Boycotts of Israel in sports

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Boycotts of Israel in sports refer to various diqualifications and denial of Israeli athletes. Due to the Arab–Israeli conflict, Israeli athletes and teams have been barred from some competitions. In many worldwide competitions, where Israel does take part, such as the Olympics, some Arab and Muslim competitors avoid competing against Israelis. Some[vague] countries even force their athletes not to compete against Israelis or in Israel.

Contemporary examples[edit]

Mushir Salem Jawher, a Kenyan-born marathoner, lost his Bahraini citizenship after competing in the Kinneret Marathon in Israel.

2009 saw an increased amount of full or partial boycotts of Israeli athletes, probably related to Arab/Leftist fury over Operation Cast Lead. Tennis star Shahar Peer was denied a visa to participate in a tourament in Dubai, leading to comments from stars like Serena Williams and Andy Roddick that were critical of the Dubai authorities' decision (Roddick pulled out of a tournament in the country afterwards); after a response that included a cable network cancelling its coverage of the event and a large fine for the Dubai Tennis Authorities, Dubai did issue a visa for Israeli tennis player Andy Ram to compete that year. In further tennis-Israel related news, authorities in Malmo wanted to cancel a Davis Cup match between Israel and Sweden because they didn't want the Israeli team competing in the city, but an unwillingness to accept a Swedish forfeit (which would have eliminated Sweden from the competition) led to barring spectators from the match instead.

Supporters of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movements also tried and failed to have Israeli teams barred from the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics, and have also advocated for Israel to be expelled or suspended from FIFA. Israel's position as part of the European-focused group of FIFA's regional sets is based on a boycott itself, since the Asian Federation expelled Israel in the 1960's at the behest of the numerous Arab/Muslim nations who are part of that group.

Despite the country's international political issues, a growing[vague] number of Arab athletes are joining domestic Israeli sports teams and the international teams, including the Israel national football team. These include Rifaat Turk, Najwan Ghrayib, Walid Badir, Salim Toama, Abbas Suan, amongst others. Another Arab-Israeli, Johar Abu Lashin, born in Nazareth, was an IBO Welterweight champion.

Individual sporting boycott[edit]

Since the 21st century, Israeli athletes competing in tournaments have faces boycotts by athletes from Muslim countries, speculated[by whom?] to be the result of political interferences.

