WTA Dubai Tennis Event Kicks Out Israel’s Peer
by Richard Vach | February 15th, 2009, 2:13 pm

The WTA event in Dubai has flexed its oil muscle over the years, buying a top-level event on the WTA calendar, handing out hearty under-the-table appearance fees to get all the top player in attendance, and now in 2009 — denying players entrance to the draw based on their nationality — and getting away with it.
Player Shahar Peer had her visa for this week’s Dubai Tennis Championship rejected by the United Arab Emirates over the weekend because she is Israeli.

WTA CEO Larry Scott was quick to respond that the WTA has a “clear rule and policy” that tournaments cannot deny any player entry to a tournament based on their nationality, that Peer and her family are “obviously extremely upset and disappointed by the decision” — and that the WTA will let the Dubai event dictate the situation and go on as planned.

“Following various consultations, the tour has decided to allow the tournament to continue to be played this week, pending further review by the tour’s board of directors,” Scott said.

So it is a rule that the Dubai organizers were familiar with, and they knowingly broke it, but the show goes on? And rather than the tour saying ‘Peer plays this event, or we’re shutting this down,’ the response is, ‘OK, we’ll ‘let’ you do this, but we’re speaking about this later! Wait until your father gets home!’

Peer was reportedly assured by both WTA officials and tournament sponsors ahead of time that her visa would not be a problem.

The situation is still too new for many to respond to, but what about Peer’s fellow players? Are they going to stand for a tournament booting one of their own, or will their pocket their cash and give the standard ‘I’m here to play tennis, not get involved in politics’ reply (which is already what Ana Ivanovic has offered, rightly or wrongly so)?

Is it more than politics when your fellow players are flat-out denied jobs due to their nationality, clearly in violation of WTA rules? What if next time it is the Serbs, or Russians?

With a lack of tour leadership, how about some player leadership? Someone call Billie Jean King, because besides Peer and her family, no one seems to be too ruffled about a tournament (and a very powerful tournament at that, as Dubai Duty Free is one of the tour’s biggest sponsors) now making the rules.

“All the players support Shahar,” Venus Williams told the AP, adding the qualifier that “support” means following whatever the WTA does. “The players have to be unified and support the tour whichever direction they take on the issue.”

Apparently for the time being, the players will support no direction, and the WTA Tour gets a week of bad PR via poor damage control.

Speaking of things spiraling, the WTA will face ANOTHER big test of character next month in Indian Wells.

The strict new 2009 WTA rules say the top players must play all the top events, including Indian Wells. Indian Wells is where the Williams sisters say they will not play (and haven’t played for years) after experiencing what they termed a racist incident (getting booed after Venus pulled minutes before an all-Williams semifinal citing a knee injury. Poppa Richard Williams also claimed he heard racist remarks shouted from the crowd).

Rather than forcing the Williams to abide by the rules and play Indian Wells, the tour has created what many are calling the “Williams Rule,” where instead of playing the event they can perform certain media duties to promote the event or event location.

“It’s very unprofessional,” ESPN commentator Bud Collins said of the Williams sisters’ Indian Wells boycott, speaking to the Herald Sun newspaper during the Australian Open. “Athletes get booed, but they said they don’t care what kind of tournament it is, and they’re making the WTA bend. If it was anyone else who did that they would be fined and suspended.”

And if a Peer-type situation happened at, say, a little event like Hobart (‘No Kiwis in the draw! We don’t like Kiwis!’) or Budapest (‘We don’t like…anybody! Only Hungarians in the draw!’), would the WTA have immediately nipped it in the bud rather than letting a sponsor/tournament/nation blatantly break the rules?

Between Dubai and the Williams sisters, 2009 will apparently be a benchmark year in determining who in actuality runs the women’s tour.

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88 Comments for WTA Dubai Tennis Event Kicks Out Israel’s Peer

Bob Says:

The williams sisters and now the tournaments get to do whatever they want? Poor Peer, i like her, she in the middle and i hope they stand up for her.

Colin Says:

It is incorrect to say, as this article does, that there was a rule and Dubai broke it. That is to put the cart before the horse. Better say: Dubai has a long standing policy (a national policy not a tennis one) of not admitting Israelis. The tennis authorities must have known this when they agreed in the first place to a tournament being staged there, so it is they who have egg on their faces.

Richard Vach Says:

Amelie Mauresmo:
“It’s not acceptable,” said Mauresmo after clinching the Paris Open title on Sunday.

“I think sport should be above issues like that to do with religion and wars and whatever. I’m surprised.”

ladyjulia Says:

Peer was granted a visa to play Doha last year or the year before…so why not Dubai?

Sarah Says:

I have a feeling this is going to be a bigger story than either the WTA or the Dubai Open would like. A cursory search on Google News brings up a lot of articles and Op Eds about this….people are noticing and talking. And good, because this is ridiculous…poor Peer.

bobbynorwich Says:

To protest Sony Ericsson’s continued sponsorship of Dubai tournament after UAE denied a qualified player’s visa, contact its corporate officer in Sweden (International Headquarter) at this email address:

Åse Lindskog
Vice President, head of corporate public and media relations

Please post this name and email address on other forums that you read. Let’s get it going!

Colin Says:

ladyjulia, “why not Dubai?” Presumably because Doha and Dubai are two different places!
As for Mauresmo’s remark, she’s making the assumption many people (and the media) will make – that this is concerned with the Gaza problem. It isn’t, it’s an existing rule which wasn’t created by the tennis people. The US stopped THEIR OWN athletes from attending the Moscow Olympics, and would very likely now refuse entry to a Palestinian if they thought he or she was in any way a suppoeter of Hamas. It’s tough on the individual athletes, but these things happen, and arn’t anything new.

Colin Says:

My spelling is falling apart. I meant “supporter” and “aren’t”.

Mary Says:

Dubai, along with most arab nations, does not allow those holding an Israeli passport or entry stamp on their passports to enter it’s country.

This is not a new thing, it’s well known. Just because there was not a top Israeli player or they expected one to stay away does not excuse the WTA, hell even the the ATP, a tournament.
Larry Scott can kiss my ass.

Mary Says:

OOPs- should be excuse the WTA, hell even the ATP, from giving the country a tournament.
Larry Scott can still kiss my ass with his bogus press release.

Jamie Says:

Colin: True, this is above the athletes. Yes, it is a long-standing policy of the UAE. Agreed, the US has boycotted the Former Soviet Union and Olympic Games because of political inclinations. However, was the US right or is the UAE right in their actions?
What this exhibits is blatant politicizing of an event meant to be apolitical. It also shows a steep prejudice against Israeli athletes that has been extrapolated to Britain and Canada (and other countries perhaps) where university professors will not accept Israeli speakers or professors to come to their institutions of higher learning – for educational purposes. You are right – this is above tennis. What it does show it that policies by governments like the UAE increase hostility amongst nations – but more unfortunate, they become a basis of accepted bigotry when world organizations such as the WTA cedes to their rules and does not stand up for equality among the athletes slated to play a fair match. Dubai knew the WTA’s rules when they accepted to host the tournament. It is their obligation to follow through with their contracts signed with the WTA and not use the tournament as a soapbox to voice sentiment or rouse their disapproval of Israel by making an example of someone who happened to be native to Israel.

