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Posted in: Anti-Semitism, Israel

Published on Mar 08, 2009 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

Israeli Tennis Team Under Guard in Sweden

Anti-Semitism and The Politicization of Sports


Andy Ram, an Israeli tennis player, has just published a sober and heartbreaking piece about what the Israeli tennis team has just faced in competition in Sweden.

Athletes and anti-Semitism: Who can ever forget the Munich Olympics under Hitler? And the fact that, in the Nazi era, Jewish-Austrian and Jewish-German athletes had to have their own swimming and fencing clubs, since they were not allowed to compete with "Aryans."

We all remember the trauma of the 1972 Palestinian massacre of Israeli athletes at the Olympics in Munich. I certainly do. The mishandling of the situation–especially by the German police was enraging, unbelievable.

Now, Israeli tennis player, Shaar Peer, was not allowed to play tennis in Abu Dhabi. Although Venus Williams denounced this, she still played there.

Today, another kind of situation faces the Israeli tennis team in Sweden. Andy Ram writes about it in YNet News today, below. He begins this way:

"In almost every respect, the events of the past week in Sweden are a sad moment for Tennis, for sports in general, and certainly for Israel. Never in my career as an athlete have I encountered such hatred and such blend of sports and politics.

Up until the last moment, the protestors attempted to prompt the cancelation of the David Cup match between Israel and Sweden. After we already landed here, their leader met with Swedish team captain Mats Wilander and asked him to call off the contest. "

Ram goes on to describe how the Israeli team had to be sequestered in their hotel, guarded there, enroute, and at the stadium by many police officers and anti-terrorist squads. Sadly, the stadium was empty since people feared riots or worse. He concludes:

"The feelings within the Israel team are very grim. All the innocence that prompted us to play tennis has disappeared, and this match, which was supposed to be a beautiful moment of sports, has become completely worthless. Nothing here is reminiscent of the Davis Cup; what we have is a war atmosphere, tension, and the feeling that something very bad may happen at any moment."

This is exactly how it feels when one tries to speak the truth about Israel and America on the American campus. It is a similarly politicized war-zone, with ugly threats and menace which requires police protection. Certainly not the atmosphere in which to compete in sports or to deliver a lecture.

World: Are you watching? Can you see what is happening?

World: What are your plans? If we do not resist radical evil ultimately, we collaborate with it.

You may read Andy Ram's article HERE


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