How can this be, you ask?
The Lebanese team refused to travel in the same bus as Team Israel and with its coach going so far as to physically prevent any Israelis from entering and contaminating the bus with their presence.
A Saudi Judoka forfeited a match in order to avoid competing against an Israeli later on.
Egyptian Judoka Islam el-Shahaby, after losing to Israeli Or Sasson, refused bow or shake his hand (he was eventually forced back into the ring to bow).
What’s more, this is not even close to the first time that Arab and Muslim athletes and celebrities have discriminated against Israelis. Whether it is preventing Israeli sailing teams from competing in races that determine positioning for major international competitions, a Syrian boxer, actually claiming that he couldn’t compete against Israelis since “they kill Syrians” while his own government murders hundreds of thousands of Syrians itself, or even claiming that a selfie with a fellow Israeli beauty pageant contestant was an “illegal photobomb,” as long as there has been an Israel (well actually even before then), there were Arabs and Muslims who went to extreme lengths to discriminate against it. And that isn’t even counting when Palestinian terrorists, financed by
If all of this is going on, how exactly is no Arab-Israel conflict?
It’s simple: if there is a conflict, there are two opposing sides with opposing goals. Such a conflict requires mutual hatred and rejection.
If this is actually a conflict, where are the Israeli athletes discriminating against Arabs in international competitions? Where are the MKs condemning Israeli athletes who compete against Arabs traitors? Where is the outrage in Israeli media or society when Israeli beauty queens take pictures with the “Arab enemy?”
There is none.
Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse put it perfectly in the J Street Challenge:
“There is no such thing as an Arab-Israel conflict, there is an Arab war against Israel, there is an Arab war against the Jewish people’s right to a state.”
Israeli athletes have made it clear they don’t want to fight, they just want to compete like everyone else and don’t have any problem with Arab athletes. Israeli politicians, from the far right to the far left have never said a word against Israeli athletes or celebrities interacting or “normalizing relations” with Arabs and, more importantly, going back as far as 1937, the Zionist leadership has accepted every peace deal put on the table that would have created or allowed the Jewish State to exist.
At Rio in 2016, we saw the Arab War on Israel on full display in stark contrast to the literal Israeli hand extended in peace. So, please world, stop pretending as though this is some kind of conflict or cycle or insurmountable problem that “both sides” refuse to fix.