During the Rio games, you may have seen on social media a video of the end of an Olympic judo match pitting Israeli Or Sasson against Egyptian Islam El-Shehaby. After the match, as the victorious Sasson went to shake hands with his opponent – which is customary but not required by the rules of judo – the Egyptian refuses and backs away.
Whereas most of the commentary focused on El-Shehaby’s atrocious sportsmanship, it should instead be focused on the culture of Jew-hatred that causes Israeli athletes to be treated this way with appalling frequency and the failure of international sport governing bodies to discourage the behavior.
The Egyptian judoka’s breach of etiquette would be inexcusable in any competition, but is particularly egregious at the Olympics. But condemning that behavior without also condemning its context merely helps perpetuate it.
Israeli athletes – in professional and amateur sports of all kinds – deal with this kind of discrimination all the time. At this Olympics alone, a Saudi athlete withdrew rather than face an Israeli; and the Lebanese delegation refused to allow the Israeli delegation on a bus they were assigned to share. Reactions to the bus incident have reliably run along the lines of “who thought it was a good idea for Israel and Lebanon to share a bus?”