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The wrong fight
Refusing to compete against a representative of the state of Israel

August 23, 2004

It was interesting to see the spin that followed Arash Miresmaeili's justified and courageous refusal to compete against the Israeli judoka. [News]

The standard response to Arash's decision, which was so uniform as to be obviously manufactured, was to first complain about how those nasty Iranians had violated the "Olympic Ideal" by introducing politics in the event. Apparently, these self-appointed protectors of the "Olympic Ideal" had forgotten that the US boycotted the entire 1980 Moscow Olympics on political grounds too. Where was the concern about the "Olympic Ideal" then?

The second part of the standard spin was to allege that Arash was forced to withdraw from the match against his own wishes, and to pretend to be so concerned about how poor little Arash was forcibly denied by Iranian authorities his opportunity to win a medal. Of course, this spin assumes that Arash could not possibly have withdrawn from the match on his own accord. I don't know Arash or his political views, but I do know that there are plenty of normal, happy people who consider Israel to be a dangerous state (ie: most Europeans) and they refuse to engage with Israel in anyway that would legitimize Israel.

They're not "forced" to do this by Iranian authorities - they do it on their own, based on their own moral values. They're entitled to their convictions, as is Arash. The third part of the standard response was to imply that the Iranians didn't want to compete against the Israel because they were afraid of losing to a Jew. Note how this spin intentionally confuses Israel with all Jews. Arash didn't refuse to compete against a Jew. He refused to compete against a representative of the state of Israel.

To those who have claimed that the entire Iranian Olympic team should be thrown out of the Olympics, let's make this clear: Apartheid-era South Africa was banned from the Olympics from 1964 to 1992, and yet Israel is permitted to participate in the Olympics. Why? Israel is an apartheid state which has openly and proudly ignored repeated UN resolutions and the Geneva Conventions. Even Israeli historians now openly acknowledge that Israel was built upon a plan of ethnic cleansing and racism.

Israel historian Benny Morris has established this fact, though he justified it as "breaking a few eggs" (which goes to show the thinking.) To this day, non-Jewish Israeli citizens are treated as second-class citizens, never mind the hundreds of thousands of dispossessed Palestinians who were drive from their own homes into Bantustans in the Occupied Territories in violation of the Geneva Conventions. Israel has done everything that the Apartheid-era South Africans did, and much more.

So when you suggest that Iran should recognize Israel, remember that recognizing Israel means recognizing the Zionist claim that God Chose them to rule over the Middle East. To this day they have refused to demarcate their own borders. What Israel frames as their "right to exist" is actually their claimed "right" to eradicate and destroy Palestinians and dominate the Mideast. And lets fact it, who's "right to exist" is really being denied: Israelis or Palestinians? Who is living in tents, and who is living in ever-expanding settlements? Wasn't it Golda Meir who said that "There's no such things as Palestinians"?

And to those proponents of human rights who also insist that Iran should recognize Israel: human rights aren't limited to Iran's borders. If you're so concerned about human rights, you can't suddenly go blind to the issue of the human rights of Palestinians. You say that happens in Israel its not our concern because we're not Arabs. In fact, some of these proponents of human rights become down-right racist when talking about "the Arabs". How can you claim to be pro-human rights and yet be racist at the same time? You can't be pro-human rights and anti-Arab at the same time.

And don't give me that crud about Cyrus the Great and the Jews--Cyrus freed the Jews (and lots of others) from Babylon but he would not have recognized Israel under the current circumstances since Israel poses a direct threat to Iran.

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