When Politics and Sportsmanship Collide
One of the few bright spots in the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict was supposed to be the "Peace Team." Made up of both Israeli and Palestinian players, they were going to put politics behind them and merge their talents for the sake of soccer. But, now, along comes the Palestinian Football Association which has decided, in its infinite wisdom, that nothing, not even the national sport, will get in the way of their hateful anti-Israel ideology. Then, in a classic case of left-wing understatement, a Peres Center spokeswoman said the Palestinian FA's reaction was "irresponsible and annoying." Annoying? Mosquitoes are annoying. This action, on the part of the football association, is nothing less than a slap in the face to both the Israeli and Palestinian players, and a reminder of just how many hurdles the Israelis will have to overcome if they're ever going to be able to live in peace with the Palestinians.
So, even if you're not a fan of soccer, a development like this has to be disappointing...not only for the Palestinian players who are being denied a chance to play a game they love in an atmosphere of brotherhood, but also for the whole notion that sportsmanship can transcend racial, ethnic and ideological differences.