Britain must speak out against Olympic bigotry on women, and Israel
Saudi gender apartheid and Muslim nations' hatred of Israel getting the green light from the IOC for the London Olympics
Earlier this week, Bob Blackman MP wrote a superbly argued piece urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to commemorate the 1972 Munich massacre of Israeli athletes at this summer’s games in London.
Of course, the IOC will do no such thing. Like most international bodies (sporting or otherwise) it is far more concerned with indulging the anti-Zionist bigotry of the Arab and Muslim world than doing the right thing by the families of a bunch of pesky Jewish athletes who had the temerity to get themselves slaughtered.
But the grossness of what the IOC will not countenance finds a telling mirror image in terms of what it will countenance, as revelations this week of its appeasement of Saudi Arabia’s gender apartheid testify clearly.
The Daily Telegraph reports that a meeting in Quebec on Thursday of the IOC board on the matter ended in stalemate, meaning that Saudi Arabia will, in all probability, not send a single female athlete to the London Olympics.
It was the last opportunity for the IOC to impose sanctions and they will now rely on persuading the Saudi authorities to at least send a token woman to save them from a roasting by rights groups. (They’re said to be optimistic since the tokenism strategy has worked with Brunei, which may send one woman athlete, and Qatar, which has agreed to send as many as two!)
In the context of the IOC’s deference to sexism, the Telegraph article (the only one on the subject that I have so far seen in the British or European media) quotes the following from the IOC charter: “any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, sex or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement”.
But as with so many bodies in the international community, where such noble statements of principle conflict with prevailing prejudices in Islamic nations – whether against Israel or against women – they are rendered null and void.
Both issues should be cause for great concern among people of goodwill the world over. But, as this year’s host nation, there is a particular obligation on Britain to protest against such shabby practices and make it clear that though they may be in line with IOC values they are not in line with British ones.
So, will Prime Minister Cameron rise to the challenge? Or will he skulk in silence on the sidelines, proving right those of his critics who say that this is a prime minister who doesn’t really stand for much at all?
Robin Shepherd is the owner/publisher of The Commentator. Follow him on Twitter @RobinShepherd1
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