Saturday, February 21, 2009

On tennis and politics

I guess everyone in the world has heard about Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer being denied entry into the UAE...and the UAE's cowardly decision to grand another Israeli player, Andy Ram, a visa to participate in the Barclay's tennis tournament next week. Because let's face it, as soon as an Israeli's "rights" are being violated, the world's media goes into a frenzy to make sure everyone hears about it.

When I first heard about Peer being denied entry, I was not surprised. It makes perfect sense to me given that a lot of Arabs who do not have dual nationality are unable to enter Israel. An Emarati citizen for example, could never set foot in Israel, so why should an Israeli be able to come here?

But at the same time, deep down, I was waiting to see how the government would react to the pressure that was being put by the Women's Tennis Association, with threats of canceling the tournament next year, and with the media going into a frenzy about this whole thing.

And of course, they caved. They caved under the pressure and granted Andy Ram a visa.

Which begs the question: why the double standards? Why not stick to your decision and live by it?

I find it absolutely hilarious (for lack of a better word) that just last month, Sheikh Mohammed's Dubai Cares organized a massive drive to help Gazans following the ethnic cleansing spree Israel conducted...and now, less than a month later, Dubai is granting a visa to an Israeli tennis player.

Which begs another question: would an Emarati football player for example be able to get into Israel to play a football match? For some reason, I find that possibility highly unlikely...

Yes, this post may seem harsh, and biased to some, but it's coming from a very personal place. A place where my elderly aunt who lives here in the UAE, and who only has a Lebanese passport, is unable to see her 2 sisters who live in Israel, for the pure and simple reason that she has a Lebanese passport, and they have Israeli passports.

It comes from a place where my siblings and I did not get to meet our cousins and aunts who live in Israel, until we got our Canadian passports...because that was the only way for us to visit the land where my father was born, the land where his father and mother lived and raised them, the land where he went to school, the land where my father formed his earliest memories.

In a way, I hope that the tennis tournament will be canceled next year...Maybe it'll serve as a lesson to all those involved...A lesson on how to stand up for what's right...

23 comments:

Naseem said...

finally I find someone making sense and talk logic about this tennis situation with the Israeli visa...

I am active on few forum boards and everyone making this issue so much big deal and rant about it...

they just fail to look at the issue from the other view point...

well said... I agree with you

mark said...

1. So, you first declare a war against israel and then you complain that you lebanease passport would not let you into israel, and this while talking about double standards ....

2. The reason arab sportsman don't appear in israel is mainly because they know too well that once it will be known they will be boycotted all over the arab world.
This is beyond double standard and itt is a pure hypocrisy

3. But maybe I'm wrong. Can you please google up one arab sportsman which has requested a visa to israel in order to participate in an international sports event, and was denied?

MT said...

what is is about sportsmen that makes them such holy cows that no discrimination shud take place against them? don't they have a life or views aside from sports?

when preaching not to mix sports and politics how come the world forgets all the olympic boycotts, the boycott of south africa, the cancellation of sports series and tournaments due to political tensions and the boycott of zimbabwe today.....

y do ppl forget this lady in question was and is a member of the Israeli Defence Force - the guys behind the recent Gaza offensive.

Silenced No More said...

Mark,
Your argument is technically flawed in a million and one places, but one stands out. Not only is it not politically correct, it is a flat out lie that we declared war on Israel...Palestine has not declared war on Israel, and neither has Lebanon in the 61 years of Israel's illegal existence.
If launching rockets into Sderot from Gaza is a declaration of war in your dictionary, let me remind you that the town of Sderot is built on Palestinian ruins, villages that were ethnically cleansed, its inhabitants killed and forced into Gaza. Therefore, a considerable amount of people currently living in horrendous situations in Gaza are actually first, second and third generation inhabitants of Sderot (Previously known as Najd, ethnically May 13th 1948 and settled

Silenced No More said...

by Jews in 1951)... So if that is declaring war in your eyes, its resistance to occupation in ours, something we have the right to under international law.
Regarding Lebanon, again, Israel occupied the south of Lebanon, and under international law, Lebanon has the right to resist Israeli occupation. Again, this is not declaring war.

While on the topic of googling Arab sports figures entering Israel, how about you google the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Specifically Article 13 Section 2 that states "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." before preaching double standards because of some tennis player, who seems to have gained some sort of Divinity because of their profession...

shlemazl said...

