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In Rio, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia Lose Olympic Spirit over Israel

Olympic flag being raised at 2016 Rio Games (Photo: US Army)

As the 2016 Rio Olympics have gotten under way, we who stand for Israel were appalled at reports of the Lebanese team keeping the Israeli team from sharing a bus to the opening ceremony. In the meantime, other instances of anti-Israel sentiment have occurred, prompting JNS' Sean Savage to lament the lack of Olympic spirit being shown by some of the Jewish state's neighbors and supposedly "friendly" competitors:

More than 11,000 world athletes have converged on Brazil’s second largest city, Rio de Janeiro, for the 2016 Summer Olympics, which began on Aug. 5. Despite the problems that led up to the games, such as Rio’s issues with pollution and crime, and the threat of the Zika virus, many have also hailed the games as bringing forth an Olympic spirit of peace and friendly competition during a time of global stress and conflict.

Yet, before and shortly after the games began, athlete delegations from Lebanon and Saudi Arabia had already violated this spirit by bringing their respective countries’ ongoing conflict with Israel to the Rio games.

On Aug. 5, the Lebanese delegation to the games refused to share a bus meant to take the athletes to the opening ceremony with the Israeli team, which had been designated to share the bus with them. Subsequently on Aug. 7, Saudi Arabian judoka Joud Fahmy forfeited her first-round match against Christianne Legentil from Mauritius. According to the Saudi Olympic team, Fahmy had sustained injuries to her arm and leg during training and was advised not to compete. However, Israeli media has reported that Fahmy dropped out to avoid competing against Israeli judo fighter Gili Cohen in the next round.

“The Lebanese behavior is not surprising; this is the norm and there are few if no exceptions o boycotting Israel and Israelis,” Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, told JNS.org, while “the Saudi action is more interesting..."

Tags: Anti-Israel Bias

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