The Rio Olympics have started off with a blatant act of antisemitism and political opportunism by Lebanese athletes who blocked the Israel delegation’s access to the bus. Who will raise their voice against this racism targeting Jewish athletes? Who will protest the Lebanese delegation for this display of hatred? Will Olympic officials send the offenders home? Will there be open and sincere support for the Jewish athletes and staff? Why were the Jews forced to take another bus…why were the offending Lebanese not removed from the bus?
How these questions are answered and how this all plays out on the Olympic and world stage will speak volumes about modern antisemitism and its politicization. Many principled Arab people would oppose such antisemitic hatred, so why be silent when others from their ranks turn to words and acts of hate?!
Several steps must be decisively taken immediately to demonstrate credibly of the International Olympic Committee, media outlets, and national leadership.
- IOC officials must discipline the Lebanese delegation and/or send them home. They must send a clear message of zero tolerance for this behaviour, which is so damning to stated Olympic ideals.
- World media must report and unconditionally oppose such activity, without placing blame on Israel.
- IOC officials must publicly offer apology and stand openly with Israel and the Jewish athletes, while sending a strong message to Israel’s haters. This racist, hateful action would not be tolerated against any other nation, so why Israel?
- Nations must raise their voice in public support for Israel and the Jewish athletes and staff. Anything less equals complicit silence and adds to already pervasive antisemitism.
In light of the realities of Islamist terrorist regimes and their supporters, every effort must be made to protect the Jewish athletes from terrorism and evil intent, and to oppose their haters. There can be no repeat of the 1972 Munich Olympics!
As a Canadian, I await our Prime Minister’s and media’s leadership and support for Israel and the Jewish athletes, with clear, unfiltered condemnation of the offending nation’s actions.