Sam Says:

Before it was allowed to host WTA tournament, UAE, like every other hosting nation, had to agree to WTA rules requiring hosting country to allow any athlete qualified by ranking to participate.

I hope after this WTA would drop the racist tournament, or perhaps settle for a hefty fine (with some of it going to Peer) making clear next time the tournament will be dropped.

But a lot of money is involved and in addition many people seem to think that arabs should not be held to the same standards as other people, so I am not holding my breath.

Debra Gardner Says:

This is just wrong anyway you look at it. If the WTA knew about the Dubai rule beforehand, they should have questioned it before even allowing the tournament to be there; if Dubai knew about the policy of _all qualified athletes playing there, but decided to ignore it, then shame on them. What’s Shahar Peer get out of this? Some lost days of work and public embarrassment! Dubai should at least have to pay a fine of the amount that Shahar Peer would have gotten for just being there. It wouldn’t make up for much but they should at least be held accountable.

Lowell Says:

Poor Peer, boo hoo. But I wonder how many Arab kids have been denied entry into the tennis profession due to the fact that they’re dead thanks to the Israeli military. They’re the ones you should feel sorry for. Incidentally, I wonder if Peer killed any Arabs when she was serving in the Israeli military.

Ryan Says:

Like I said before……..nadal never faced any real competition( murray or djok) in AO other than a nervous old ass federer and a roided verdasco who doesnt have the talent of a murray or djok….Now he got thrashed in the ABN rotterdam final by nurray
6-3, 4-6, 6-0……hahahaha

Ryan Says:

I wonder wat happened to fed is afraid………come out come out where ever u r……

Ryan Says:

And then this whole tendinitis issue is one big back up excuse in case he loses….he has been wearing that strap for over a year and he is only getting better and winning more titles with it.
I think those straps are just fake.

fed is afraid Says:

at least nadal lost with dignity and class, and went down fighting, unlike crybaby fed.

Ryan Says:

went down fighting…..6-0 in the third….hahahaha

TD (Tam) Says:

Regarding the Middle East, when you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas. The WTA shouldn’t be sanctioning tournaments in countries like Dubai in the first place.

Bud Collins is right about the Williams sisters, if it were anyone else they’d have been fined heavily for their un-professionalism. The WTA has always favoured those two girls above all others so I’m not surprised by how much they get away with.

Fish Snaps at San Jose Winner Stepanek; Sampras Beats McEnroe Says:

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Von Says:

Serena is another one that has used her knee as an excuse for anything that ails her or whatever she does or doesn’t want to do. In fact, both sisters have been pulling out the old injury card whenever they deem it necessary to get themselves out of a scheduling problem. This is very bad for the women’s tour and I’m sure it causes resentment among the other players.

The Williams sisters are supposedly “religious” being Jehovah’s Witnesses, but they’re being extremely incongruent by harboring unforgiveness for a perceived wrong done to them after so many years. When does it all end? I blame the WTA for waltzing around them by providing them with alternatives. It’s a shame there’s so much politicking happening.

Ryan Says:

“The Williams sisters are supposedly “religious” being Jehovah’s Witnesses, but they’re being extremely incongruent by harboring unforgiveness for a perceived wrong done to them after so many years”

I think its the fact that even today africans are considered to be the lowest class in society that pisses them off more than history itself…..Obama is a relief for them but with women especially wen they dont look good it gives them an extra motivation to beat those who do.

Milo Says:

Since Rafa is on horse steroids — when the trainer came out to treat Nadal, did he look up to Uncle Tony to see if he wanted his injured horse to be “put down” vet style.?

Milo Says:

Can’t the Williams sisters use the “it’s that time of the month” excuse. Or, “I have a headache.” I always have women defaulting out of my bedroom with those tried and true favorites.

fed is afraid Says:

ryan-when did roger beat nadal last?
i rest my case.

MMT Says:

“Between Dubai and the Williams sisters, 2009 will apparently be a benchmark year in determining who in actuality runs the women’s tour.”

The real question is “what” runs women’s tennis, and the answers is the same as men’s tennis – money. The reason they’re playing in Dubai, as Sean pointed out, is because of money. They have it, and the WTA and all their players want it. They’re so attached to it, they won’t even consider cancelling the event. Next year? Who the hell knows what will happen next year. Maybe they’ll put the tournament and put it into horse-race, for all we know.

The WTA, its leadership and players, are at fault for accepting that this tournament goes forward without one of their fellow professionals. If they had an principle, other than the filling their own coffers, someone would have the guts to boycott the tournament.

What would Dubai do if all the players in Dubai convened a meeting and agreed to a resolution to boycott the tournament if Peer is not allowed to play? They’d fold, because they’ve already invested in the event, and even rich people need to make a return. But since too many players are happy to go home with a big appearance fee and prize money, that hasn’t happened.

This is sad and wrong and the WTA and it’s players are to blame for taking the money and running without any remedy for one of it’s fellow professionals.

Daniel Says:


I have to say that somedays you are the highlight of this forum. Your quotes are hilarious!

This one is priceless:

“Can’t the Williams sisters use the “it’s that time of the month” excuse. Or, “I have a headache.” I always have women defaulting out of my bedroom with those tried and true favorites.”

SG Says:

This situation can only be described by one word…”DISGUSTING”. You’d think that the upper crust which = management of the WTA would have learned something from the recent economic meltdown. Everyone matters. Not just people with the power and will to abuse it. I love tennis but for the moment, the WTA is off the menu for me. How can any self-respecting group of people let this happen to one of their own? It is further proof of the selfishness that permeates pro sport. Somewhere, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks are turning in their respective graves. Two thumbs up to the UAE for clearly pointing out where the enemy of freedom truly lies. Let’s hope that someone has the courage to erase them from the tennis landscape at some point in the very near future.

SG Says:

Trickle down politics…not just economics.

grendel Says:

“What would Dubai do if all the players in Dubai convened a meeting and agreed to a resolution to boycott the tournament if Peer is not allowed to play? They’d fold, because they’ve already invested in the event, and even rich people need to make a return. But since too many players are happy to go home with a big appearance fee and prize money, that hasn’t happened.”

I don’t think this is correct. You can certainly argue that the WTA should withdraw from Dubai. You cannot, however, pressurise the tennis authorities in Dubai to backtrack because they do not have the power.

The authorities of the UAE – whatever these rather westernised Arabs may think privately – are bound by the policies of most of the Arab world. They cannot afford to ignore them, and if this means losing a lucrative tennis tournament, so be it. The comments of people like TD(Tam) and Sam do not show any understanding of what is really at stake. Basically, two quite separate peoples claim the same terrain – that of Palestine/Israel.This is a deeply entrenched tribal question which elicits the most powerful emotions, not surprisingly since what is at stake – for both sides – is survival.