It is - of course - a lie that Israel bans UAE citizens from visiting. Why don't you ask for an Israeli visa from your nearest Israeli consulate to find out before you make a false claim.

Incidentally, citizens of Arab countries did compete in Israel. Runner Mushir Salem Jawher was stripped of Bahraini citizenship after competing in and winning Israeli marathon.

And Arabs compete in Israel all the time. Abas Suan and Walid Badir scored lots of goals for Israeli national team.

Wonder how many Jews have competed in Arab national teams? Oh, silly me; forgot... Jews have been expelled from most Arab countries.

Dubai Sunshine said...

Mark...No one is talking about declaring war here. All I'm saying is: treat others the way they treat you. If Israel allowed Arabs to enter the country, then I'd be more than happy to have Israelis enter the UAE.

And my example about Arab athletes competing in Israel was hypothetical.

Shelmazl...here you go...yet another person confusing Jews and Israelis. I never once mentioned Jews in all this. Jews are Jews and Israelis are Israelis. And if you think that there are no Jews in Arab countries...think again. I am not naive enough to believe that there are no Jews living in the UAE and I know for a fact that there are many Jews still living in Arab countries. So please, keep your facts straight.

Silenced No More said...

Thank you for the prompt reply DXB Sunshine on YET AGAIN correcting between Jews and Israelis...

Shelmazl, spinning it once again...Abbas Suan and Walid Badr are Arab-Israelis, meaning, they were the ones who were humiliated in 1948 but were "allowed" to stay in Israel as second class citizens till today...I have relatives who are Arab Israeli, so I'm pretty aware of the second class treatment they receive in "The Middle Easts only Democracy"

Jews were expelled from Arab states? True.... but you neglect to mention that they were expelled after the PROCESS for creating a Jewish homeland, meaning AFTER forcing indigenous Palestinians off their land...and 70% of the Jews left voluntarily after the creation of Israel...state facts, dont leave out others for your convenience, Jews were protected in Arab countries from Nazi Germany, FACT! Do your research...

Lirun said...

this is a sad post..

btw the stupidity in the last comment was that (a) jews were persecuted throughout arab lands well before 1948 in fact throughout the centuries.. living as miserable dhimmi.. and (b) why punish your local jews for a country established by other jews? in some cases the jewish communities egypt and iraq and syria for example even predated the arab and muslim communities in those same places..

Silenced No More said...

Your stupidity is that a) You can't read....b) you're still purposely confused between Jews and Israelis...but I expect nothing less from you...

a) I said THE PROCESS FOR CREATING A JEWISH HOMELAND....which if you check your history did NOT start in 1948, but if you're too ignorant to find out for yourself then I won't bother explaining it to you

b) Speaking of communities that predate others....the indigenous people of the now town of Sderot, didn't they predate its current inhabitants?

And why can't you use the argument that JEWS predated ARAB and MUSLIM communites?!?! Because Judaism as a biblical religion predated all cultures and all other biblical religions! Does that mean you can claim any land where Jews were originally?

If this was a sad post, your argument was even sadder....

shlemazl said...

@DS: I am not confusing anything.

Your post is about a Jewish Israeli tennis player. Israel happens to be a Jewish state, just like UAE is Arabic. My point is that Israel is demonstrably more tolerant to Arabs than the other way around.

My facts are straight. There are some Jews living in Tunisia and Marocco, but the rest of Arab countries are Judenfrei. 800000 Jews (not Israelis) were expelled or pushed out from the Arab states once they gained independence.

@SNM

"70% of the Jews left voluntarily". How can you know this? Fact is that Jews were beaten up in the streets; even Arabs who were confused for Jews were attacked. They were also discriminated in law. People don't leave en mass for no apparent reason; somehow 99.99% of US Jews did not suddenly leave for Israel...

Of course Arab countries have engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Jews for centuries - as is documented in the Koran, among other places.

Jews were protected in Arab countries from Nazi Germany, FACT! Actually there were no independent Arab countries. FACT is that according to Arab polls in 1942 90% of Palestinians supported the Nazis. FACT is that Arab leaders in Palestine collaborated with Hitler and participated in the Holocaust in person.

Siwash said...

