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Olympics: Iranian Defector Dedicates his Medal to Israel

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by rocketsjudoka, Jul 28, 2021.

  1. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    Was going to post this in the Hangout thread but might be too controversial for there.

    This has been a situation with Judo and a few other sports for awhile with athletes from Muslim countries withdrawing rather than compete against Israelis. In this Olympics an Algerian and Sudanese Judoka pulled out of competition rather than possibly fight an Israeli. In some cases they've competed against Israelis but refused to shake hands or acknowledge the Israeli.

    Mollaie himself left Iran after he was pressured to pull out of international competition rather than face an Israeli.

    I saw the Gold Medal match where Mollaei lost to the Takanori of Japan. It was a great match but also great sportsmanship shown by Takanori at the end of the match when he held up Mollaei's arm after the match.

    Just a note on the article title. I disagree with that this is a rebuke to anti-Semitism as Iranian and other Muslim athletes have competed against Jewish athletes representing other countries. This is about the politics of Palestine and that sports should transcend politics.

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/iran...aL6LEUXL9aeG1rMVEj3XiQkjyTRn0_R1QdNy7ts2Q4vHw

    Iranian Defector Dedicates Olympic Judo Medal To Israel, Thanks Country In Hebrew In Sharp Rebuke To Anti-Semitic Competitors

    An Iranian defector who won an Olympic silver medal in judo bucked the trend on Tuesday, dedicating his medal to Israel and thanking the country in Hebrew for his second-place finish in the men’s 81kg judo final.

    Saeid Mollaei “dedicated his first-ever Olympic medal to Israel and thanked the country for the support they have given him after a nail-biting final,” the Daily Mail reported Tuesday afternoon. “The judo world champion, who trained in Israel with their national judo team in the months before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, thanked the country in Hebrew as he dedicated his first-ever Olympic medal to Israel.”

    “‘Thank you to Israel for the good energy,” Mollaei reportedly told the Israeli Sports Channel after losing the final match to a Japanese athlete. “This medal is dedicated also to Israel.”

    Mollaei now competes for Mongolia after defecting to Germany during the 2019 Judo World Championships. He left the Iranian team, despite being one of the team’s up-and-coming stars after Iran’s minister demanded that he withdraw from a judo match rather than spar with an Israeli athlete — something at least two competitors have done this Olympics alone.

    The Israeli competitor he was ordered not to touch, Sag Muki, also competed in Tokyo but was eliminated early on after losing to a competitor from Austria. He had only praise for Mollaei, calling him his “close friend” and praising him for “achieving his dream.”

    As The Daily Wire reported Monday, at least two athletes have withdrawn from judo competitions in Tokyo rather than face an Israeli athlete.

    “Algeria’s Fetih Nourine withdrew from competition on Saturday rather than have to face Israel’s Tohar Butbul, who ended up finishing in 7th place after losing to an athlete from South Korea. Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalarasool did not show up to compete against Butbul during a scheduled match on Monday,” The Daily Wire noted.

    Nourine and his coach earned a temporary suspension from international competition for the display, but Nourine claimed “God will compensate” him for believing the “Palestinian cause is bigger” than an Olympic medal.

    “We have worked hard to qualify for the Games, but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all that,” he said. “My position is consistent on the Palestinian issue, and I reject normalisation, and if it cost me that absence from the Olympic Games, God will compensate.”

    “We were unlucky with the draw, an Israeli opponent came out and that’s why we had to withdraw, we made the right decision,” Nourine’s coach, Amar Benijlef told an Algerian television network, per Middle East Eye. “We have worked hard to qualify for the Games, but the Palestinian cause is bigger than all that.”

    Mollaei’s presence in international competition has, recently, been enough to cause ire in Iran. After Mollaei represented his new home country of Mongolia at a competition in Israel earlier this year, the “President of the Iranian Judo Federation Arash Miresmaeili expressed regret that ‘a foolish athlete’ and ‘hollow champion who only thinks of his personal interests has gone to Tel Aviv and is proud of it,'” according to the Daily Mail.

    “This is not an honour but a stain of shame on your forehead that will stay with you forever, because you have turned your back on the ideals of the system, on your homeland, and are proud of it,” Miresmaeili said.
     
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  2. ThatBoyNick

    ThatBoyNick Member

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    I’m just glad the uranium detector didn’t sound off on the olympics medals...
     
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  3. fchowd0311

    fchowd0311 Contributing Member

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    I don't know the value in leaving one oppressive regime just to praise another oppressive regime.
     
  4. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    If athletes make a personal choice to withdraw from competition against Israelis as political protest, I have no problem with that. But if they are being pressured to do so from the outside -- which appears to be the case here -- that is not a good thing. The value here is his willingness to not allow himself to be boxed in by such external pressures and to take a stand for individual liberty and expression. He said nothing about any regime or politics. He thanked Israel, which served as a host country for him during his Olympic training. Why should that be understood as a commentary on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which perhaps he has no strong feelings about one way or the other?
     
  5. fchowd0311

    fchowd0311 Contributing Member

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    He could of thanked specifically the Israeli people or fellow Israeli athletes but he does praise the entirety of Israel which does include the apartheid regime.
     