Americans, and to a lesser degree Europeans, have always been firmly on Israel’s side, seeing her as a plucky, embattled state. Fair enough, but this tends to mean that they, at best, caricature the position of the other side. Naturally, Arab apologists do the same. That’s the way with these irreconcilable positions.

In the Middle East, just because there can be no real compromise, only provisional ones which always break down in time – and this has to be the case when two people claim the same territory – you have to get by on fudge.

Often, this works. But every now and then, reality – this time in the shape of Ms.Peer – intervenes and upsets the applecart. There are no real villains just because the situation is intractable. So choices, probably uncomfortable ones, have to be made. But the idea of trying to lean on the authorities in Dubai won’t work.

SG Says:

Grendel…I completely agree. You can’t expect the UAE to change its policy. They are too deeply entrenched in their beliefs.

But, what should be expected is that the players within the WTA would step up for one of their own. Something which sadly has not happened. I just don’t understand it. The tour is so racially and ethnically mixed that you’d expect instant understanding of the situation. I actually believe there is something a little more sinister going on here. I’m not going to say it. I don’t think I have to. Players of the past have boycotted for money (equal pay for equal work). This lands along the same lines. Equal Opportunity. The mantra of pretty much every modern democracy. And yet the players from these democracies seem to take it all for granted. They’ve brought shame upon themselves and shame to the sport.

just asking Says:

Doesnt Federer live in Dubai? Where is his outrage? He needs to show real leadership and denounce this atrocious act. Is he an antisemite in disguise?

Andrew Miller Says:

Well, the WTA players could always do the right thing and pull out of the Dubai tournament and send a message to the tournament. That would tell the organizers how out of place their ideas are. But it looks like nobody is taking a stance here, outside of Shahar Peer.

Andrew Miller Says:

Correction: THE TENNIS CHANNEL has made an upstanding decision. They have probably lost some funding over dropping coverage of the tournament, but I got to give props to Ken Solomon of the Tennis Channel. That took some guts and let’s see what the WTA players do who are scheduled to play in it…

Andrew Miller Says:

Ok, I am going to take it a step further: the first player to withdraw from the Dubai tournament automatically becomes my favorite wta player for this year. If all of them withdraw, I would be thrilled. Sadly I think they will keep going. In that line, if they continue to play, and if a player wins the tournament and dedicates it to Shahar Peer, I will consider that player also to be someone helping the cause. If no one does anything…that is wrong.

Mary Says:

Andrew: thanks for posting about the tennis channel not airing it.

If people have an issue with this, contact the sponsors, a list of them is on the bottom of the wta site. Also, put in a word of thanks to the Tennis Channel, go to the “contact us” page.

This is not about being suprised about the neverending issues in the Middle East, the policies are nothing new. For me, it’s not about the politics,but the tour putting one of its members into such a position.
I take offense at BOTH tours allowing a tournament to be held in a place where one of its players would not be welcome.
This issue was raised when both tours decided to sign on with Dubai. As par the course, nothing was done.

fed is afraid Says:

federer is neutral. he is from Switzerland.

Jamie Says:

I agree -> while I do not blame the players for the current situation in the least, these situations come up in our lives from time to time. It might not be at a pro tennis tour, but it could be in the office or on the street with our friends/family. If something happens to someone you know or if someone at work is taking graft, would you stand up for what is right? It is an ethical question. I think that if but one player stood up and supported Shahar Peer (other than with words) and left the tournament, it would speak volumes to the WTA and the world community. It only takes one individual to make a strong statement.

jlocke Says:

Here is an important point for all of you who have posted and those just reading, Dubai does and has in fact admitted Israelis into the country. American Jews and Israeli Jews alike have been granted visas there. Peer’s reason for being there is one very much tied into business, which is in fact why dubai is building its infastructure. Israelis both for leisure and business have been there, why block her right there right now? This is an obvious reaction to the recent war in Gaza, and for a country like dubai that is trying to emerge on the world scene as a cultural and business powerhouse, they have really slipped here and let their rooted hatred of jews and israelis override their commerical goals, of which apparently judging from the size of their skyscrapers, is reaching for the stars. I say shame on the supposed moderate regime, they have shown their very real ugliness this week.!!

jlocke Says:

we look back on the olympics in munich with disgust, stand up womens players of the wta!!!!
dont sit idly by while fascism reemerges right beneath us!!!

margot Says:

Yes, I agree, women players should boycott the event but tennis is an individualistic sport and notions of the power of collective action probably don’t figure too highly on the circuit.
I think it’s a highly complex issue – sport, politics, freedom etc. eg. The Olympics took place in Bejing with hardly anyone thinking it was wrong and there you got all sorts of abuse of human rights in order for the games to be seen in a favourable light.

dmb Says:

this is outragious, and Richard is totally right to call it. regardless of who it was, this would be wrong, but to shahar peer, who in the australian open last year went against the wishes of her country to stay with the other girls like everyone else instead of letting herself be dictated by politics and stay alone somewhere is now being denied? scandalous. Here she is saying sport is bigger than nations and actually making a stand, and she gets it right back in the face. how cowardous of the dubai people. and how cowardous of her felow tennisers. what is worse? the bad or the good people seeing bad and do nothing? i was a ivanovic fan, i am no longer. i like people with character. for the love of god let federer and tsonga (my favourites) and the other tennisers do something. oh, and people comparing this to beijing got it mixed up. beijing was about the separation between sports and politics. yes there were human rights violations in beijing, but not to the sportsmen. sports were separate. Here they are not. it is an individual sport but that makes no sense either. in most jobfields, you have unions. If anything happens to your fellow colleague you go on strike. for multiple reasons. because you believe in principles and fairness, or the more selfish one, because next time, it could be you. if i should consider tennisers as a breed apart that are more selfish than the rest of the world tennis loses it’s charm.

dmb Says:

and to lowell and all others that come with the fallacy that so many arabs got denied because they were dead or that arabs (even the nondead) would have been denied too so there, you’re not making any sense and it is exactly this behaviour and logics that keeps the hatred going. I am forcefully against what israel does and has done. this is another matter. sports and politics. these have been separated since the first olympics were held. a sport event should be a politicsfree zone, where every sportsperson, of whatever nationality they may be should be allowed to compete. And If you see this rule being violated and arabs that play sports that do not get admitted somewhere, call out. But not like this. This is like a petulant child, going, ‘they’did it first…….

and hurray for the tennischannel and for amelie mauresmo.

Colin Says:

jlocke, would you care to explain why Dubai should not have a rooted hatred of Jews and Israel? The modern state of Israel was created (largely by the British, sad to say), by stealing land from the Palestinian Arabs. That, of course, was in the days when Britain ran the Middle East for its own benefit, before America started doing the same thing.
Another thing needs saying, I think. When we say sport shouldn’t mix with politics, what do we mean by “politics”? To most of us here, I suppose it means voting in elections and listening to campaign speeches fom the comfort of our homes. The people in Gaza have rather more serious things to worry about (as did Jews in Nazi Germany, or Russians whom Stalin didn’t approve of, or those who suffered when the US invaded Panama).

