Sunday, December 11, 2005

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.

12 Comments:

At 3:36 AM, Anonymous Jake Porter said...

Politics has no place in sports. It is sad that people would use politics to spread hate everywhere they possibly can.

 
At 6:24 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Figures! Now that certain areas have been "returned to the Palestinians," the politics gets even worse and extends to a soccer team. Disgusting!

 
At 9:20 AM, Blogger Esther said...

This is truly sad for everyone involved. As they always say, the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

 
At 9:43 AM, Blogger Gindy said...

Somehow I am not surprised by this. Even a little bit.

 
At 12:27 PM, Blogger drummaster2001 said...

jake:

although politics shouldn't have a place in sports, it has had some history.

a.) the olympics in berlin in 1936 where jesse owens whipped nazi ass, foiling hitler's plans to prove the 'aryan' race was superior. i love the humiliation of it all.

b.) 1980 olympics at lake placid, NY where the underdog team USA kicked the favored reds at hockey to eventually win the gold- capitalism def communism.

 
At 4:39 PM, Anonymous Felis said...

Sad story really.
The mind (and life) control freaks form the Palestinian Hate Enterprise will make sure nobody gets too close to those Jews.
They may even start liking each other |-0

 
At 9:10 PM, Blogger Rory said...

Jake
Sadly, the Palestinians have decided that anything with the potential to create some amity between themselves and the Israelis is going to be off limits. That's the reason I've never been optimistic about any resolution to the conflict.

AOW,
I agree. It is disgusting, and I think that's why this story was important. After all, if the Palestinians can't even be allowed to interact with Israelis on a soccer field, how are they ever going to be able to live side by side in any sort of harmony?

Esther,
That was my reaction, too. That it was really sad for the players, but even more so for both groups of people who, for better or worse, are pretty much stuck living in the same neighborhood.

Gindy,
No, neither am I. In fact, after being personally very close to this conflict for a number of years, I think I've been rendered virtually shock-proof.

Drummaster,
Also, wasn't there a boycott against the South African Olympic team when the country was under apartheid, and something involving the Russians when they invaded Afghanistan? I'm not clear on the details. But, the most egregious example came straight from the very same people who are involved in this present situation. It was the murderous ideology of the Palestinians that resulted in the massacre at the Munich Olympics.

Felis,
Exactly. If the idea begins to spread that Israelis and Palestinians can get along, it's going to put groups like Hamas and the others out of business. And nobody wants to see their life-long "career" in terrorism going down the crapper.

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Jake pretty much covered my thoughts. History has shown that sports and politics often go together and usually to the detriment of both. The boycott of Moscow's Olympics is a perfect example. For so many athletes (especially when the athletes were still 'amateurs') the Olympics was the culmination of years of dedication to sports with little financial incentive. When we boycotted Moscow, many athletes lost out on competing in the event they had dedicated years to. Politically it solved nothing..Afghanistan was still a Soviet occupied country. The United States had to respond to the Soviet invasion but Jimmy Carter decided on a symbolic protest rather than taking any real measures(economic...not military) against the Soviet Union.

 
At 11:28 PM, Blogger patrickafir said...

I also like when almost half a million dollars in U.S. taxpayer cash goes to pay for one of their soccer stadiums, and they name it after the head of the Munich killers, Black September. Maybe Spielberg can do a film about this inspirational story.

 
At 11:31 PM, Blogger patrickafir said...

By the way, a war was once fought (ostensibly) over soccer. It was called, fittingly enough, The Soccer War.

 
At 1:59 AM, Blogger Rory said...

Patrick,
Only the so-called Palestinians could get away with that crap. Maybe the Saudis should name a soccer stadium after Osama, and let's see what sort of reaction that gets.

I'm not really surprised there was once a Soccer War. Soccer fans are some of the biggest hotheads in the world. My uncle used to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv, which was then the Israeli national team (actually, I think, in those days, it may have been the ONLY team). But, when he came to this country, he was surprised at how subdued, by comparison, American sports fans seemed to be.

 
At 3:17 PM, Blogger drummaster2001 said...

rory:

your responses about other incidents of politics' involvement in sports is true. there are many examples, and most seem to deal with the olympics- not an unusual coincidence because it is an international competition.

 

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