the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) told Velonews that the race is little more than an effort by Israel to “whitewash (sports wash) its brutal military occupation and apartheid regime.”

To give you further insight into the “high” standards of the pro-cycling,  this hot mess is made even worse by the fact that the king of pro cycling stage races, Chris Froome, is under a cloud for having tested positive last year for a performance-enhancing drug. His majesty will most likely be on the starting line in Jerusalem.

Chris Froome, in official Giro photo.

To recap, we have a deeply racist US supported settler colonial state in cahoots with a deeply corrupt international sporting federation (whose leading athlete/standard bearer is under suspicion of doping) to further their respective craven interests.

This sporting event, perhaps the biggest international event to ever occur in Israel, will be starting on the same day that large non-violent Palestinian protests will most likely be met with deadly force.  Stay tuned, tomorrow will allow the world to focus on a festive pro cycling event set against cold-blooded state murder committed against a wholly incarcerated people. This train wreck of a day may actually yield some positives: The horror and impunity of Israeli behavior will be on offer for all the world to see, reporters will be everywhere and it may help ramp up BDS actions.

At this point, there have been protests across Europe and there may be more in store as the race proceeds, from Israel to Italy in three days’ time.

The second and third stages of the race are shown below. The first stage, at top, is a time trial in West Jerusalem.

 

Second stage of Giro, in Israel. May 5, 2018.

 

Stage 3 of Giro, from Be’ersheba to Eilat, Israel. May 6, 2018.

 

About Rob Lipton

Rob Lipton is a long time member of Jewish Voice for Peace, wrote for JVP's Muzzlewatch, was an ISM participant, and was the LA director of FAIR during the first Gulf War. He is Poet Laureate of Richmond, CA and a spatial epidemiologist.

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20 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson
    May 3, 2018, 5:24 pm

    Hey y’all, I’ve been thinkin’.
    Do y’all remember those “monoliths” in the film “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), and how they could single-handedly make or break whole civilizations?
    Well, the reason I asked y’all is because it seems that more and more people are beginning to attribute similar capabilities to this modern-day “monolith” (of sorts)!
    I wonder how it would fare in the Giro d’Italia beginning this Friday. Probably not very well, I’m guessing. At least, not without some really good ‘doping’!
    Well, I hate to ‘opine and run’ y’all, but it’s time for me to get back to more of my really serious thinkin’.
    No tellin’ what I might come up with, y’all.

    • JLewisDickerson
      May 4, 2018, 12:24 pm

    • JLewisDickerson
      May 4, 2018, 12:28 pm

      P.S. SEE:
      “Israel threatens Giro d’Italia protesters”
      by Ali Abunimah | ElectronicIntifada.net | 4 May 2018

      [EXCERPT] Israeli police are calling Palestinian activists in Israel and threatening them should they protest against the first stage of the Giro d’Italia bicycle race that started in Jerusalem on Friday.

      The threats were revealed by PACBI – the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel – which tweeted that “activists will hold Giro d’Italia responsible if anything happens to them.”

      Israeli authorities have boasted that their full repressive apparatus, developed over decades to enforce military occupation and other restrictions on Palestinians, was being deployed to secure the race against protests . . .

      LINK ➤ https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israel-threatens-giro-ditalia-protesters

  2. Nathan
    May 4, 2018, 5:34 am

    Rob Lipton – One has to learn that in every struggle there are up’s and down’s. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Here and there an artist decides to cancel an appearance in Israel (and the anti-Israel people are on cloud nine), but here and there an artist insists on performing in Israel (and the anti-Israel crowd seems to be baffled that such a thing is possible). This time around, you’re having one of the down’s in your struggle. That’s life.

    It’s really a sad situation that every Friday people lose their life on the Gaza-Israel border. I have a revolutionary idea that might be helpful. Maybe we should suggest to our Palestinian friends that they demonstrate elsewhere. Maybe it’s not too clear to them that demonstrating on the border is simply not worth it. Those who really care about the Palestinians should point out to them that things are not working out as planned. Sometimes, I wonder if anyone really cares about the Palestinians at all, because no one is willing to give them a bit of criticism.

    Speaking of criticism, the new idea of sending kites over the border to burn the wheat fields in Israel is also not worth it. So far, it seems “successful” because all the damage is in Israel. However, just as Israel doesn’t agree that people approach the fence, she also doesn’t agree that fire bombs come dropping down from the sky. My suggestion to the Palestinians is to come up with some new thinking. For example, they might want to consider ending the conflict. It’s a very simple idea, but sometimes the simplest idea is the best one.

    • RoHa
      May 4, 2018, 9:30 pm

      “they might want to consider ending the conflict.”

      How?

    • Emory Riddle
      May 5, 2018, 7:58 am

      “It’s really a sad situation that every Friday people lose their life on the Gaza-Israel border.”

      You ought to write for the NY Times.

      Any idea how it is that all these thousands of people are being killed and maimed on the border?

    • Emory Riddle
      May 5, 2018, 8:02 am

      Hey. I found out how it is all those folks are losing their live.