Ryan Says:

To fed is afraid:

Roger beat Nadal last at the end of 2007 at Shanghai masters…..or in other words wen fed was younger and closer to his peak year which was 2006. Now nadal is in his peak and fed is older and no longer the player he once was……. which is why nadal is winning against him.The age difference does count.You must be foolish not to see that.

To everyone else:

I think it would be best if all the middle eastern tournaments of the atp, be taken off the list. But it wont happen anyway coz at the end of the day the money makes the world go round.
Nobody is going to stand up for Peer’s cause coz players are only interested in getting their paychecks and going home.

grendel Says:

Sport is one thing. Literature is another. And then there is, say, music. How about science? Sex, too. Art, if you like. Anything else? Stick it in. Wait, what about politics?

No. Politics is not something extra. It has its grubby little fingers in everything, by definition. When we had the old battles against apartheid, often conducted on the fields of sport (rugby and cricket mainly), they were always saying:”Keep politics out of sport”. Didn’t make any sense then – except as a strategy – and doesn’t now. And this, regardless as to whose side you’re on. The Middle East is by far the most dangerous fault line in the world. In this scenario innocents, like Shahar Peer, will be hurt. There is a war going on, if you hadn’t noticed. And it is endless. Better be prepared.

margot Says:

Sorry dmb you can’t separate politics from sport.How can you if people were arrested at the Olympics because they were demonstrating against atrocities in Tibet? What were the athletes doing, going round with their eyes and ears shut? In fact I went off Fed because he said something like it was a shame about the demonstrations spoiling the spectacle. A shame! A travesty that people got thrown in jail so that we all got a nice smooth, spectacular Olympics more like.

kenny todd Says:

Larry Scott is garbage with the rest of the pathetic Middle East racists.

grendel Says:

“I went off Fed because he said something like it was a shame about the demonstrations spoiling the spectacle”.

Did Federer really say that? Well, it’s outrageous, of course. But I love Federer for his tennis. I’ll try and avert my eyes to what he does outside of it.

margot Says:

Fraid he did Grendel, probably best to try and ignore his politics as you say, but where do you draw the lines?
And dmb what do you feel about the Black Power salute at the Olympic Games in the sixties? For sure, politics and sport united in a defining and tremendously moving moment.

MMT Says:

With due respect, I must take issue with the following: “You can’t expect the UAE to change its policy. They are too deeply entrenched in their beliefs.”

If the UAE has chosen to be a part of professional tennis, they have done so of their own choosing. As such, they must abide by the rules of the WTA and ATP tours. If they want to have a tournament that requires the participation of qualified Israelis then they must ensure the granting the necessary travel documents or suffer the consequences.

This is not the US Open, which is run by the USTA, a private entity with no ability to affect immigration situations. And even so, the US has few laws preventing immigration for special events, and where they do, exceptions, arrangements, etc. are made as a part of an agreement to host. The US has no formal diplomatic relations with Cuba, but their athletes are allowed to play in international sports events hosted in the US.

This is the Dubai Tennis Championships, run by Dubai Duty Free, a function of the Department of Civil Aviation Authority in the UAE, and as such a government organization that has both the ability and responsibility to ensure that they meet their obligations to the community THEY seek to join. Nobody is imposing this on them, in which case we could argue they cannot be asked to make adjustments and/or changes. If they don’t wish to make those adjustments and changes, as is their right, then they cannot be a part of the larger community that requires those changes.

But more importantly, by giving voice to the reasons for which they may have taken their decision, you have tacitly skirted a simple principle that puts them clearly in the wrong – they have sought to be a part of the WTA tour and as such it is their responsibility to comply with its rules. End of story. The rest has nothing to do with it. If they don’t want to risk the wrath of whoever disagrees with them, that is their right, but the WTA tour doesn’t have to accept that either – and in fact they should. It sets a very difficult and dangerous precedent for an international organization like the WTA.

The reaons for Dubai’s decisions are irrelevant.
Allowing that to enter the equation makes an exception to a rule that every other event on the planet adheres to. If Israel banned a Palestinian tennis player from playing a tournament in Israel, the condemnation should (and would from my perspective) be the same. But once you start making exceptions for this situation or that, it implies that their particular political dispute is superior all other political disputes that other countries leave at the door step when they agree to host a tennis tournament. That is not correct.

They have to accept their responsibilities the same way every other country hosting events on tour have to.

SG Says:


You stated the following:

“The people in Gaza have rather more serious things to worry about (as did Jews in Nazi Germany, or Russians whom Stalin didn’t approve of, or those who suffered when the US invaded Panama).”

With all due respect, get your facts straight. There is no parallel between the Jews during WWII and the Palestineans. This is nothing more than an ignorant propaganda statment. Last I checked, there were no airports in concentration camps, no universities. No roads for cars. No elections either. The Jews had no representation anywhere in Europe to help them. The Palestineans freely elected a terrorist group to lead them and they are surrounded by their Arab neighbors. They made their choices. Here’s a piece of history for you. During WWII, the leader of the Palestineans (his name escapes me at the moment) was quite impressed with Hitler and his final solution. He wanted to exterminate the Jews in Palestine the same way. Before there ever was a state of Israel. This nonsensical belief that the UAE is somehow justified in its belief because they are supporting their Arab brothers against Israel is in reality, nothing more than the promotion of hate mongering. Egypt closed its border to Gaza. Some brotherhood. With family like that who needs enemies.

If any Arab player were to be denied entry to a tournament, I would be equally apalled. There is no place for racism in international sport. The UAE should be summarily wiped off the tennis map.

SG Says:

MMT Says:
With due respect, I must take issue with the following: “You can’t expect the UAE to change its policy. They are too deeply entrenched in their beliefs.”

What I meant was that you can’t expect biggots not to be biggots.

grendel Says:

If the Dubai authorities refuse to abide by the rules of the WTA and ATP, it is reasonable to expel them. They, the Dubai authorities, will of course do what they are told to do by their government.

What you are ignoring, however, is the fudge factor. Although it is never admitted in most of western official circles, it is actually well understood that Arabs generally do not accept the imposition of a Jewish state in what is seen as Arab land. So long as the Jewish state can defend itself – and it is, for the time being, overwhelmingly the superpower of the region – a kind of blind eye is turned to persistent Arab refusals to recognize Israeli citizens. Not a bad quid pro quo, one can imagine them saying. Yes, tough on Peer (latest incident)- but meanwhile, Israel is thriving, indeed expanding its territory ( creating “facts” on the West Bank).