Date Country origin Retired athlete's name Israeli athlete's name Sport type Event Official reason for retiring
17 February 2001[1]  Iran Hamed Malekmohammadi Yoel Razvozov judo 2001 World Judo Championships
26 July 2001[2]  Tunisia Sadok Khalki Arik Zeevi judo 2001 World Judo Championships
22 June 2003[3]  Iran Iran national five-a-side soccer team Israel national five-a-side soccer team soccer 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games
15 August 2004 [4]  Iran Arash Miresmaeili Ehud Vaks judo 2004 Summer Olympics
4 August 2005[5]  Iran Iran U-21 men national basketball team Israel U-21 men national basketball team basketball FIBA Under-21 World Championship Visa issues
6 July 2006[6]  Indonesia Indonesia Fed Cup team Israel Fed Cup team tennis 2006 Fed Cup
28 January 2007[7]  Iran Ahmad Ksanfandi (referee) Gal Yekutiel judo 2007 Tbilisi judo Open
19 July 2007 [8]  Kuwait Mohammed al Ghareeb Amir Weintraub tennis 2007 Togliatti challenger Stomach problems
18 September 2007 [9]  Iran Mehdi Mohammadi Ilia Shafran amateur wrestling 2007 World Wrestling Championships
10 August 2008 [10]  Iran Mohammad Alirezaei Tom Be'eri swimming 2008 Summer Olympics Indigestion
15 August 2008 [11]  Syria Bayan Jumah Anya Gostomelsky swimming 2008 Summer Olympics
28 July 2009[12]  Iran Mohammad Alirezaei Michael Malul swimming 2009 World Aquatics Championships
30 September 2009[13]  Iran Mohammad Hossein Ebrahimi Tomer Or fencing 2009 World Fencing Championships
1 October 2009[13][14]  Iran Ali Fadja Slava Zingerman fencing 2009 World Fencing Championships Retired from entire competition
1 October 2009 [15]  Iran Mohammad Mohazzabnia Tomer Hodorov tennis 2009 Kenya Futures F1
7 February 2010 [16]  Kuwait Kuwait men's national pool team Israel men's national pool team pool 2010 Hanover world team A championship Food poison of 4 players
4 April 2010[17]  Iran Iran youth national volleyball team Israel youth national volleyball team volleyball 2010 International Volleyball Tournament Pordenone
10 April 2010[18][not in citation given]  Iran Meisam Bagheri Moty Lugassi taekwondo A-Class Belgian Open 2010
28 April 2010[19]  Iran Iran men's national table tennis team Israel men's national table tennis team table tennis 2011 Luxembourg Table Tennis championship
21 May 2010[20]  Iran Ali Shahhosseini Misha Zilberman badminton 2010 Spanish Open
15 August 2010[21]  Iran Mohammad Soleimani Gili Haimovitz taekwondo 2010 Summer Youth Olympics
4 November 2010[22]  Iran Hamed Sayyad Ghanbari Maor Hatoel fencing 2010 World Fencing Championships
4 November 2010[22]  Iran Mohammad Hossein Ebrahimi Kobi Hatoel fencing 2010 World Fencing Championships
5 November 2010[23]  Iran Hamed Sedaghati Ido Herpe fencing 2010 World Fencing Championships
5 November 2010[23]  Iran Sadegh Abedi Grigori Beskin fencing 2010 World Fencing Championships
5 May 2011 [24]  Algeria Zakaria Chenouf Adam Sagir taekwondo 2011 World Taekwondo Championships
24 July 2011[25]  Iran Mohammad Alirezaei Gal Nevo swimming 2011 World Aquatics Championships Tiredness
20 August 2011[26]  Iran Iran men's national volleyball team Israel men's national volleyball team volleyball 2011 Summer Universiade
11 September 2011 [27]  Iran Ghasem Rezaei Robert Avanesyan amateur wrestling 2011 World Wrestling Championships
18 September 2011 [28]  Iran Javad Mahjoub Or Sasson judo World Cup Tashkent 2011
1 October 2011 [29]  Algeria Meriem Moussa Shahar Levi judo World Cup Women Rome 2011
1 October 2011 [29]  Algeria Rahou Abdelmalek Artem Masliy boxing 2011 World Amateur Boxing Championships
10 October 2011 [30]  Iran Shervin Tolouei Oren Bassal fencing 2011 World Fencing Championships
5 November 2011 [31]  Iran Kaveh Mehrabi Misha Zilberman badminton 2011 Puerto Rico International Challenge
21 July 2015 [32]  Iran Saber Hoshmand/Abbas Pourasgari Sean Faiga/Ariel Hilman beach volleyball 2015 FIVB Grand Slam Yokohama injury
7 August 2016 [33]  Saudi Arabia Joud Fahmy Christianne Legentil/Gili Cohen judo 2016 Summer Olympics sustain injuries to her arm and leg during training; ostensibly dropped out of match with Christianne Legentil of Mauritius to avoid match with Gili Cohen in next round