Thanks Dubai sunshine for your insightful post and pointing out the sides of the Arabs. Although I would want to comment on this issue and my outrage at its dimensions at a later date, I would like to point out the following two points:

1) Politics and sports do mix in this realistic world. Andy Roddick's decision to withdraw and Venus William's comments on the actions of the UAE during her victory speech have shown their own interpretation of events which is politics in other words. How come the Israeli football team does not compete in the Asian Cup nor in the Asian zone qualifiers, but rather in Europe? This was a political decision to ban them taken by Fifa during the '70s.

2) I talked to a woman tennis player (will keep her name anynomous) about this situation. Apparently, the Israeli player is not that nice and does not have many friends from other professional tennis players. Thus, the sympathy for her is nearly non-existent. It is a power play between the President of the WTA and the UAE government. Sadly, the latter showed to have no spine in such a matter. Thus, my decision to boycott the ATP tournament this week.

Silenced No More said...

shlemazl,
I could argue your points day in and day out, but my last post wasn't even directed to you...but Israel more tolerant of arabs with 1300+ dead in 3 weeks...thats pretty laughable, keep your tolerance, we don't want it...

however, you really put your finger on the button there didn't you by saying "People don't leave en mass for no apparent reason"...this isn't only funny, its f-ing hilarious that you say it... coz Israel's official argument is "They just left! We didn't ethnically cleanse or force any of them to the Gaza strip, and all around the world!"

And then of course, there's your even MORE laughable TWO statements right ahead of each other, saying "Of course Arab COUNTRIES have engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Jews bla bla bla as is documented in the Koran".....then......the very next sentence...."Actually there were no independent Arab countries..."

Do the people you're addressing look stupid to you? Do you think you can blatantly get away with contradicting yourself just to serve your argument? Your arguments are exactly in tune with Israel's, full of contradictions, lies and double standards...

I have no problem at all with Jews, I have Jewish friends and I definitely don't think they should be exterminated or anything remotely close to that... on the contrary as a religion its great...

Israel, and Zionism on the other hand, are a COMPLETELY different thing, as a Zionist you are an embarrassment to Judaism, and as a Zionist you are a racist...(you not meaning you becuase you might not be, but if you are a zionist then you are a racist)... and as an ideology it should be destroyed and shunned like the ideologies of the KKK are shunned....

Silenced No More said...

oh and Siwash,

SALUTE for boycotting.... hats off!

Silenced No More said...

and apparently you are Zionist according to your profile...

so ya you're racist and don't see the point of arguing you anymore...
Read 1948 George Orwell...speaking to you is like the concept of "Crimestop" in his book...anything poking your ideology or faith leads to instant "crimestop", a mental shutdown to avoid even THINKING about questioning your ideology, lest it be considered a crime by yourself and the people around you...

shlemazl said...

1. but Israel more tolerant of arabs with 1300+ dead in 3 weeks...

Actually that just shows Israeli intolerance to being shelled. I know, it's very unreasonable of them.

2. coz Israel's official argument is "They just left!

I have never heard this argument. There were different reasons why Arabs left. Some left because of their leaders and calls by Arabs abroad (e.g. Haifa). Some left because of civil war (started by the Arabs) and the resulting starvation. Some left because of Arab claims of mass rapes which were proven to have been false. Some left because they were forced to.

Palestinian Arabs were not the only ones that it happened to around that time. These days there aren't any Germans in Sudets, Koenigsberg or Gdansk. And of course 99.99% of Jews left Arab countries compared to around 70% of Arabs who left Israel. I am sorry it happend, but it was a long time ago and many bad things happened since then.

Do the people you're addressing look stupid to you? Do you think you can blatantly get away with contradicting yourself

I am not sure where exactly you believe I contradicted myself. During the war all Arab countries were either formally or informally run by other countries (Britain, France, etc...) After the war they gained full independence. Massive expulsion of Jews took place once Arab countries gained full independence.

as a Zionist you are an embarrassment to Judaism, and as a Zionist you are a racist...(

False and false. I cannot possibly be an "embarrassment to Judaism" because I am an Atheist. Neither I am "racist" according to the dictonary definition of this term. I don't even believe that human "races" exist in biological terms; how can I be a "racist"? Race is just a social construct.

I am a Zionist as I believe that Israel has the same right to exist as any other state in the world. You will find that most people in the civilized world hold the same view.

Silenced No More said...

"I am sorry it happend, but it was a long time ago and many bad things happened since then."

