[Opinion] Petty Arab apartheid, Olympic-style
Since 1948, petty apartheid has also been a feature of the widespread Arab rejection of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. This practice is ongoing and is often taken for granted and ignored, as was the case of South Africa for many years.
Many Israelis have experienced this racism in one form or another.
In cultural and sporting events, including previous Olympic Games, Arabs and Iranians have gone to great lengths to avoid being “contaminated” by Israelis, suddenly withdrawing from events, even when they would automatically lose as a result. In 2008, swimmers from Syria and the Islamic Republic of Iran took this route, and during the 2012 London Olympics, the Lebanese judo team went as far as refusing to practice in view of the Israelis, forcing organizers to erect a separation barrier (an Arab “apartheid wall”). In Rio, a Saudi judoka suddenly dropped out, apparently to avoid facing an Israeli.
Similarly, the self-appointed guardians of human rights, including NGO superpowers such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, are silent when Israelis are the victims. Indeed, they are very active in promoting the apartheid inherent in the boycott movement, which is the current Western embodiment of the Arab League’s economic boycott of Israel. The anti-Israel campaigners in the democratic West who wrap themselves in the façade of human rights and opposition to racism are part and parcel of this apartheid.