27 January 2017 [34]  Iran Majid Hassaninia  ??? karate 21st Open de Paris - Karate Premier League "what is of paramount importance to every Iranian athlete is his/her beliefs plus support for the defenseless Palestinian nation"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ אורי טלשיר 26.07.2011 13:00 עודכן ב: 14:42 הוסף תגובה (26 July 2011). "חוקי החרם: מסורת של החרמות ישראלים בתחרויות בינלאומית – ספורט – הארץ" (in Hebrew). Haaretz. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  2. ^ ג'ודו: זאבי ניצח באיפון יריב טוניסאי בסיבוב הראשון באליפות העולם. Ynet (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv. 26 July 2001. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "Sport / Special Olympics". Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  4. ^ הג'ודוקא האיראני: 'פרשתי כהזדהות עם הסבל הפלסטיני' [Iranian judoka: 'I retired in solidarity with suffering Palestinians']. Ynet (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv. 14 August 2004. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Livnat, Arie. "Basketball / Iran pulls out of U21 tourney to avoid match-up against Israel". Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "ITF fines Indonesia $31, 600 for canceling match vs. Israel – Tennis". 15 November 2006. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Maddy, Bruce (29 January 2007). "Iranian official refuses to referee Yekutiel's ...". Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "טניסאי כוויתי סירב לשחק מול אמיר חדד". Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  9. ^ Haas, Sa'ar (18 September 2007). היאבקות: האיראני לא עלה לקרב, לשפרן זה לא עזר [Wrestling: Iran did not fight, ...]. Ynet (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Mohammad Alirezaei | InTheMoment". Momentmagazine. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  11. ^ Schuman, Benjamin (15 August 2008). "More Politics in the Olympic Pool | InTheMoment". Momentmagazine. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  12. ^ Haas, Sa'ar (28 July 2009). "Iranian swimmer refuses to race Israeli contender at worlds". Ynetnews. Tel Aviv. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Hipsh, Rami. "Fencing / Iran keeps up Israel boycott, forfeits again". Haaretz. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  14. ^ "ספורט – ענפים נוספים nrg – ...סייף: עוד איראני בחר לא". 3 October 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  15. ^ "ספורט – טניס nrg – ...פוליטיקה גם בטניס: האיראני לא הופיע". Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  16. ^ Aharoni, Oren (2 July 2010). פוליטיקה בפול: נבחרת כווית פרשה מאל' העולם. Ynet (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  17. ^ כדורעף: איראן סירבה לשחק נגד נבחרת הנוער [Volleyball: Iran refused to play against the national youth]. Ynet (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv. 4 April 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  18. ^ "בת-אל גטרר ומוטי לוגסי זכו בארד באליפות גרמניה". Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  19. ^ "ספורט – ענפים נוספים nrg – ...טנ"ש: שוב איראן פרשה, ישראל". Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  20. ^ Aharoni, Oren (20 May 2010). בדמינטון: האיראני החרים את הקרב מול הישראלי [Badminton: Iran boycotted the Israeli competition]. Ynet (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  21. ^ "Political victims at Youth Olympics; more Olympic notes – Brian Cazeneuve". Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  22. ^ a b Aharoni, Oren (11 April 2010). חרם איראני כפול באליפות העולם בסיף [Iranian boycott fencing world championship double]. Ynet (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  23. ^ a b Aharoni, Oren (11 May 2010). סייף: האיראנים בשלהם, חטואל וזמלין בשלב הבא. Ynet (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  24. ^ "Algerian judoka boycotts Israeli in World Championship". Echorouk Online. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  25. ^ Associated, The. "Swimming World Championships / Iran's team dives into Israel boycott". Haaretz. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  26. ^ "איראן לא הופיעה למשחק מול ישראל והושעתה". Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  27. ^ "Iranians disqualified for refusing to wrestle Israelis". Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  28. ^ "כסף לפלצ'וק באל' אירופה, חרם איראני בטשקנט". Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  29. ^ a b Aharoni, Oren (10 January 2011). אחרי איראן, ספורטאים אלג'יראים החרימו ישראלים [After Iran, Israel boycotted by Algerian athletes]. Ynet (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  30. ^ Aharoni, Oren (10 October 2011). "סיף: איראנים לא הופיעו לקרבות מול ישראלים" [Sabre: Iranians did not appear to compete with Israelis]. Ynet. Tel Aviv. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  31. ^ Aharoni, Oren (11 May 2011). פרק נוסף בחרם האיראני: הפעם - בדמינטון [Another chapter in Iranian boycott this time – Badminton]. Ynet (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  32. ^ Results/Schedule. FIVB. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  33. ^ "Saudi judoka forfeits Rio match, apparently to avoid Israeli". 7 August 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2016. 
  34. ^ "My beliefs precede quest for medal: Iranian karateka". 28 January 2017. Retrieved 28 January 2017.