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The Corner

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Taking the Jew Out of Judo



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On the one hand, Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Federation, says we shouldn’t have a moment of silence for the 40th anniversary of the murder of Israeli Olympians because:

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.

On the other hand, there are times when you could use “a factor for separation” – like when you walk into a room and it’s full of Jews:

The Lebanon judo team has refused to train alongside the Israeli team, demanding that a curtain screen be erected so that the athletes would not have to see each other.

The latest political row on the eve of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games prompted anger from an Israeli official who said ”what? they can’t see us, but they will smell us.”

London 2012 organising 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.

With equally exquisite sensitivity, the American media appear to have drawn their own “makeshift curtain” around the whole event. But it’s a useful reminder that the Olympian “bridge for love and connection” operates to the same principles as the old gag:

One day the U.N. Secretary General proposes that, in the interest of global peace and harmony, the world’s soccer players should come together and form one United Nations global soccer team.

“Great idea,” says his deputy. “Er, but who would we play?”

“Israel, of course.”



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