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  6. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    Do you think that in general someone should never thank a country by name, because it would be tacit support for every oppressive policy enacted by that country?

    Anyway, to me this dedication is partly to do with expressing appreciation for the support Israel gave him, but it's also an F U to Iran for trying to turn him into a pawn in their conflict against Israel. He's basically asserting that he can express gratitude to whomever he likes for reasons that are meaningful to him, and he doesn't care if others have a problem with that. I respect that stance.
     
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  7. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    To what extent were Israeli anti-Iranian politics a factor in the decision to host a defecting Iranian Olympian? I think you can't really excise the politics from this.
     
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  8. Major

    Major Member

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    If he had been allowed to train in the US and thanked the US, would that have implied he supported everything Trump did?

    He's a judo competitor, not a politician. He was on the Iranian team initially - he just left simply because he wasn't being allowed to do what he loves. Someone else helped him achieve his dream so he thanked them for that.
     
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  9. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    There certainly may be something to that and I don't know enough about how tightly controlled the Israeli Judo organization is with the government.

    I've trained with Israelis individually and from my experience I don't think they would have a problem with training with an Iranian athlete especially someone who has been a very good international competitor. In general most Judo schools are open to training with others from all sorts of countries. When I trained in Singapore with their national team one of the coaches was an Iranian and there were Israelis training there too. As a university coach and player my schools hosted Russians, people from the PRC, and the former Syrian National Team coach.
     
  10. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    FYI. While Judo isn't as popular in the US it is one of the most popular sports worldwide and if I recall it has either the most or second most countries competing in it at the Olympics of all the sports. It even has members of the refugee team competing in it.

    Both Iran and Israel have long Judo traditions with both countries having won multiple medals.
     
    #10 rocketsjudoka, Jul 28, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2021
  11. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Insider Newsletter™ 2X Diamond Member

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    Doesn't seem kosher for Muslims to play with jew dough
     
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  12. tinman

    tinman Contributing Member
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    bro,
    the D&D thinks everyone is obsessed with politics and former presidents.
    i made a simple thread about a rap artist telling people to put the cell phones in the air in miami.
    someone how that's related to people who don't listen to rap.
    @Os Trigonum

    the 99ers are still the most cultured people on Clutchfans, but i think we're the most cultured people on the planet now.
     
  13. fchowd0311

    fchowd0311 Contributing Member

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    I'd rather be obsessed with politics than spamming the same joke for...


    20 years.
     
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  14. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    Probably their Judo organizations aren't playing politics. But for an Iranian to get a visa to enter Israel, he'd basically have to get a special dispensation. It would not be surprising an Olympian would get one precisely for this gotcha moment. Not that the Iranians are any better or anything. But you'd have to think Mollaei understands how Israel gets one over on Iran when he trains with Israel, wins, and thanks Israel. So I can't help but assume he was deliberately giving Iran a poke in the eye. Which is fine.
     
  15. Major

    Major Member

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    Or maybe he doesn't care one way or another and just wants to compete in Judo and appreciates that Israel helped him do that?

    Israel's motives and his motives don't have to be the same.
     
  16. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    Some more info. The IJF banned Iran for four years retroactively going back to the 2019 incident where Iran pressured Mollaei to forfeit a match against an Israeli at the World Championship. If Mollaei had remained with Iran he likely wouldn't have gotten the chance to compete at the Olympics this year.

    https://www.reuters.com/world/middl...-by-international-judo-federation-2021-04-30/

    Iran handed four-year ban by International Judo Federation

    April 30 (Reuters) - Iran was given a four-year ban by the International Judo Federation (IJF) for "repeated and very severe breaches" of the organisation's statutes after it pressured one of its fighters not to face an Israeli athlete.

    Judo's world governing body imposed the ban on Thursday after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last month lifted a previous indefinite suspension and ordered a disciplinary review.

    The IJF had previously sanctioned Iran in October for putting pressure on fighter Saeid Mollaei to withdraw from the world championships to avoid a potential final round against Israeli contender Sagi Muki.

    Mollaei, a 2018 judo world champion, subsequently fled Iran - which does not recognise Israel's existence - for Germany where he was granted refugee status, and later became a citizen of Mongolia.


    Iran appealed the decision to CAS, which ruled that although Iran committed "severe violations", the unlimited suspension imposed on the country had no legal basis and referred back to the IJF's disciplinary commission for further decisions.

    "The Disciplinary Commission considers that the status of IJF member of IRIJF should be provisionally withdrawn for a period of four years, i.e. a full Olympiad," the IJF said in a statement.

    The ban is backdated to start in 2019 and will run until 2023.

    The IJF also said it "continues to defend fundamental human values and rights of all its members, with a special emphasis on the rights of athletes and reiterates its commitment to fight against any form of discrimination in the sport of Judo."
     
  17. tinman

    tinman Contributing Member
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    You think these fat art history dropouts know what judo is?
    You can stick your foot out and they think it’s judo
     
  18. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    I've been posting here for decades now (I'm getting old and have wasted much of my life) I would hope more people know what Judo is.
     

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