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September 16, 1988 - Image 26

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-09-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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26

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1988

Olympic Hurdle

Continued from preceding page

Peking.
One third of the OCA's 36
members are Arab nations
(the present chairman is from
Kuwait) and most of the rest,
especially Japan and Korea,
rely heavily on Arab oil so the
result was not particularly
shocking.
When a Los Angeles Times'
reporter asked why no one
had opposed PLO member-
ship, one OCA staff member
said: "No one has the courage
to stand up to the Arabs. This
is an organization with no
guts."
There has also been talk of
the PLO trying to be admit-
ted to the International
Olympic Committee so that it
could send a delegation to the
Olympics. In March 1984, a
PLO spokesman said that the
organization might try to ob-
tain IOC approval to par-
ticipate in the 1984 Summer
Olympics, but the Los
Angeles Olympic Organizing
Committee insisted that no
new Olympic committees be
accepted until after the
Games. The principal impedi-
ment to PLO membership in
the IOC is no doubt the an-
ticipated opposition of the
United States.
In addition, the Arab war
against Israel has been ex-
tended to a whole range of
sporting competitions. For ex-
ample, the Arabs have suc-
ceeded in excluding Israel
from three world table tennis
championships held in Asia:
Calcutta in 1975, Pyongyang
in 1979, and the 1977 event
event held in New Delhi. The
last violated India's promise
to the International Table
Tennis Federation to invite
teams from all member
states.
In just the last year, the In-
donesian and Kuwaiti
volleyball teams boycotted
Israel's team in the World
University Games at Zagreb.
Israel was also excluded from
the 1986 International Chess
Olympiad held in Dubai
despite the World. Chess
Federation's rule that the
host country must guarantee
access to the competition to
all members of the
Federation.
The United Arab Emirates,
including Dubai, do not grant
visas to Israelis or "Zionist
sympathizers" so the ADL
called for the United States to
boycott the chess champion-
ships in protest. Teams from
Norway, Sweden, and the
Netherlands objected to the
discrimination against Israel
and refused to participate,
but the U.S. team was unwill-
ing to make a similar stand.
India reversed its policy of
excluding Israel from spor-
ting events, albeit reluctant-

ly, last year for the Davis Cup
tennis competition. After the
Israeli team upset Czechoslo-
vakia, it won the right to play
India in the quarterfinals in
New Delhi in July, but the In-
dian government had hinted
that it would refuse to grant
the Israelis visas as had been
the case a few months earlier
during the World Table Ten-
nis Championships.
India's willingness to per-
mit the match to take place
did not reflect a change in the
basic hostility toward Israel,
however; it was a result of the
fear that the International
Tennis Federation might ex-
pel India from the Davis Cup.
The reaction of the Arab
and Muslim world was
predictable with warnings
that India had jeopardized
future relations. Indian
security was extremely tight
for the event which was met
by protests from Palestinian
sympathizers.

The Arab war
against Israel has
been extended to
a whole range of
competitions.

The results of the match —
India defeated Israel handily
— were far less significant
than the fact that the Israeli
flag was flown in the Indian
capital for the first time.
Nevertheless, there was little
chance that the event would
amount to the same kind of
opening for Israeli-Indian
relations that pingpong pro-
vided to U.S.-Chinese rela-
tions. This was made clear
when the Indians announced
in late March of this year that
they would concede the World
Group qualifying tennis
match for the 1989 World
Cup scheduled for April
against Israel in Tel Aviv to
protest Israel's policies
toward the Palestinians in
the territories.
Just as Israel has
persevered in the political
and economic realms, so too
has it succeeded in overcom-
ing the primary objective of
the sports boycott; that is,
isolation. The boycott re-
mains an irritant and an
obstacle to Israel taking its
rightful place among the com-
munity of nations, but it has
been largely a failure.
As in the case of the other
boycotts, it would require
nothing more than the
United States and other na-
tions standing up to the
Arabs, as was the case with
the International Tennis
Federation in 1987, to end
the discrimination against
Israel in the sporting world

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