It is simply childish, and also incorrect, to call Arabs racist and bigots for refusing to recognize Israel. Not only are you thereby dismissing a sizeable percentage of the world population, you are absolutely missing the point. The Arabs, Muslims generally, and Palestinians in particular regard the establishment of Israel as a plain robbery of their own land by people who are essentially Europeans. Jews, on the other hand, feel they are entitled to the land, either by biblical fiat, or because of the holocaust. We have an absolute impasse. Throwing words of abuse around may make you feel good, but you are not going to understand much. Amos Oz, the distinguished Israeli novelist has put it simply – two peoples claiming the same land, both with excellent claims. Result: unending tragedy, because you really can’t see an end to this one.

Meanwhile, why not expel the U.A.E from the WTA and ATP? In the light of the unending suffering of the Palestinians – a suffering which many decent and well informed Israelis acknowledge and are deeply ashamed of; and by the way, the Palestinians, perfectly ordinary moderate people elected an extremist terrorist group in despair; whatever they do, they are damned, hardly surprising they try the extremist option – yes, in the light of the terrible suffering of the Palestinian people, there is something peculiarly irrelevant in organisations like the WTA, etc. Important, perhaps, to the pampered, hypocritical and self-indulgent denizens of Dubai, but in a different universe, you know, to the hell of Palestine.

tennisontherocks Says:

I don’t want to comment about the arab-israel politics right now (not that it matters, but too much to type :)).

The problem here is once you agree to host an event, you must let all interested players an equal opportunity to play and must provide the necessary security to the players who enter. Now if the Dubai tourney does not have the political clout to make that happen, then they should just stop having a regular ATP/WTA tourney and focus on cash rich exhibitions…I am sure they will find many takers for that.

Having said that, I also don’t want to see reverse reaction of totally shunning middle east from the calendar. I would hate to see tennis fans anywhere deprived of the joy of watching their fav sport. But just find a place where ‘everyone’ is welcome and not sure if Dubai is that place.

grendel Says:

“If Israel banned a Palestinian tennis player from playing a tournament in Israel, the condemnation should (and would from my perspective) be the same”

Only goes to show that apparently evenhanded logic doesn’t necessarily make any sense.

Of course, Israel never would do anything like that. They have what they want – the land. Now they are in the position of law abiding people of property whose aim is above all to defend that property. How it was acquired is another matter, of course.

The dispossessed, which is exactly what the Palestinians of all people are, on the other hand have no big weapons and so, just like the Jews in pre-Israel Palestine, they engage in terror, largely futile, but it’s human nature. It’s the same everywhere, all times.

My belief is that Western official bodies – like the ATP etc – have a dim grasp of this and they do not wish to exclude a considerable part of the world from international tennis. So they are probably somewhat inclined to bend the rules – of course, there is no doubt the corrupting effect of money is to be taken into account, but I really don’t think it is just that.

The world is a messy place, and simple consistency as MMT enjoins not only is impracticable, it is isn’t even, according to some reasoning, consistent. That is because trying to abstract tennis from the actual world where real life and death struggles on a massive scale are taking place will never gain common assent.

By all means ban Dubai. That means nothing, one way or the other, to the stateless Palestinians. The day they are allowed to play tennis in their own, viable state – that is the day when international rules won’t exude the whiff of hypocrisy.


MMT Says:


The world is indeed a messy place, and that is why international organizations like the ATP must apply their rules equitably. That is why the tournament in Dubai should have been banned THIS YEAR. Future tournaments in Dubai as well.

Because the world is messy, full of age-old political disputes, the ATP cannot make an exception for the UAE in this case, because the precendent would be unmanageable and unfair to the individual athletes affected.

Imagine if the Zagreb tournament banned all Serbs? Or if the Ukranian tournament banned all Russians? And what if every country who disagreed with the war in Iraq banned all Americans? The tour would be completely unmanageable because it wouldn’t be fair to the individual players who suffer the consequences of being from one country that another country has a problem with.

I don’t think that’s the kind of professional tennis any of us really wants to see.

grendel Says:

As I have said, I don’t disagree with banning Dubai. The reason emotions run so high on this issue is because it really is a special case. Where else do two peoples claim exactly the same territory – and the people who have won are a thriving modern state, whilst the people who have lost are the damned, lost souls indeed. No wonder the rich layabouts of Dubai feel guilt, and do their little bit by banning Peer. Pathetic, huh?

Nevertheless, you are right. Order must be kept. One could wish, though, for a little less of sanctimonious attacks on the Palestinians. One thinks of the Victorian upper classes, not wishing to acknowledge the poverty and degradation in their midst. Why, they might even feel uncomnfortable should awareness dawn.

Meanwhile, an ironical note. When Dubai actually is banned, guess who’ll be most pleased? Of course, the extremists and terror brigade. All grist to the mill.

SG Says:


This is a forum about tennis. But I am perplexed by you using the term “whilst the people who have lost are the damned, lost souls indeed”. Be very careful about what you claim and how you claim it. Jerusalem was part of Jordan pre 67′. During that period, no Jew was permitted entry to visit Jerusalem. Jews were denied access to their most sacred religious site.

I am not going to dispute that The Dome of the Rock is an important place to the Arabs. But for Islamists, the holiest places are Medina and Mecca in Saudi Arabia. And Arabs, so long as they are Muslim, are permitted to visit their holiest sites regardless of where they come from.

It cuts both ways. Israel permits people of all faiths to visit Jerusalem. And they do this despite being surrounded by their enemies and at risk to their own safety. It seems that Israel has used a much more progressive view and perhaps for that reason, they are in the position they are in today.

I think it was Colin that was saying that the only reason Isreal exists is because of the colonial influence of Britain. A non-sensical argument. The USA, Canada and Australia all exist because of British colonialism. Not once have I heard anyone on this forum say anything about giving Canada or the US or Australia back to the aboriginals that lived there before the British arrived. The Palestineans have been given many opportunities for statehood. They have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportnity because their own leadership has failed them.

They will never get the land back. Ever. Just as the aboriginals in Canada, the US and Australia will never get their land back. It’s time to look forward now and do what’s best for their people.

SG Says:

And one other thing. There were Jews in the area called Palestine for a very long time. And if the Arab’s claims are historical, so are the Jews. One historical claim is as good as the next.

margot Says:

SG: your terrorist is someone else’s freedom fighter. The South Aficans imprisoned Mandela for decades, a man who spent his time bombing the Brits got to be Israeli PM. There are thousands of examples like these, it just depends on whose got the power at the time.

mary Says:

A country that will not allow all players should not hold a tournament. I agree with Colin, however, in that the people of Gaza have every reason to loathe the Israeli government and those that provide weapons to it (the US). Does Israel really expect that it’s questional violence and apartheid will not have ramifications? The Palestinians are indeed the “dispossessed”. It is not only the ATP that has a dim understanding of this, neither do the most Americans.

grendel Says:

” The Palestinians have been given many opportunities for statehood. They have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportnity because their own leadership has failed them.” (SG)

This is an adaptation of a well known, highly supercilious quote from an Israeli, either Abba Eban or the current President, Peres – I forget. It is self-serving, naturally. There are indeed well-intentioned Israelis who would like to see a viable Palestine – they are rarely to be seen anywhere near the centre of power. Certainly the Palestinians have often been self-destructive – a characteristic of the damned and the lost. I meant no religious connotation whatever by that, so your talk of religious sites is not relevant, although they do have an importance (regrettably imo, and certainly the Israelis are much more tolerant in this respect than the Arabs). I meant it quite literally. The conditions in which the Palestinians live, courtesy of their Israeli overlords, is indeed hellish. Not just grinding poverty but humiliation that eats at the soul.

