This week Israel’s judo team was harassed and discriminated against by UAE officials when they tried to board a flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul, en route to Abu Dhabi to participate in the Judo Grand Slam competition.
Apropos of nothing, UAE told the Israelis they would only be permitted to enter the UAE from Amman. And once they finally arrived at the competition, they were prohibited from competing under their national flag. Lowlights of the UAE’s shameful bigotry included the forcing Tal Flicker to receive his gold medal under the international Judo association’s flag with the association’s theme song, rather than Israel’s national anthem playing in the background and the sight of a Moroccan female judoka literally running away from her Israeli opponent rather than shake hands with her.
The discrimination that Israel’s judokas suffered is newsworthy because it’s appalling, not because it is rare. It isn’t rare. Israeli athletes and performers, professors, students and tourists in countries throughout the world are regularly discriminated against for being Israeli Jews. Concerts are picketed or canceled. Israelis are denied educational opportunities and teaching positions.
Israeli brands are boycotted and Israeli shops are picketed from Montreal to Brooklyn to Johannesburg.
The simple act of purchasing Israeli cucumbers has become a political statement in countries around the world.
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