      GAZA BORDER (Reuters) – Israeli troops fired live rounds and tear gas at Palestinians who thronged the Gaza-Israel frontier and rampaged at a border terminal on Friday as part of a long-running protest, injuring about 1,100 people.

      Medics said around 82 people were shot and wounded with live fire, another 800 treated for gas inhalation and the rest for other injuries along the Gaza side of the 25-mile (40-km) border fence, where Palestinians set up tent encampments on March 30 for what they call “The Great March of Return”.

      Youths rolled burning tyres to within 300 metres (yards) of the fence, trying to use the smoke as cover for throwing stones across it while eluding Israeli snipers. Army gunfire has killed at least 43 Palestinians on the frontier over the last month.

      • gamal
        May 5, 2018, 9:09 am

        “Israeli troops fired live rounds”

        I see some people after the success of American Sniper are suggesting now would be the time to make Israeli Sniper: the world is target rich.

  3. Misterioso
    May 4, 2018, 10:10 am

    @Nathan

    “For example, they might want to consider ending the conflict. It’s a very simple idea, but sometimes the simplest idea is the best one.”

    Reality:

    In 1988, the PLO recognized Israel as a sovereign state within the borders of the 1947 recommendatory only UNGA Partition Plan, Res. 181.

    By signing the 1993 Oslo Accords, the PLO accepted UNSC Res. 242 and thereby agreed to recognize a sovereign Israel within the 1949 armistice lines, i.e., as of 4 June 1967 – 78% of mandated Palestine.

    The PLO also agreed to the US/EU/UN supported 2002 Arab League Beirut Summit Peace Initiative, which offers Israel full recognition as a sovereign state (per UNSC Res. 242, i.e., within its June 4/67 boundaries with possible minor, equal and mutually agreed land swaps), exchange of ambassadors, trade, tourism, etc., if Israel complies with international law (e.g., the UN Charter, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute.) Fully aware of Israel’s demographic concerns, the Beirut initiative does not demand the return of all Palestinian refugees. In accordance with Israel’s pledge given to the UNGA in 1949 and by signing the 1949 Lausanne Peace Conference Protocol to abide by UNGA Res. 194 regarding the then 800,000 Palestinian refugees as a precondition for admittance to the UN (after being rejected twice), the Arab League’s Initiative “calls upon Israel to affirm” that it agrees to help pursue the “achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem…”

    In all likelihood, only a small percentage of Palestinian refugees would choose to return to what is now Israel, i.e., west of the green line. The reason should be obvious., i.e., the vast majority would not want to live in an apartheid state. in accordance with UNGA Resolution 194, they would choose sufficient financial compensation to enable them to build new lives and invest in an independent Palestinian state based on the 4 June 1967 borders or emigrate elsewhere.

    Along with all Arab states and the PLO, Hezbollah and Iran have also accepted the Arab League’s 2002 Beirut Summit Peace Initiative. Regrettably, then Israeli PM Ariel Sharon summarily dismissed the Arab League’s peace overture, as did Israel in 2008 and thereafter.

    Re: Hamas:
    On 16 June 2009, after meeting with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Ismail Haniya, prime minister of Hamas’s Gaza Strip government, announced that “If there is a real plan to resolve the Palestinian question on the basis of the creation of a Palestinian state within the borders of June 4, 1967 [i.e. 22% of historic Palestine as per 1949 armistice agreements] and with full sovereignty, we are in favour of it.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/isra…
    “‘We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees,’ Haniyeh said, referring to the year of Middle East war in which Israel captured East Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories. ” (Haaretz, December 1, 2010)

    In its revised Charter, April, 2017, Hamas again agreed to a Palestinian state based on the 4 June 1967 borders. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Israel promptly rejected the Hamas overture instead of using it to open a dialogue.

    https://www.haaretz.com/isr
    “Senior Hamas Official: ‘I Think We Can All Live Here in This Land – Muslims, Christians and Jews.’” By Nir Gontarz. March 28, 2018, Haaretz.

    For the record, other peace initiatives that Israeli governments have rebuffed include: U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers’ The Rogers Plan (1969); The Scranton Mission on behalf of President Nixon (1970); Egyptian President Sadat’s land for peace and mutual recognition proposal (1971); U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s call for a Geneva international conference (1977); Saudi Arabian King Fahd’s peace offer (1981); U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s Reagan Plan (1982); U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz’s Schultz Plan (1988); U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s Baker Plan (1989); and the previously noted 1993 Oslo accords signed by Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that unravelled following the latter’s assassination and subsequent return to power of the Likud party from 1996-1999 under Benjamin Netanyahu; continuation of the Taba II negotiations (2001); the unofficial Geneva Peace Initiative of November/December 2003; and the 2014 Kerry Initiative.

    Also:
    As for the much touted 2000 Camp David Summit, working in tandem, Barak and Clinton tried to shove a very bad deal down Arafat’s throat. It could only be rejected. Suffice to quote Shlomo Ben-Ami, then Israel’s foreign minister and lead negotiator at Camp David: “Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well.” (National Public Radio, 14 February 2006.)

