The Shmooze

Iranian Swimmer Skips Race Against an Israeli

By Nathan Burstein

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images

An allegedly anti-Israel boycott by an Iranian swimmer has set off a wave of recriminations in Israel.

The episode started yesterday, when Iranian sprinter Mohammed Alirezaei, rather than compete against Israeli swimmer Gal Nevo, skipped a 100-meter breast stroke heat at the world swimming championships in Shanghai.

Nevo, whose first name means “wave” in Hebrew, responded angrily to Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, saying it was time for FINA, the world swimming body, to “deal with” Alirezaei, who he said had boycotted races against Israelis twice before. (The Iranian swimmer skipped a race at the 2008 Beijing Olympics against Israeli swimmer Tom Beeri, citing illness — an explanation the International Olympic Committee accepted.)

Nevo failed to advance to the next round, ranking 45th out of 83 swimmers. But he told Yediot Aharonot he was “happy I beat the Syrian and Lebanese [swimmers] because every Jew should defeat Arabs.”

The comments elicited a sharp reaction from Arab-Israeli MK Ahmad Tibi, himself no shrinking violet. Tibi described the remarks as emblematic of broader racism in Israeli society, but singled out sports in particular as a bastion of Israeli bigotry. Nevo’s “statements prove that a muddy wave of racism is washing over Israel and penetrating sport,” Tibi said. Despite Nevo’s remarks, Israel’s national swim team is not seeking punishment for Alirezaei. Cornel Marculescu, FINA’s executive director, says the swimming association is investigating the nature of the Iranian’s withdrawal.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Yediot Aharonot, Swimming, Mohammed Alirezaei, Gal Nevo

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • This deserves a whistle: Lauren Bacall's stylish wardrobe is getting its own museum exhibit at Fashion Institute of Technology.
  • How do you make people laugh when they're fighting on the front lines or ducking bombs?
  • "Hamas and others have dredged up passages form the Quran that demonize Jews horribly. Some imams rail about international Jewish conspiracies. But they’d have a much smaller audience for their ravings if Israel could find a way to lower the flames in the conflict." Do you agree with J.J. Goldberg?
  • How did Tariq Abu Khdeir go from fun-loving Palestinian-American teen to international icon in just a few short weeks? http://jd.fo/d4kkV
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.