“One historical claim is as good as the next.”

Don’t you think time might have a bearing here? There are still living Palestinians displaced ejected, and terrorised by European settlers who happen to be Jews. The Jewish claim goes back 2000 years, just a touch unrealistic, I should have thought. You say: “They will never get the land back. Ever. Just as the aboriginals in Canada, the US and Australia will never get their land back”. This is an interesting point. For there must come a time when the Jews of Israel wil be entitled to be regarded as indigenous and not as usurpers. But that time has plainly not arrived, and there must be some doubt that it ever will. For your comparisons don’t really hold. Dreadful as has been the fate of the aborigines in the countries you mention, they were essentially doomed by sparsity of numbers. It is as crude as that. Israel, on the other hand, is an island in a sea of Islam. So long as it has the United States as protecter, that doesn’t matter. It won’t always be so, however, nothing like that ever is, the lesson of history is clear enough.

The revenge of the Palestinians will probably not be pretty. I hope you and I are not around to see it. But if you persistently degrade and humiliate people, don’t expect them to act civilized.

Meanwhile, as you say, this is a tennis site. I gather the Israeli doubles pair Ram and Erlich wish to play at Dubai. If they are denied, I hope the tournament is called off. I wasn’t clear in my mind about this at first, but the more I think about it, the more preposterous does the claim of Dubai to speak on behalf of Palestinians sound. If the Israelis have tormented the Palestinians, the Arab governments, all of them, have betrayed them at every turn – hardly surprising since they are all essentially personal fiefdoms.

But: I would be amazed if the tournament is banned.

Mary Says:

Just for the record, this Mary is not “mary.”

margot Says:

I quote from ‘The Guardian’ 18/03 “The case of Ram could prove crucial in many different ways. The ATP has told the Arab federation that it must this week decide whether it wants Dubai to remain an international venue. That decision may well effect Dubai’s sporting future.”
Apparently Swedish tennis Fed are also thinking of banning spectators from Sweden/ Israel Davis Cup because of fear of massive demos.
You just can’t keep politics out of sport.

tenisbebe Says:

To make the blanket statement that the WTA should not have entertained Dubai as a venue for this tennis event in the first place is idiotic. The WTA needed deep-pocketed sponsors for big splashy events & Dubai approached them with the cash. Done – they were not going to walk away from that. According to numerous news reports, officials had been stalling to issue Peer’s visa for weeks, telling her and the WTA that it was coming, coming. They broke the news that it was being denied after many players had arrived so although I agree that Larry Scott’s statement was super whimpy, the WTA was not in a position to cancel the tournament with players in country – that could be potentially dangerous for them doncha think?? Also, Amelie (who was in France at the time)seemed to be the only one making a strong statement against the visa denial (Safina and Ivanovic’s comments were more like “What a pity.”). If the players aren’t outraged, then their player association can’t very well take action counter to that. The bargaining chip the WTA does have is the Nov year-end championships in Doha. As it stands now, the fallout continues: Tennis Channel cxls it’s coverage, WSJ pulls it’s sponsorship. The girls will have to learn that the public & fans expect them to unite & standing up to obvious injustices. A leader please.

john peterkin Says:

the william sisters’ should withdraw from this tournament. If not it proves that when it comes to social justice they don’t care much, it’s only when someone wrongs them that they are outraged. but the other players also have the same responibility to do the same thing.

SG Says:


The US is an ally of Israel. But your statement

“So long as it has the United States as protecter, that doesn’t matter. It won’t always be so, however, nothing like that ever is, the lesson of history is clear enough.

The revenge of the Palestinians will probably not be pretty. I hope you and I are not around to see it. But if you persistently degrade and humiliate people, don’t expect them to act civilized.”

is questionable.

The Jews of Europe nearly faced their own extinction. I suspect that they will always be prepared to defend themselves. The US has never put a soldier on the ground for them. They have never flown a combat mission for the Israelis. Instead, they sell Israel the weapons they want (…and need). And they sign loan guarantees. Loan guarantees that Israel has never had to rely on. The Israeli people have fought their own battles. Allies help but no US President will send soldiers to Israel to die for Jews. It would be political suicide.

There have been several attempts to offer a two state solution. The Partition Plan of 1947 proposed a layout that gave Arabs the majority of the land and put Jerusalem under UN Control. The Jew’s land was focused around where Jews were most densely populated. There were Arabs in the proposed Jewish territory but no solution is perfect. The Jews of Israel were ready to take the deal. The Palestinean Arabs turned it down. I guess it was OK to be under British rule but giving the Jews a state was just too much for them. The Palestineans never had a state. A state was being handed to them and they couldn’t (…or wouldn’t) take it. Failed, unpragmatic leadership.

Israel voted in Itzhak Rabin to form a peace deal with the Palestineans. On the verge of a deal, Yassir Arafat demanded Right of Return. A condition that would have resulted in 4 million Arabs being permitted back into Israel. He asked for something he knew the Israelis could never accept. The result of such a condition? The defacto destruction of a state who’s primary mandate is to give Jews around the world a place to call home. Asking for Right of Return is another way of saying “We don’t recognize you as a state.” The UN recognized Israel as a state. It wasn’t merely the US. I can’t think of another time the UN has supported Israel. The price for being acknowledged I guess.

There are many people in the world who live and have lived in conditions far worse than what the Palestineans face today. And they did not and have not resorted to mindless violence. South Africa is actually an excellent example of people who were terribly oppressed yet didn’t resort to suicide bombs and other brutally unscrupulous acts. That’s not to say that they sat by waiting for something good to happen. But they didn’t take the lowest road possible either. And in the end, they overcame the Afrikaner regime.

Can you honestly say that you would be OK with having your own child strap a bomb to themselves over a piece of land? How is this going to resolve anything? The leaders of the Palestineans need to get away from politicizing life and start recognizing that each and every life has value beyond a goal they are trying to achieve. Jews living in Nazi imposed ghettos didn’t strap explosives to their children and send them out to kill Nazis. And I’d say that they were in a pretty desparate and hopeless situation.

Very few minorities have been faced with prospect of confronting a regime bent on globally exterminating them. That was the goal of the Nazis. Facing retribution even after the WWII, the Jews needed a country to call their own. A place where they could feel safe. The land called Palestine had historical significance and there were already Jews living there. It was the most logical place to rebuild. Was allowing them to rebuild in Palesting too much to ask from a world that turned a blind eye to what was really happening in continental Europe during Nazi tyranny?