    The “offer” made in 2008 by then Israeli PM Ehud Olmert was never seen as serious because it lacked cabinet approval, he was under indictment with only a few weeks left in office, had a 6% favorable rating, and, therefore, couldn’t have closed the deal, even if the Palestinians had accepted it. (Olmert was imprisoned.)

    Unfortunately, Israel’s response to every peace overture from the Palestinians and Arab states, has been an escalation of illegal settlement construction, dispossession and oppression in occupied Palestinian and other Arab lands.

    As for Netanyahu and the Likud party, here’s a brief summation of their positions that are contrary to international law and explain why the conflict continues:
    The Likud Party Platform:
    a. “The Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel.”
    b. “Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem”
    c. “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”
    d. “…. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”

    • Nathan
      May 4, 2018, 9:02 pm

      Misterioso – I take my hat off to you that you have the time and patience to put together all those quotes and references. Really. However, despite all your admirable hard work, still, there is no intention to end the conflict with Israel. I, personally, think that the best option for the Palestinians would be to end the conflict with Israel, however they see things differently. They interpret “end of conflict” as “defeat”, and that’s not an option for them. Also the supporters of the Palestinians don’t envision an end of conflict with Israel (well, their motivation is actually the hatred of Israel, and not really the support of Palestinians).

      • eljay
        May 4, 2018, 10:42 pm

        || Nathan: … despite all your admirable hard work, still, there is no intention to end the conflict with Israel. … ||

        Yeah, it’s funny how those uppity bitches chained in the basement refuse to end the conflict with the rapist, lie back and enjoy the ride.

        || … the supporters of the Palestinians don’t envision an end of conflict with Israel (well, their motivation is actually the hatred of Israel, and not really the support of Palestinians). ||

        I support the Palestinians and I envision an end of conflict with Israel. My vision involves justice, accountability and equality across two secular and democratic states of and for their respective citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally.

        Zionists – motivated by hatred of justice, accountability and equality when it pertains to their supremacist selves, ideology and state – prefer a vision that:
        – allows Israel to remain a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”;
        – allows Israel to keep as much as possible of what it has stolen, occupied and colonized;
        – absolves Israel of its obligations under international law (incl. RoR); and
        – absolves Israel of responsibility and accountability for its past and on-going (war) crimes.

      • Keith
        May 5, 2018, 12:48 am

        NATHAN- “I, personally, think that the best option for the Palestinians would be to end the conflict with Israel….”

        You take your hat off to Misterioso then ignore everything he says. Israel is overwhelmingly powerful compared to the Palestinians and could easily end the conflict by abiding with international law. The first step would be to stop killing/maiming/poisoning the Gazans and end the illegal, immoral and inhumane blockade of Gaza. But, for a variety of reasons, Israel seeks to prolong the conflict and expand greater Israel.

      • Keith
        May 5, 2018, 12:56 am

        NATHAN- “(well, their motivation is actually the hatred of Israel, and not really the support of Palestinians).”

        No, this is your anti-Gentilism manifesting itself by projecting onto others the hatred you feel towards non-Jews in general and Palestinians in particular. With the defeat of Nazi Germany, Israel is the last Blood and Soil nation in existence. Why are you so opposed to equal rights for all citizens?

  4. Jackdaw
    May 6, 2018, 12:40 am

    How dare the evil Zionists try to act like normal people and host a bike race!

    I’m outraged!

    • eljay
      May 6, 2018, 8:48 am

      || Jackdaw: How dare the evil Zionists try to act like normal people and host a bike race! … ||

      That’s right: When the evil Nazis tried to act like normal people they got to host an Olympic Games, and since we all know that evil Zionists aren’t as bad as evil Nazis there’s no reason they shouldn’t try to act like normal people and get to host a bike race.

      • Jackdaw
        May 6, 2018, 1:54 pm

        @eljay

        The Nazis weren’t trying to act like normal people, they were using the 1936 Olympics to champion Nazism, Germany as the master race.

        This distinction is lost on a [email protected]# like you.

      • eljay
        May 6, 2018, 2:59 pm

        || Jackdaw: … This distinction is lost on a [email protected]# like you. ||

        But the similarities are lost on a “Jewish State” / “Jewish people” / “Land of Israel” / Jewish supremacist (Zionist) twit like you.

        I am amused.  :-)

        Konrad Lorenz weeps…again.  :-(

  5. jon s
    May 6, 2018, 10:30 am

    I don’t usually follow cycling , but today the Giro kicked off from here in Beersheva and, as I write, is approaching Eilat. So there’s been a lot of excitement ( “Giromania”?). It’s a wonderfully photogenic event, and , so far, free of major foul-ups.
    It should be emphasized that one man is mainly responsible for bringing the Giro to Israel : I understand that Mr. Sylvan Adams paid for it with his own money:

    • eljay
      May 6, 2018, 12:22 pm

      || jon s: I don’t usually follow cycling , but today the Giro kicked off from here in Beersheva and, as I write, is approaching Eilat. So there’s been a lot of excitement ( “Giromania”?). … ||

      Ah, the banality of it all.

      • Mooser
        May 6, 2018, 2:15 pm

        “the Giro kicked off from here in Beersheva” “Jon s”

        What a felicitous turn of phrase!

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