30 July '12..
On Friday, July 27, prior to the official opening of the 2012 London Olympic Games, the Lebanese judo team refused to practice next to the Israeli team and Olympic organizers erected a barrier to split the gym in half.
According to a spokesman for Israel's Olympic Committee, "We started to practice. They came and they saw us - they didn't like it and they went to the organizers." (Reuters)
The organizers promptly accommodated the Lebanese demand and set up the separation screen.
The Times of Israel reported:
According to several Hebrew sports sites, the two teams were scheduled to use the same gym and mats at London's new ExCeL center for their final preparations. However, the delegation from Lebanon would not train in view of the Israeli team, and insisted some sort of barrier be placed between them.
The Telegraph (London) wrote:
London 2012 organising [sic] committee officials erected a makeshift curtain to split the two halves of a training gym at the ExCeL centre on Friday afternoon to placate the Lebanese team, which was refusing to train at the same time as the Israelis.
The UK's Guardian picked up Reuters' story as did Yahoo Sports:
Olympic officials were forced to erect a screen between Lebanon's and Israel's judo fighters on Friday after the Lebanese refused to train on the same mat, the Israeli Olympic team said on Friday.
Yet, as of this writing, CAMERA has found no mention of the incident in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, Associated Press or networks such as CNN and ABC.
One of the fundamental principles of "Olympism," as outlined in the Olympic Charter, states:
Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.
Can accommodating the request of an Arab team not to share the mat with or be seen by Israelis be regarded as anything other than a form of discrimination based on race, religion or politics? Would it be allowed if it involved any country other than Israel? And shouldn't it be covered by major American news organizations?
Ironically, earlier in the week, when the IOC refused to include a moment of silence to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the terrorist murders of 11 Israeli Olympians, Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Federation, sent a letter to IOC chairman Jacques Rogge thanking him for his position, writing:
Sports is a bridge for love, connection and relaying peace between peoples. It should not be a factor for separation and spreading racism between peoples.
And yet "separating and spreading racism between peoples" is exactly what occurred in the practice center for the judo teams in London. Where's the outrage? Where's the decency? Where's the coverage?
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