I think it’s fair to say that Israelis have made their share of mistakes. The build up of settlements in the West Bank. The mess in Southern Lebanon which resulted in Palestineans being slaughtered in refugee camps just to name a couple. But, at some point, you have to embrace your own reality. You have to look into your child’s eyes and say “That’s enough”. Egypt made peace with Israel. It’s a cold peace but peace nonetheless. And the Egyptians already had their state. The Palestineans need to vent their present leadership and get behind someone as bold as Saddat was. He realized that war wasn’t going to work anymore. And he died for it. But the peace has held.

SG Says:

And for the record, Apartheid means “the forced segregation of one group from another”.

Jews and Arabs coexist in Israel. There is no law forcing them apart. Arabs and Jews in Israel have the same rights. They vote in the same elections for the same candidates. Anyone think this was happening in South Africa? The only difference…Israeli Arabs are not drafted for military duty. Given the political nature of the region, it seems like a tactically reasonable position.

Attaching the word “Apartheid” to Israel is nothing more propagandistic slander.

SG Says:

I know that this is a tennis forum. I really don’t like these political rants. But, I recently read a book about a child who died in Auschwitz. She was among 1.5 million other children killed merely because they were Jews. I was shocked and appalled. The scope of this tragedy is beyond imagination, at least to me. How can anyone look into the eyes of a child and then perpetrate this kind of sheer evil?

Before judging people, you need to walk a mile in their shoes. Paralleling Israel to Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Russia does a disservice not only to Israel but to the children (..and adults) who were systematically eradicated. Israel has no such genocidal policies and never has.

I have absolutely no tolerance for intolerance. None at all. If the WTA players can’t stand together united behind what’s right than they aren’t a whole lot better than the people preventing Peer from playing. The US has seen beyond racial lines and elected a person based on their abilities, not the color of their skin. I guess athletes haven’t received the news yet. All these athletes pay agents to plaster them all over bill boards and in magazine in an effort to sell products and portray them as someone we’d wanna’ be. I know it’s old news but, “Athletes are not role models”. A-Roid, Mark McGwire, Phelps getting stoned. Now the sellouts of the WTA (players and adminsistrators). It would be farcical if it wasn’t so pathetic.

grendel Says:


The US provides the weapons. That is enough. That cannot be guaranteed in perpetuity, even though it seems like it at the moment. Of course American soldiers won’t fight there. Not necessary.

“The Jews of Israel were ready to take the deal. The Palestinean Arabs turned it down.” (1947). Two points: now you are making the common mistake (for this is a hoary old argument, endlessly rehearsed) of confusing the Palestinians with the Arab
leaders. You don’t condemn a people because of idiocy upstairs, it doesn’t work. Secondly, we will never know, but it seems highly improbable that the Israelis would have been content with what they got. A reason for expansion would have been manufactured – or provided. Israelis today are of course thankful for the idiocy of those particular Arab “leaders”.

The question of who is more absolutely oppressed doesn’t make any sense, and never did. What is germane is the context and the perception.

“Can you honestly say that you would be OK with having your own child strap a bomb to themselves over a piece of land?” That is a slur. I loathe Islamic fundamentalism, I detest groups like Hamas, but what you or I think is irrelevant. I can see how ordinary Palestinians, not extremist by temperament, have been driven to support them – in any case, they do. Why? Some genetic malfunction, perhaps? Don’t be silly.

You don’t need to lecture me about the Nazis, or the slaughter of the Jews. Another slur by implication. But this is the conclusion you draw: “The Jews needed a country to call their own. A place where they could feel safe. The land called Palestine had historical significance and there were already Jews living there. It was the most logical place to rebuild.”

This is the nub of the matter. The Gypsies suffered a similar, though not as dreadful, a fate as the Jews, you could say they need a state – but where? The Kurds are always in danger – should they not have a state to feel safe? Still, let us agree the Jews should have a state, it was never, in my view, sensible that it should be in Palestine. It was not the Palestinians or even the Arabs – despite the malign rhetoric you quoted earlier – who had persecuted the Jews. Why should not Germany give up a part of its territory? Impracticable? Maybe so. How about the United Sates, they’ve got plenty of land, haven’t they? How about making a real sacrifice? Not on, is it. You probably won’t believe this, but I wish to God the Arabs would accept Israel – this is an interminable, very dangerous conflict which can easily spill over into the rest of the world. But it was never likely.

To impose what was perceived as an alien presence in the heart of Islam was always asking for deadly trouble. It is on pragmatic grounds that I think the creation of Israel was foolish. The world is as it is. Tigers exist, you cannot wish them out of existence. Islam means absolutely nothing whatever to me – but it exists, and if you insist on gravely insulting it, there will be a price to pay. Hence the endless standoff/war.

“Attaching the word “Apartheid” to Israel is nothing more propagandistic slander.” It’s certainly slander to imply that I suggested this.

“Paralleling Israel to Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Russia does a disservice not only to Israel but to the children (..and adults) who were systematically eradicated. Israel has no such genocidal policies and never has.” Again, you make a monstrous slur, you are, after all, addressing me. It is actually convenient, since it avoids having to think about this dreadful situation. Of course the Israelis are not Nazis, Stalinists and all the rest of it. But they may very well end up being genocidal, not because they want to, but because, with their backs to the wall, they see no other option – I am thinking nuclear, here, not concentration camps of course. There is a drift towards the unspeakable. I don’t know when it will happen. But happen it will if there is not a determination to fundamentally rethink everything, from Palestinians and Arabs generally, of course – but even more so from Israelis, since they are the ones with the power.

“The Palestineans need to vent their present leadership and get behind someone as bold as Saddat was. He realized that war wasn’t going to work anymore. And he died for it. But the peace has held.” First of all, I hope you are right about Egypt. It’s always seemed to me that that peace is provisional, pragmatic, and dependent for its enforcement on a dictator, which both Sadat and his successr are. But we shall see. But what you say about the Palestinians, although one can agree up to a point, is skewed. It is the Palestinians who are oppressed. It is unrealistic to expect them, in the midst of their degradation, to renew themselves. You show absolutely no understanding for their plight, and whereas your sympathy is not required, understanding is if this appalling logjam is ever to be broken.

Can it be? This is what I doubt. It’s not just ranting fools like Netenyahu. Suppose men and women of goodwill were to take over the reins in Israel? I can easily imagine that. There are good people there. Could it work? If the Israelis could ever admit to the terrible injustices they have inflicted opon the Palestinians, I think they would draw a warm response, but I have my doubts that would be enough to overcome the malign influence of militant Islam. That tiger has been awoken, that is the problem, and why the whole question of Israel is, in the end, bound up with tragedy.

