Economist

Economist twists story about Egyptian racism into lie about Israeli “apartheid”


A serious journalist who wished to provide an analysis to news consumers on the recent Olympic scandal involving an Egyptian judoka who refused to shake the hand of his Israeli competitor may have contextualized the incident by noting endemic Egyptian antisemitism.  Indeed, though Cairo and Jerusalem signed a peace agreement in 1979, and ties between the two countries (on the governmental level) have never been closer, there is little if any sign that Egyptian animosity towards Jews – not just Israelis, but Jews qua Jews – has waned.

In 2011, a Pew Global poll revealed that only 2% of Egyptians had favorable attitudes towards Jews.

More recently, an ADL commissioned poll reported that 75% of Egyptians held antisemitic views – a sign of an entrenched hatred that persists despite the fact that there are almost no Jews left in the country.

Yet, remarkably, the Economist’s “N.P.” (presumably Nicolas Pelham), in ‘Politics hogs the Olympic spotlight‘, Aug. 15, ignores Egyptian antisemitism in his report on the conduct of the Egyptian athlete, and does his best to turn the story into one of Israeli hypocrisy.

Signs of Pelham’s impatience with Israeli ‘claims’ of Egyptian racism are evident throughout the article.  After citing additional examples of athletes from Egypt (and other Arab countries) refusing to compete with – or otherwise showing disdain towards – Israeli athletes, Pelham derides the suggestion that Israelis are the victims, mocking those “Israeli athletes” who “might cheer the free pass they gain when Arabs refuse to compete against them“.

“Free pass”?  For which crimes do Israeli athletes require such impunity?

Later, Pelham responds to Israeli accusations of antisemitism against Egypt by protesting that “Israel’s holier-than-thou protestations” about the behavior of Egyptian athletes “risk sounding shrill”.

Then Pelham writes:

Yisrael Hayom, Israel’s leading newspaper and a mouthpiece for Mr Netanyahu, gave copious space to a campaign demanding that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) sever ties with Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestine Olympic Committee. A former head of the Palestinian security forces, Mr Rajoub has coordinated closely with Israel in the past. Yet the newspaper called him “a terrorist”.

However, it is not just a claim by one newspaper that Rajoub is a terrorist, but a clear and unambiguous fact.  They “called him a terrorist” because he was in fact arrested and convicted in 1970 for membership in a terrorist group, and of throwing a grenade at an IDF patrol.  Though he was later released in a prisoner swap, he served several more prison terms in the 1980s for terror activity.

In addition to his past terror convictions, Palestinian Media Watch has documented Rajoub’s continuing glorification of Palestinian terror.

Pelham ends his article with an extraordinarily propagandistic and simply fantastical moral inversion – informing readers that it is the Israelis – and not the Egyptians – who should be on the defensive about racism.

The Middle East is not unique. Politics and the Olympics have gone hand-in-hand for a century. After the first world war, the IOC banned the losing axis of Germany, Austria and Turkey, and barred Germany and Japan again after the Second World War. America and its allies (including Israel) boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980 after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. South Africa too was kept out from 1964 to 1988 on account of its apartheid white-supremacist rule. As Israel builds higher barriers between Jews and Palestinians in areas it occupies, the boycotters find the South Africa analogy particularly apt. 

Of course, “apartheid” has absolutely nothing to do with “higher” security barriers between two separate national communities. It involves a legally codified system of racial segregation within a country – a dynamic completely absent from the progressive, multi-ethnic democracy of Israel.  

Within this explicit lie, however, lays a much bigger implicit lie.  Pelham – by citing examples of other historical boycotts – seems to be suggesting that the decision by Arab athletes to ‘boycott’ Israeli athletes can at least arguably be seen as a justifiable moral stance against an intrinsically racist country.  The historical ‘context’ provided by the Economist journalist is not an Arab world which can’t let go of intellectually crippling medieval antisemitic calumnies, but of Jews allegedly guilty of racism and supremacism.

Pelham would not defend antisemitism as such, but within the foundation of his apologia for Egyptian hatred of Israelis rests at least the hint of a historically familiar alibi:  People hate Jews not because of who they are, but because of how they behave.

125 replies »

  1. have a look at the two pieces in The Times today and yesterday on then house demolition in Israel. The headline change is so very revealing of that newspaper and that journalist’s antipathy towards Israel.

      • Should Britain, the United Kingdom be hated for its actions too?

        Should Socialism be hated for its actions?

      • Farmer,
        e-i-e-i-o
        and on his farm he slopped the hogs
        e-i-e-i-o
        with an “oink, oink” here
        and an “oink, oink” there
        here an “oink”
        there an “oink”
        everywhere a racist Nazi “oink, oink”
        Michael Farmer had a farm
        s-t-i-n-k-o

        • Poor Jeff, after showing us your poetry skills are non-existent I can now tell you that my surname doesn’t come from agriculture.

          Today you’ve learned something.

          Now off you go and write on a toilet wall … seems to be your calling🙂

  2. “People hate Jews not because of who they are, but because of how they behave.”

    Almost. People hate?(no. dislike/condemn!) Israeli-Jews not because of who they are, but because of how their state behaves.
    Cohen, who runs a Chemists in town ISN’T hated. He doesn’t occupy … nor abuse.

    • “People hate?(no. dislike/condemn!) Israeli-Jews not because of who they are, but because of how their state behaves.”
      Then Farmer these ‘people’ just like you are racist scum.

      Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (as amended), is clear that the definition of a racial group is;
      “A racial group means a group of persons defined by reference to race, colour, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origins.”

      So, Farmer when obnoxious anti-Semitic scum like you and your ilk show your hostility towards Israelis because of their nationality, the justification you use for the hostility does not matter, you are breaking the law in England and Wales.

    • While your verbal diarrhea seems to have amused you, I would like to point out that you haven’t said anything that remotely related to this post, so I’ll give you a helping hand (not that you deserve it): an Egyptian athlete was a complete unsportsmanlike asshole towards an Israeli athlete, and he got hit with a richly earned backlash ranging from the crowd booing him to the IOC sacking him from being in Rio, and that’s that. If Israeli athletes were as miserable and nasty as Cairo’s judoka was, not to mention the even more disgusting Lebanon team (who would have a few medals if bus-blocking was a sport here, but have 0 of them in Rio b/c it’s not), I’d say so. Strongly suspect you would to. I just don’t need to be an asshole like you when it’s not called for.

      • Re. the ‘post’. Perhaps the Egyptian was under the impression that the Israeli contestant was a representative of the State of Israel. Given the distaste that many feel towards Israel for its actions it was always likely to happen. I don’t agree with his actions.
        Re. the Lebanese, given that Israel was responsible for the butchery of many innocent Lebanese civilians on several occasions they probably felt the same.

        Civility is sport IS important. Human lives are far more so.

        Re. the poll mentioned, I would agree with the statements….

        Jews are more loyal to Israel than to [this country/to the countries they live in].

        Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust .

        Jews don’t care what happens to anyone but their own kind.

        People hate Jews because of the way Jews behave? Almost, I think that people map Israel, which seeks to rename itself the ‘Jewish State’, and push that link, to ALL Jews because of how Israel behaves. Germans were once loathed because of how the Nazis behaved.

        You may class my views as anti-semitic where I would class the views as reasonable observations.

        Unfortunate that the poll didn’t replace ‘Jews’ with ‘Many Jews’ in the questions.

        True Ben, YOU don’t NEED to be an a****le.

        • That was a lame comeback. I fully support defending your views but nothing you wrote made me think you might have had a point. That’s the difference between a troll and an adversary.

        • “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to [this country/to the countries they live in].
          Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust .
          Jews don’t care what happens to anyone but their own kind.
          People hate Jews because of the way Jews behave? Almost, I think that people map Israel, which seeks to rename itself the ‘Jewish State’, and push that link, to ALL Jews because of how Israel behaves. Germans were once loathed because of how the Nazis behaved.
          You may class my views as anti-semitic where I would class the views as reasonable observations.”

          Farmer you are correct, as I have already told you your views, and you, are obnoxious and anti-Semitic.
          But that is not just my view Farmer, apart from the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, I quoted above. We also have the “Hate Crime Operational Guidance” manual produced by the UK’s College of Policing, a section of which is below;

          “Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in
          the religious sphere could include, but are not limited to:
          • calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical
          ideology or an extremist view of religion
          • making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about
          Jews as individuals or the power of Jews as a collective, including especially, but not
          exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the
          media, economy, government or other societal institutions
          • accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing
          committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews
          • denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (eg, gas chambers) or intentionality of the
          genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its
          supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust)
          • accusing Jews as a race, or Israel as a State, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust
          • accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of
          Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.”

          You Farmer are an obnoxious anti-Semite condemned by your own posts!

          • Gerald, the only one of your quoted ‘crimes’ that you could vaguely point at me is ….

            “• accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of
            Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.””

            though I didn’t ‘accuse’ … I agreed with a presented statement.

            I suppose similarly if anyone anyone in Britain thinks or agrees with the statement that ‘Muslims are more loyal to Allah/Islam than to the interests of Britain.’ they are committing a crime.

            Both are ridiculous possible ‘crimes’.

    • > Cohen, who runs a Chemists in town ISN’T hated. He doesn’t occupy … nor abuse.

      Mohammed, who runs a Chemists in town might support people who occupy, abuse, threaten with 9/11 scale attacks, hijack, bomb, shoot, stab, BEHEAD innocent people like Lee Rigby.

  3. I wonder how these racist morons reconcile the boycott of Jews by the Islamofascists started in 1947. That was before Israel regained it’s independence.

    The Islamofascist colonists have apartheid laws that make South Africa look good. It is time to end their colonization of Israeli territory

  4. If Arabs were confident they would win against JOOZ, the “sons of pigs and dogs”, they would gladly compete

    But the FEAR, the SHAME of an Arab/Muslim LOSING an athletic competition against JOOZ would be another slap in the face to Arab/Muslim “superiority”.

    They can’t risk it. They can’t risk being attacked by their countrymen when they go home.

    LOL!

  5. One capper to this story: there was a really good, thorough and fair article at ESPN today about poor sportsmanship at the Olympics, and you know why it was fair? It didn’t try to contort itself into knots like our troll friends by lying or pivoting to an unrelated topic or acting like a defense attorney for those poor (not)slandered jerks like the ejected Egyptian here. They just outlined with great clarity how many athletes have behaved like assholes, period, no debate about it. And they made the case that just as this story was not a basis for insults towards Israel unless you’re a Left-of-Left tosser, any athlete can be a great competitor and true sportsperson no matter what country they’re from. In short, please take the bigotry of no expectations behind the barn and put two bullets in its head, thank you.