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« Tunnel Operators Fire Rockets and Gaza's Humanitarian Crisis | Main | The Guardian's Israel Obsession »

Sunday, June 13 2010

ESPN Columnist: Time to Boycott Israeli Sports

Israel_olympic_team On his way to South Africa to cover the World Cup, ESPN columnist Kevin Blackistone calls for a sports boycott of -- guess who -- Israel.

Maybe a sports boycott of Israel, where sports are beloved the same as in South Africa, could help foster a round of truly meaningful peace talks between Israel and Palestinians. Maybe such a collective effort could exercise the same leverage on Israel that it did for nearly 30 years with South Africa . . .

A sports boycott would certainly intensify the world's spotlight on Israel's approach to dealing with its occupied territories, just like it did South Africa's defunct government's dealings with its occupied peoples.

Why single out Israel? Countries with far worse records on human rights are doing quite well in the world of organized sports. Consider this:

If Blackistone and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement have their way, this would put a crimp in Udi Sommers' proposal for Israel and the Palestinians to jointly host the 2020 Olympic Games in Jerusalem.

(Hat tip: Israel Matzav)



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I intend to boycott ESPN.

There is a simple name for this -- anti-semitism.

Holding Israel to a standard and level of criticism much, much higher than any other country in the world.

I'm South African, and I can tell you that the sports boycott had very little to do with the end of Apartheid. Yes, it made us look bad, but the government didn't really care about looking bad, they already looked bad.

What ended apartheid was the constant threat of civil war, and the realisation by the government that the costs of maintainging the system and damping down rebellion were too high in both monetary and human terms.

That being said, I don't think one can draw parallels between South Africa and Israel in this regard - two very different situations.

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