The event occurred in September. The video first hit YouTube in October. Over the past week it has been appearing on various blogs, though generally speaking only blogs with a dedicated or regular focus on Israel and Jewish issues. There is an old lesson in that, right there. My hat tip goes to Z World Blog, where I first saw the video, though several blogs I read, and others, have now reported on it.
Big news? No. Essential news? Yes. An Israeli weightlifter, Sergio Britva, wins first place at the World Masters Weightlifting Championships in Poland. The Iranian competitor, Hossein Khodadadi, takes second place. On the awards stand Khodadadi refuses Britva’s offered hand of sportsman-like congratulations. The moment the playing of the Israel national anthem ends, Khodadadi turns his back and steps off the podium.
We do not know if Khodadadi’s personal feelings played any role in his actions. Subsequent events show us – as if we should need at this point to be shown – that he had reason to fear the consequences, whatever his personal feelings, of any fellowship with an Israeli. Street Journalist informs us
Mir Rasool Raisi, Head of Delegation to Iran’s Weightlifting Team, and Hossein Khodadadi, a veteran weightlifting champion, have been banned from all sport activities for life. Mr. Khodadadi appeared on the platform beside an Israeli weight champion during the Poland competitions.Jalal Yahya-Zadeh, head of Physical Education Committee for Youth Committee announced this news and and added: “The fact that an Iranian weightlifting veteran has competed against an Israeli during the worldwide competitions and has stood beside him during the distribution of medal is unjustifiable.”
Mr Raisi has stressed the accompanying members of the Iranian expeditionary team had destroyed all CDs and photos and did not expect happening of such matter.
Physical Education and Youth Committee has stated the Cultural Commissioners have been informed and the president has also been warned of such matter.
Mr. Yahia-zadeh has recommended to the safeguard organization of the Physical Education Committee to prevent such matters from happening.
Ben Cohen at Z Word offered,
I don’t know whether the Polish producers of the broadcast understood the enormous historical resonance here, but it really has to be seen.
What resonance? Well, to fully appreciate, the third place finisher was a German, who shook the Israeli’s hand. The event and incident transpired in Poland. An Israeli Jew stood in athletic victory, in Poland, beside a German who congratulated him and stood by his side as the Israeli national anthem played, while an Iranian, as a matter of state policy, spurned the Israeli in the latest iteration of historical anti-Semitism.
While some on the international scene sincerely congratulate themselves, and others cynically so, on perceived historical advances of the world political order, this pathetic (yet, also, complexly, quite glorious) scene transpires to little subsequent attention. There are nations in the world – whole national cultures – driven by anti-Semitic animus? Well, there are typhoons and earthquakes, too, no?
At more or less the same time, now, we have the affair of the anti-consumerist Vancouver-based Adbusters magazine, produced by the Canadian Adbusters Media Foundation, which describes itself as “a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age.” Hat off to Ben on this one too:
Jonathon Narvey of The Propagandist has written a compelling, if sadly nauseating, series on the effort by Adbusters – a Vancouver-based alternative media network – to associate the State of Israel with the crimes of Nazi Germany through a photo essay comparing Gaza with the Warsaw Ghetto. Sounds like that would win some awards in Tehran, at least. Read Jonathon here, here and then here.
Follow Ben’s links to Narvey. The tell the whole repulsive, unfolding story. You will get along the way a video of Warsaw ghetto life and one of little reported Gaza life. There is also this priceless comment from an emailer to Adbusters Editor Kalle Lasn, who is currently crying censorship because the Shoppers chain of stores in Canada has removed Adbusters from its shelves. Wrote one Michael Ross,
Free speech also means allowing others to hold your views in the contempt they deserve and to heap scorn on your ahistorical and one-sided obsession with the Jews.
You have to laugh at the hypocricy of a lefty magazine editor who cries over the loss of corporate sponsorship. You are nothing, if not the author of your own satire.
I would alter “lefty” to “bogus social activist,” but otherwise, as Narvy comments, that’s it “precisely.”
- Shoppers Drug Mart removes Adbusters magazine (theglobeandmail.com)
- Canadian chain pulls allegedly anti-Semitic magazine (jta.org)
- Iran nuclear program on “explosive” path: Saudi Prince (reuters.com)
- Op-Ed: On Israel delegitimization, media matters (jta.org)
- Anti-Semitism, history’s ‘lethal obsession’ (cbc.ca)
- Popular Iranian Blogger faces Death Penalty for Criticizing Government (dailybloggr.com)