Ronald Lauder has a good idea. In a gesture of peace and understanding, he wants to save the Iranians the humiliation of being defeated by Israeli athletes at the 2012 Olympics in London and protect the losers from any retribution they may incur for returning home with the stigma of having been bested by a Zionist by having them sit out next year’s games.
Well … maybe that’s not what he really had in mind. But if the Iranians are so loathe – or frightened – to compete against Israelis they should just stay home. Refusing to compete is a violation of the Olympic charter.
Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said
the Iranian refusal in recent competition to face Israeli athletes was "unsportsmanlike and smacks of anti-Semitism," and their country should be banned from participating next year.
He’s got a point, but I think there may be more at stake. Remember Uday Hussein, Saddam’s sociopathic spawn who headed Daddy’s Olympic committee? He ordered – and probably personally participated in – the torture of athletes who failed to win. Defeat is one thing, but imagine the dreaded Iranian Savak’s punishment for losing to a Zionist.
An Iranian swimmer, Mohammed Alirezaei, pulled out of a race at last week’s world swimming championships in Shanghai complaining he was too "tired and drowsy" to compete with an Israeli. He’s the same jock who said he was too ill to compete against an Israeli swimmer in the 2008 Olympics. In 2004 an Iranian judo athlete had the same lame excuse.
Last year an Iranian weightlifter who refused to shake hands with the Israeli who defeated him in the World Masters Weightlifting Championship was banned from the Iranian team for competing against an Israeli.
Lauder called Iranian efforts to politicize the games "disgraceful" and “a clear breach of the spirit and the letter of the statutes of international sporting bodies.”
The British, hosts of next year’s summer Olympics, don’t want to see the event politicized, as has happened frequently in the past. Most notably, the US boycotted the 1980 summer games in Moscow to protest the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, and four years later the Russians returned the favor by skipping the LA summer games..
British ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould said
, "Boycotts are the antithesis of the Olympic spirit," recalling that in the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics "the world saw then the very worst in humanity."
A British Foreign Office official told the Jerusalem Post
the Shanghai incident “suggests that the Iranians care as much about the spirit and point of the Olympic games as they do about nuclear non-proliferation and human rights.”
Lauder challenged the typically timid IOC to do more than deplore the Iranian action.
“To my knowledge, Israeli sportsmen are the only ones world-wide targeted by such a racist boycott, yet leading federations such as the International Olympic Committee and others are reluctant to take strong and unequivocal action. Iran’s behavior is unsportsmanlike and smacks of anti-Semitism," said the WJC president. "It must be stopped!”
The ever-cautious IOC responded that Iran’s behavior is "not only unsporting behavior" but "a serious breach" of the Olympic Charter, adding, “There can be no place for discrimination at the Olympic Games." Let’s hope the tongue-clucking is followed with tough action.
Last February, Iran demanded London 2012 Olympics organizers withdraw the official logo for the Games, claiming it spelled the word, "Zion."
Actually, they misread it, it really said "Ahmadinejad is a whack job."