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PMW submits complaint to International Olympic Committee against head of PA Olympic Committee

Itamar Marcus  |
  • Jibril Rajoub re Algerian athlete’s refusal to compete with Israeli: “This expresses the real and deep-rooted Algerian affiliation with Palestine, with the cause of Palestine. The best of blessings to the Algerian people and blessings to this great athlete.”

  • In supporting athletes who refuse to compete against Israelis, Rajoub breaches principles 4 and 6 of the Olympic Committee’s Charter, and Articles 1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4 of the IOC Code of Ethics.

While Iranian born judoka Vahid Sarlak, now in exile, hugged Israel's judo coach Shani Hershko in a message of peace, and Iranian born judoka Saeid Mollaei, now exiled and competing for Mongolia, dedicated his Olympic silver medal to Israel, Palestinians, on the other hand, were cheering the Arab/Muslim athletes who forfeited their matches and withdrew from the Olympics because they did not want to compete with an Israeli and recognize Israel's existence.

The most prominent Palestinian to cheer the boycott of Israeli athletes, which violates the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Charter and Code of Ethics, was Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee Jibril Rajoub. He praised Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine for withdrawing from the competition rather than face an Israeli, when speaking to an Algerian radio station:

“There is no place for meeting with anyone who is connected to this official terror (i.e., Israel), not in sports and not outside of sports. I hope that this will be a message to all the Arabs who are normalizing and those who are rushing [towards normalizing ties with Israel].”

The next day Rajoub visited the athlete and made another statement:

Jibril Rajoub: “This (i.e., Nourine refusing to compete against an Israeli) expresses the real and deep-rooted Algerian affiliation with Palestine, with the cause of Palestine. The best of blessings to the Algerian people and blessings to this great athlete [Nourine]. We wish you all the best, calmness, and stability.”

As opposed to Palestinian support, the International Judo Federation immediately suspended the Algerian and his coach:

“Following the draw of the judo competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Fethi Nourine and his coach Amar Benikhlef gave individual statements to media announcing their withdrawal from the competition to avoid meeting an Israeli athlete. The immediate response of the IJF Executive Committee was to form an investigative commission which confirmed all the facts, leading to a temporary suspension of the athlete and the coach and assigning the case to the Disciplinary Commission of the IJF for further investigation, judgement and final sanctioning beyond the Olympic Games.”

[https://www.ijf.org/news/show/fethi-nourine-and-amar-benikhlef-disciplinary-sanctions]

Rajoub’s statement openly supporting the boycott of Israeli Olympic athletes breaches the “Fundamental Principles of Olympism” of non-discrimination and the Olympic spirit, as set out in principles 4 and 6 of the Charter, and are in clear breach of Article 1, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4 of the IOC Code of Ethics.

PMW has submitted another complaint to the International Olympic Committee calling for disciplinary measures against Rajoub.

Click here to view PMW’s complaint

In 2018, PMW submitted complaints to the International Football Association, FIFA against Rajoub, who is also one of the top PA leaders, which led to his suspension and being fined. Rajoub then held a press conference to attack Palestinian Media Watch, calling PMW's director "the Goebbels of the 21st century," and blaming PMW for his being fined and suspended by FIFA. He declared that Palestinian Media Watch is "waging this war [against me] on all fronts."

The following is text and Rajoub’s video statements that he posted on his own Facebook page supporting the Algerian athlete:

Posted text: “[Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee] #Jibril_Rajoub to the #Algerian Oran radio [station]. He relates to Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine withdrawing (i.e., refusing to compete against an Israeli) and honors his heroic position opposing normalization [with Israel].

#Long_live_Palestine

#Long_live_Algeria”

Video:

Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee Jibril Rajoub: “First, this (i.e., Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine refusing to compete against an Israeli) expresses the real and deep-rooted Algerian affiliation with Palestine, with the cause of Palestine. It also reflects the Algerian people’s firm decision that Palestine and the official Israeli aggression and terror that Palestine is facing - There is no place for meeting with anyone who is connected to this official terror, not in sports and not outside of sports. I hope that this will be a message to all the Arabs who are normalizing and those who are rushing [towards normalizing ties with Israel] (see note below -Ed.). Unfortunately, some of them are even rushing to make contracts with Israeli sports in the shadow of the oppression, the blockade, the complications, and the limitations that it is imposing and to which the Palestinian athletes are being subjected. Sir, the best of blessings to the Algerian people and blessings to this great athlete [Nourine]. We wish you all the best, calmness, and stability.”

[Facebook page of Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee Jibril Rajoub, July 24, 2021]

The following is another video and text posted on Rajoub’s Facebook page the following day after he traveled to greet the Algerian:

Video:

Text on screen: “Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine rejects normalization and supports the Palestinian cause

The Algerian judoka announced he was withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics

in order to avoid a potential encounter with the Israeli athlete

[Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee] Lt. Gen. Jibril Rajoub visited the judoka where he was staying and thanked him for the loyal Algerian affiliation with Palestine”

Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee Jibril Rajoub: “This (i.e., Nourine refusing to compete against an Israeli) expresses the real and deep-rooted Algerian affiliation with Palestine, with the cause of Palestine. The best of blessings to the Algerian people and blessings to this great athlete [Nourine]. We wish you all the best, calmness, and stability.”

