By Arlene Bridges Samuels, CBN Israel—
Due to COVID-19’s untimely appearance last year, the Tokyo Summer Games are still called the 2020 Olympics. Ninety athletes—55 men and 35 women, Israel’s biggest delegation yet—are vying for medals in 18 sports. The games begin tomorrow, July 23, and last until August 8, offering sports fans worldwide the thrill of watching competition from dedicated, disciplined athletes proudly carrying the flags of their nations.
For the first time, Israelis are participating in archery, surfing, equestrian, and baseball events. Israel’s 24-member baseball team plays their first game against the United States team! Israel’s fans can choose from a smorgasbord of 18 events that include gymnastics, judo, shooting, surfing, swimming, taekwondo, and triathlon, among others. The Paralympics follow close behind on August 24-September 5, adding to Israel’s inspiration and accomplishments showing their skills in kayaking, power lifting, and wheelchair tennis, among others.
Olympic competitions are often electrifying, and the personal stories of the athletes stir hearts all over the globe. Israeli competitors are no exception. The young athletes are exemplary role models. They press on toward high goals to represent the world’s only Jewish state—despite a backdrop of past Olympic anti-Semitism and terror.
Indeed, spoken anti-Semitism, the parent of terror acts, is again at work. This, despite the particularly warm welcome from Watari, Japan, as Israelis’ host city. Israeli flags have flown at Watari’s city hall for two years since they signed on as hosts—because Israel was the first country to send medical help following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011. We can only hope and pray that other nations, media, and athletes will follow Watari’s grateful example.
However, anti-Semitism has escalated, infesting the world even further with slander and terror during last May’s Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians.
Ignoring—or ignorant about—Israel’s humanitarian aid to Watari and many other spots on the globe, Spain’s TV3 sports reporter Clara Basiana slandered Israel. At the June 13 pre-Olympic games in Barcelona, Spain, Israeli swimmers Eden Blecher and Shelly Bobritsky had just won the fourth slot in the Women Duet Artistic Swimming Qualification, earning their ticket to Tokyo.
The Israeli duo had barely climbed out of the pool and dried off when Basiana said, “Israel’s international presence in the field of sport and culture is another strategy for the laundering of genocide … against the Palestinian people.” Her anti-Semitic comments didn’t end there: “It seems that during these events, the war crimes of the Israeli state disappear. We have to be aware as spectators and make this situation visible so as not to normalize it.”
Unfortunately, it is anti-Semitism that is normalizing. Continue Reading…