The Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) has welcomed the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) decision that it would strip Malaysia of its right to host the upcoming World Para Swimming Championships, after Malaysia announced that it would ban Israeli athletes from competing – the only country in the world whose athletes were to be excluded.
The ZFA acknowledges the IPC’s statement that the Paralympic Movement is one which is motivated to drive inclusion, not exclusion. The Australian Paralympic Committee also deserve to be commended for their strong public stance released prior to the IPC decision.
President of the ZFA, Jeremy Leibler congratulated the IPC Governing Board for its clear and principled stance against Malaysia on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“The Malaysian Government is led by an openly antisemitic Prime Minister who has openly referred to Jews as having ‘hooked-noses’ and grossly minimised the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust. The Malaysian Prime Minister’s public defence of his government’s outrightly discriminatory action to ban only Israeli athletes from participating, is another event in his long-documented history of stone age views regarding Jews and Israelis,” Mr Leibler added.
In addition to banning Israeli Paralympians, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad also declared that no Israeli would be allowed to enter Malaysia.
“The decision to strip Malaysia of hosting the World Para Swimming Championships is not only the morally correct one, but an important step in unifying different nations through sports, free of politicisation and discrimination,” Mr Leibler remarked.
“Athletes on the Israeli team will now have the dignity to compete, proudly representing their country like everybody else. We wish the Israeli Paralympians all the best in the upcoming rescheduled championships, wherever it may be hosted,” Mr Leibler added.
“Sadly, this is not the first time a country has tried to boycott Israel by preventing it from participating in sporting or cultural events. We hope this IPC decision sends a clear and strong warning to other countries who consider placing political agendas above sporting codes and competitions,” Mr Leibler concluded.
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