Text on screen: “Nourine expressed his firm position regarding the Palestinian cause while refusing to shake hands with the Israeli athlete.”

Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine: “Our position is firm and we are not retracting it. There have been Olympic Games, but Allah willing, My Lord will compensate me. The announcement [of my suspension by the International Judo Federation] came out of the blue. It was a light trauma, I did not expect it, but Allah be praised, the Palestinian cause must be above all else. We will not raise the Israeli flag and will not shake their hands.”

[Facebook page of Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee Jibril Rajoub, July 25, 2021]

Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party likewise highlighted the Sudanese judoka for refusing to compete against an Israeli:

Posted text: “Japan: Tokyo Olympics – Sudanese judoka Mohamed Abdel Latif [Abdalrasool] withdrew from the games because he opposed facing the Israeli athlete.”

The image shows Sudanese judoka Mohamed Abdalrasool.

Text on image: “Sudanese judoka Mohamed Abdel Latif [Abdalrasool] withdrew from the games because he opposed facing the Israeli athlete”

[Facebook page of the Fatah Commission of Information and Culture, July 26, 2021]

Official PA TV likewise highlighted the Algerian athlete who refused to compete against an Israeli at Olympics:

Official PA TV host: “On to the social media corner for today and the most prominent topics that were shared and spoken about on social media, which also went crazy over a number of video clips monitoring the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, including that which relates to Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine – one of the prominent wrestlers in Algeria and Africa – withdrawing from the Olympic Games, because he refused to compete against an Israeli athlete. He appears in this video during a reception held for him by his audience and those who love him, accompanied by calls of ‘Palestine and its Martyrs.’”

Text on screen added by PA TV: “A festive reception for the Algerian who refused to compete against an Israeli in the Olympics”

Crowd: “Palestine – the Martyrs!”

[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, July 31, 2021]

The official PA daily published a column by Muwaffaq Matar, Fatah Revolutionary Council member and regular columnist for newspaper saying that the Algerian and Sudanese achieved “Gold medals in Arabness – Tokyo 2020”:

“Two events that have taken place until now at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are enough to say ‘checkmate’ to the normalization agreements, the Abraham Accords (see note below -Ed.), which were organized by [former US President] Donald Trump, Balfour the Second (refers to former British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour -Ed.), the mind behind the newest colonialist plan to subjugate our Arab world, starting with Palestine. Trump wanted to pair the colonialist and racist occupying Zionist system, which is called ‘Israel,’ with the system of Arab regimes whose knowledge of Arabness only amounts to speaking Arabic. This is in order to create generations of hybrids in whose dictionary the terms rootedness, principles, values, and noble positions do not appear.

‘Checkmate’ – this is what two Arabs said in the greatest global meeting of popular diplomacy: Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine and his comrade in the [judo] department Sudanese Mohamed Abdel Latif [Abdalrasool], who decided with the support of the Algerian and Sudanese [judo] associations that they prefer to withdraw from the Olympics rather than compete with an Israeli judoka. [The Israeli] drew a match with Algerian Arab Fethi Nourine, and afterwards drew a match with Sudanese Arab Abdel Latif, who received the gold medal of the pan-Arab and human national conscience, which adopts the just Palestinian cause. In the eyes of the Arabs, [this medal] is worth all the gold medals at the Olympics, despite their significance, because in competing against an athlete affiliated with the system of occupation, colonialism, and racist laws, there is a historical loss after which there is no value to any kind of victory in any sports department…

Every noble Arab citizen from the [Atlantic] Ocean to the [Persian] Gulf feels positive envy for the two Arab champions, Algerian Fethi Nourine and Sudanese Mohamed Abdel Latif, just like he envies the shine of the gold medal of Tunisian swimmer Ahmed Hafnaoui (i.e., Hafnaoui won the 400m freestyle gold medal), even though each of the champions won their gold medal in their own way.”

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 27, 2021]

Israeli peace agreements with the UAE and Bahrain – an agreement normalizing diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), called the Abraham Accords, was announced on Aug. 13, 2020, under the mediation of US President Donald Trump. Following the UAE, Bahrain signed a similar peace agreement with Israel, as was announced on Sept. 11, 2020. Pursuant to the Abraham Accords, Israel and the UAE will discuss bilateral cooperation on a number of topics. In exchange for the agreement, Israel agreed to suspend its previously announced plans to apply Israel's civilian law to parts of Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley as per the Trump peace plan. The US announced that “Muslims throughout the world who wish to come in peace to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque, will now be able to fly to Tel Aviv through Abu Dhabi to do so and will be welcomed.”