I’m not a fan of competitive sport - or any other type of competitive pursuit, so watching the Olympics is not my thing, but I couldn’t help noticing these Olympics-related stories.
Obviously, there’s the bus war.
The Lebanese contingent refused to let the Israeli contingent board ‘their’ bus. (Or perhaps it was just a bus that the organisers had laid on for - you know - athletes)
Well, the BBC did at least report this incident , and what’s more they gave it a reasonably fair headline.
It’s better than “Israeli athletes invade Lebanese bus” or some such. After all, aren’t Israelis renowned for Jewifying everything? “Judaisation”, Yolande Knell calls it.
The main body of the article dives straight into a kind of justification for the Lebanese contingent’s appalling behaviour:
“Lebanon and Israel are officially at war and have no diplomatic relations.”
So that’s okay then?
“Lebanese Minister of Youth and Sport Abdel Motaleb Hannawi told a Lebanese news site that this was not the first time Israel has attempted to embarrass a Lebanese delegation in this kind of circumstance. He praised the delegation’s behavior, Nakoula’s specifically. “His stance was principled and patriotic,” he said.
Nakoula became the hero of the day in Lebanon after the incident was publicized. The Al Mayadeen and Al-Manar news networks, both associated with Hezbollah, gave Nakoula praise, with the latter also interviewing him. Hezbollah supporters and officials praised him on social media, with one Al-Manar broadcaster tweeting, “The Israelis were sent away from the bus because normalization (with Israel) is not to be had in any form, and because the Lebanese identity (is that of) resistance. Be proud to be Lebanese.”
…… and left the impression that Israelis should, once again, be regarded as interlopers on ‘other people’s’ buses.
Another story caught my eye, this time about problems concerning swimming pools.
" The Palestinian Olympic Swimming Pool-Sized Lie."
“Introducing the Palestinian swimmer Mary al-Atrash, media outlets were quick to note that the young athlete was challenged not only by the rigors of training for the Olympics but also by the fact that the occupation had cut off her access to a proper 50-meter-long pool, the standard Olympic size. Such stately facilities, the media informed its outraged viewers, were simply not available in Palestine.”
According to ‘Tablet’, this wasn’t quite the case, as she could have had access to a number of suitable pools. But Palestinians never miss an opportunity to blame Israel for all their woes, especially when there’s a sympathetic ear to hear it and a willing voice to spread it around.
Oddly though, certain women in Luton, yes, that’s Luton UK., are denied access to their Olympic size pool (for cultural reasons) but not to worry. It’s only on Fridays.
It seems that the IOC has reprimanded the head of the Lebanese delegation, Al-Haj Nakoula, who apparently responded that the whole incident was the result of a misunderstanding.
Doesn’t say precisely what the nature of the misunderstanding was, but a separate source said that Lebanese athletes are "committed to the national position in refusing to be in the same place as the Israelis." He added that Lebanon will remain part of the resistance against Israel.
I fail to see where a misunderstanding comes into the picture. Am I missing something?