I feel the same way about the holocaust...

but I'll end my conversation here because I know when efforts are wasted, and I dedicate my time to benefitting my cause...

But I'll leave you with this thought...

Resolution 3379 UN General Assambly : Zionism is racism.

Retracted only after US pressure...the result would have nullified any previous UN agreement on Israel...the fact that it passed says a lot, the fact that it was retracted is evidence of US bias, evident till today in the UN security coucil

I didn't invent it....

shlemazl said...

I feel the same way about the holocaust...

Perhaps not EXACTLY the same as Naqba... However I agree that it also happened a long time ago and that I don't have a right to go and blow up German pizzerias, nightclubs and buses - or to "wipe out" Germany for that matter..

Silenced No More said...

Worse, you wiped out a third party who had nothing to do with it... and Zionists STILL to this very day invoke the holocaust everytime they want to justify anything... Your reponse earlier basically saying 1300 civilians dead is a response to rocket attacks (apart from the fact that that the rocket attacks are a result of blockade,occupation,humiliation etc..) is the same as the justifications of the Nazis...

terrorism has nothing to do with strapping a bomb to yourself and going to a pizza shop...
Terrorism has to do with terrorizing people, which let's face it, Israel is an expert at, because it is a terrorist state, founded on terrorism. King David Hotel? Tzipi Livni's father being a commander in Irgun, directly involved in terrorist activities? The list goes on and on and on up until 2009...

but why would you mention that?

shlemazl said...

You asked for it:

Worse

Worse indeed. As a result of the Holocaust European Jewry was annihalated. As a result of Paleocaust the population of 589,177 Muslims in Palestine in 1922 grew to the current estimate of between 9 and 10 million people, who are calling themselves Palestinian today.

Your reponse earlier basically saying 1300 civilians dead is a response to rocket attacks (apart from the fact that that the rocket attacks are a result of blockade,occupation,humiliation etc..) is the same as the justifications of the Nazis...

Firstly, it's not 1300 civilians. Israel collected names of killed terrorists and estimated that ~75% of the victims in Gaza were indeed terrorists.

Secondly, my justification is far, far worse than that of the Nazis. I just said that Israelis are intolerable to being shelled, which is unreasonable. The Nazi justification was extermination of all Jews because Jews are bad which is exactly in line with the Hamas Charter, so it must be right.

terrorism has nothing to do with strapping a bomb to yourself and going to a pizza shop...

Nothing? So what do you call it? "Hunting"?

And may I say that if Israel is inherently terrorist because of what happened 100 years ago [and you might be just a tad biased in your assessment there] then by the same logic all Palestinians are inherently Nazi war criminals - as was the founder of your nation.
-----------------------------
Look... I agree that this is a pointless exercise. If you are interested in another point of view and in history then check out this:

http://shlemazl.blogspot.com/2006/06/brief-history-of-arab-israeli-conflict.html

If you find that there is something important that I missed or distorted then please provide a reference and I will include it in the right-up.

However I do not think that arguing about history is the way forward. The way forward is to agree to negotiate in good faith, i.e. without having an objective to destroy the other side. To build trust over time. To come to a compromize. To live and let live.

shlemazl said...

By the way Dubai Sunshine (TH)...

Not sure whether you are aware, but Blogger is sending e-mails to people who comment on your blog with your full name and email address. If that's not intentional then perhaps you should change your settings.

Silenced No More said...

my apologies if I cannot accept Israels estimate of 75% being "terrorists".... 400+ children, that alone is about 33%...

What goes around comes around...deaths are deaths...dont think Israel loves their children more than we do...

shlemazl said...

My bad; it's actually two-thirds:

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1233304788684&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

IDF has names and PA ID numbers + terrorist group affiliation. Among the casualties there are 300 women, children aged 15 and younger and men over 65. Some of these women were terrorists, including those that tried to blow themselves up.

Considering conditions in
Gaza and that the likes of Nizar Rayyan, a Hamas military commander who refused to allow his family to leave his home even after he was warned by Israel that it would be bombed... IDF has been remarkably successful in minimizing civilian casualties.

dont think Israel loves their children more than we do...

No doubt about it. Israel hides children in shelters when bombarded. Poor Palestinian children are used as human shields or supplied with explosive belts...

Your commitment to the endless violence, terrorism and the culture of death is duly noted.