Sheldon Paul Stone
Sheldon Paul Stone
A bit more Chesed wouldn't hurt!

Olympics 2036 BCE to be held in…the twin cities of Sodom & Gomorrah

Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Hong Kongers plus friends
Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Hong Kongers plus friends

“Semite Rights” condemns decision; Melchizedek International calls for Boycott; Mesopotamia Economic Union threaten trade.

Today in the City of Ur, in Sumeria, it was announced that the Olympic Games 2036 (BCE) would be jointly hosted by the Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Civil groups and politicians reacted with fury. ‘Semite Rights’ condemned the decision as “Sports-washing the abuse of Semitic peoples’ basic rights?” ‘Melchizedek International’ called for countries to boycott the Games. The ‘Mesopotamian Economic Union’ announced it would delay their new trade deal with the cities, “until such abuses stop”

—Chief Sports correspondent, Times of Sumeria

Now I know that none of that happened but the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in last week’s Torah reading, although a strange one, has unusual relevance  now. The plain  text describes how the two cities are destroyed, for what seems to be an extreme hatred of outsiders, that even extended to routine rape (Bereshit 19:1-3).

If that isn’t weird enough for you, wait until you read the Midrashic (allegorical) commentaries! These name the City judges, who order special ‘torture beds’ to be designed for strangers, ‘Liar’, ‘Arch-Deceiver’, ‘Falsifier’ and ‘Perverter of Judgment.’ They describe ‘revolting orgies,’ death by starvation, slave labour, and forced marriage of women to men who had deliberately caused them to miscarry. And that’s just a shortlist! (1)

Nachmanides’ commentary (13th Century, Spain) does not run so riot. He notes “all evil practices were rampant,” contrasting this with accepted standards elsewhere. He attributes hatred of outsiders, to the cities wanting to be sole exploiters of the “excellence of their land.” (2)

The late Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (3), sums up Sodom and Gomorrah as places where strangers and their different way of life were not tolerated, with “a lack of basic rights to which outsiders could appeal.”

However, the similarities to what the Rabbis thought those cities did, and what China, host of the 2022 Winter Games, does in the Genocide taking place in the Uygur region and elsewhere today, are uncanny.

For hatred of the outsider, we can substitute ‘accusing minorities of extremism and separatism’. The routine rape of Bereshit is now a daily reality for  Uyghur women  in camps, where the “Torture Bed” has been replaced by the “Tiger Chair”. The Liar, Arch-Deceiver and Falsifier of the Midrash live on in the China’s vehement denials and the use in business and diplomacy of the 36 Stratagems of Deception.  The “Perverter of Judgment,” now sentences Uyghurs to internment for acts as simple as using WhatsApp, calling family abroad, growing a beard, or appearing to pray. The Midrash’s  “revolting orgies” are now the gang rapes of  men and women by guards and prisoners in camps, where starvation and Slave Labour is widespread.  Forced marriage continues., with Uyghur women promised to Han Communist Party men. “Intentional miscarriage” exists as a state programme of forced abortion,  whilst the Chinese Government exploit “the excellence of the land” in the coal, cotton and gas rich Uyghur region.

So, what choices face our modern-day equivalent of Semite Rights? Melchizedek (4) Watch and the Mesopotamia Economic Union, now that the Winter Games  2022 are near?

It’s too late to move the Games, but not too late to persuade people that China should not have been awarded them, and to enlist their help to ensure the international community spoils the CCP’s party by branding them the #GenocideGames.  Here are some of the legal and moral arguments.

Firstly, the Genocide Convention legally obliges states to do “everything reasonable” to “punish and prevent Genocide” “as soon as” there are “credible reports” of it.  A complete Diplomatic Boycott is, without doubt, “reasonable” and embarrasses China. The USA Senate,  the European and UK Parliaments have voted for this.

Secondly, countries importing Games’ merchandise have a high risk of complicity with the Genocide, such is the ubiquity of Uyghur Slave Labour, especially in the apparel industry. This breaches the Olympic Ethical Code (Article 1.4), which states, “all human rights conventions will apply to all Games activities.”

Thirdly, China is contractually obliged to promote principles 1, 2 of the Olympic Charter which “seek  to create a way of life based on …respect for universal fundamental ethical principles….promoting a peaceful society…preserving human dignity.” Additionally, China regularly breaches Principle 4, “Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind,”, by  imprisoning Uyghur but not Han sportsmen and women after travelling to tournaments abroad.

Finally, the International Olympic Committee, which insists hosting a Games promotes Human Rights there, doesn’t know its own history! Human rights deteriorated sharply in Germany after Berlin 1936, and in China after Beijing 2008.

What can the public do? Depends on where you live. Emailing or petitioning your representatives in UK, USA or EU to ensure votes for a diplomatic boycott are respected, games merchandise proscribed, and protesting athletes protected by their Olympic committees is a start. And we can all make the Games’ sponsors pay an economic price.

Don’t use Airbnb, use Booking.com!

Don’t drink Coca Cola, drink water! From a glass bottle!

Don’t buy Panasonic or Samsung!

Don’t…. snack on Snickers! Try Bamba!

The Torah tells us Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed after God says “the cry against them was very great…. and came to me” (Bereshit 18:20-21), and “their sins are very heavy” or , as we might say, egregious.

Well, I can’t speak for God, but the cry of the Uyghurs, Tibetans, Southern Mongolians and Hong Kongers, all of whom suffer under the CCP, came to a large group of us this Sunday. We and they converged on Parliament Square in an alternative  Olympic torch rally replicated in 10 European cities (including Tel Aviv), co-ordinated by the  European Union of Jewish Students’ “Never Again Right Now” campaign.

Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Hong Kongers plus friends

I don’t know if we are going to be as successful in dismantling the CCP’s regime as God was in destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, but you can help us!

Write those emails, stay off the Coca Cola and Snickers, and if you are vacationing, don’t go Airbnb!

 

References:

  1. Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Bible, 1956
  2. Nachmanides to Bereshit 19,5.
  3. https://rabbisacks.org/loving-the-stranger-mishpatim-5779/.
  4. Melchizedek (a Priest contemporary with Abraham, whose name means king of righteousness).
About the Author
Sheldon is a 65 year old, London-born, Meikal Orthodox Teaching Hospital Consultant Physician for Older People and Stroke just retired. His research in infection control and behavioural science helped introduce bed-side alcohol hand-rub. Now an Advisor to World Uyghur Congress, London Office for STOPUYGHURGENOCIDE campaign. Wife consultant physician. Two daughters, at University and one son, in Year 13. Two cats. Spurs season ticket holder (except shabbat!). Aliyah one day (PG!).
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