Antisemitic bigotry and intolerance has once again reared its ugly head — this time at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The incident in question occurred after an Olympic judo match on Friday when Israeli champion Judoka Ori Sasson approached Egyptian fighter Islam El Shehaby in the hopes of shaking his defeated opponent’s hand.
Instead, El Shehaby snubbed him by backing away, thus provoking the audience into loudly booing his clear-cut lack of sportsmanship.
According to The Wrap, the aggrieved Egyptian also refused to bow, a big no-no to the International Judo Federation, which considers bowing to be a mandatory “signal of respect.” As a result, the federation has launched an investigation into El Shehaby.
What’s so telling about this whole incident was that the Egyptians did not want El Shehaby to even participate in the battle in the first place.
“My son watch out, don’t be fooled, or fool yourself thinking you will play with the Israeli athlete to defeat him and make Egypt happy,” a respected Islamist TV host from Egypt had announced a day before the fight. “Egypt will cry; Egypt will be sad and you will be seen as a traitor and a normalizer in the eyes of your people.”
There’s a word for this sort of intolerance: hate. Radical Islamists from many countries hate the Israelis. Earlier in the week, for instance, a Lebanese team reportedly refused to ride in a bus with Israelis.
How sad. The Olympics are designed to not just showcase athletic talent, but to also allow the world’s many nations to come together for a shared moment, however brief, of solidarity and friendly competition.
Unfortunately, some antisemetic bigots refuse to allow this to happen — even once every four years.