SG Says:


Clearly we don’t agree on certain aspects of this argument. And I do apologize for saying that you were comparing Israel to Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia or the Apartheid in S.A.. You are correct in staing that you have never said this. There are others on this forum that make these kinds of parallels. The following statement that you made is what bothers me about your agrgument:

“It was not the Palestinians or even the Arabs – despite the malign rhetoric you quoted earlier – who had persecuted the Jews.”

Long before there ever was a state of Israel, there were pogroms against Jews in Palestine. The hatred of the Jews didn’t brew up merely because the Jews jammed their nationhood down Arab throats which is what you seem to be claiming. The Grand Mufti (self proclaimed) and his cohorts didn’t hate Jews because of there was a state of Israel (which there wasn’t). He hated them because they were Jews. He was apparently quite enamored with Hitler and his ideas. Where do you think this hatred came from? He was taught it and taught it well. If the Nazis had won, the Mufti would have done to the Jews in Palestine what the Nazis did to them in Europe.

What is at issue here has very little to do with land and whole lot to do with racism. How can the existence of Israel be the cause of the problems today when there was violence aganst Jews 50 years before the formation of an Israeli state in the land called Palestine? At a time when the British were actually restricting Jews from going to Palestine. Restricing them from going to the place most sacred to them. Israel’s existence has always been nothing more than a justification for violence. I wonder what would happen if the US colonized Saudi Arabia and then decided that they were going to restrict Arabs from praying in Mecca? There would likely be a wave of international violence never before seen. Of course I can’t prove it but based on the fact that Islamic fundamentalists seem to have no problem dying for their cause, its seems likely. According in Bin Laden, he punished America just for their presence in Saudi. Can you imagine what he’d have done if they had blocked off Mecca?

And giving the Jews a piece of Germany? Excuse me but this is absurd. You want them to go back to where they nearly annihilated? To live next to those people complicit in their near destruction. Why should they? And who would have defended them in Europe agsinst inevitable retribution? As for the US, Jews weren’t wanted there either. Unless they were very clever scientists that could help you build a bomb. I think the Jewish State ended up exactly where it was supposed to. Let’s face it, wherever they would have been given a state someone would have been pissed off.

SG Says:


Somehow, I doubt the Pope could convince Christians to give up their lives and the lives of their children if the Vatican or the holy city were blocked off by some country? You see where I’m going here? The 911 terrorists weren’t Palestineans. They came from Saudi Arabia. They weren’t oppressed or beaten down by Israel. And it only takes one good terrorist to ruin everyone’s day.

tenisbebe Says:

THIS IS A TENNIS BLOG. Stick to tennis please. None of the rest of us are interested in being sold your Mid-east views on this forum. Thank you.

grendel Says:

Of course there were some anti-Jewish Arabs. The racism of which you speak is universal, and therefore some Jews – being ordinary fallible humans – partake of it as well. That some nutter calling himself the Grand Mufti was a pro nazi is simply a peculiarity, you don’t generalise from that.

I disagree with you absolutely – I think land is completely central to this situation, and plenty of enlightened Israelis agree as well, it is precisely this which makes the situation so intractable.

It is true that the Islamists of Bin Laden’s persuasion – fascist types essentially – ride on the back of a frustrated nationalism, and exploit it for all it is worth. For them, Israel is a gift, because they can exploit genuine grievances – about which they care little or nothing – for their own sinister purposes.

I am aware of the British role in Palestine. My stepfather, who was stationed there in 1947, wrote rather a good novel about it. The British attitude, as he describes it, was essentially hand wringing and equivocal. He deeply disapproved of the(somewhat halfhearted) British attempts to block Jewish immigration. I can see that point of view, and even sympathise up to a point – but I think it was disastrous looked at in the long run, harsh as this must sound.

Because we do have a tribal conflict based upon competition for land, which has been made incalculably more inflammatory by the (alas, predictable) rise of fundamentalist Islam. I have Palestinian friends, moderate to a man and a woman, barely even interested in Islam (they have described to me the rather frightening attempts to intimidate them into Mosque attendance by local, Pakistani, Islamists). But they do want to live in their land. And although, for example, they hate Hezbollah, they nevertheless supported it in the recent Israeli/Lebanese war. These sort of anomalies are tragic but unavoidable . A person is torn, right down the middle.

I notice that the demagogue Netenyahu is likely to lead the next Israeli Government. Although, of course, he is nowhere near as bad as Hamas, there is an interesting parallel here. Frightened Israelis want firmer action against Hamas, despairing Palestinians wonder whether Hamas, militant, courageous, incorruptible (and yes, some of them admittedly evil, but ..) can do for them what nobody else has been able to.

Of course, the situation can only get worse. All of this, in my view, was predictable from the outset. I see no good ending. But who am I? Let us hope I am utterly and completely wrong.

grendel Says:

tenisbebe – I take your point. My apologies.

lines Says:

Many make good points.

SG you are wise.

Let me explain something if I may.

The acts against Israel that would have to take place to appease the militant terrorist groups in gaza, (terrorist grops THAT HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THERE might I add) are so atrocious, so horrific on scale and magnitude that they outweigh any overstepping by the Israeli Defense Force to date by 1000:1. That is, to put it another way, it is not about right and wrong. What is it about? Israel has been willing to negotiate a two state solution for years. However, Palestinian leadership has called for ANHILATION of all JEWS for years. How does one compromise with this. Israel is organized. Palestinians are not. Britain actually gave Palistinians chance to form a govt in 1948 but they could not get their act together to do so. Thus, the palestinians are bombed because noone can support their platform of anhilation of all jews in middle east. The palestinians have always been blinded by this hatred. It is stupid. I hope you understand me.

lines Says:

And furthermore, it is hatred not just against the jews, but against the western way of life… including TENNIS. THe UAE only do the tennis thing to make money and grow their commerce. They have no sentimental stake in it like England, Russia, Aus or USA. People who live in civilized nations should not be so quick to judge Israel’s actions. They are on our side. Be sympathetic towards the innocent palestinians, but there were many “innocent” Germans in WW2 who were also called Nazis.

lines Says:

And one final thought… if you are the type who needs proof of God… both Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer are stuck at home with injuries and will be unable to participate in this wonderfully colorful tournament in Dubai. Amen.

SG Says:

“Of course there were some anti-Jewish Arabs”

Some…yes..some. A convenient way to diminish the situation. My very best friend is a Muslim from Lebanon. I’ve heard the way some of the people he knows refer to Jews. And they aren’t even Palestineans. They live in North America. They learned that hatred. A hatred that has been passed down for centuries. Hate is hate. The Mufti wasn’t an aberration. He was the rule. Maybe not in the extremes of his belief structure but in his hate for Jews.

And I agree. Netanyahu is not what Israel needs. Extremist views are not useful. For what it’s worth, I question Israel’s recent actions against Gaza as well. The US giving Israel a free hand over the past 7 years hasn’t made things any better for either side. There needs to be some balance for both sides to view the US as an honest broker. This hasn’t been happening.

grendel Says:

Sorry, tenisbebe.

You don’t know Mufti was the rule. That is anecdotal. Hatred is passed on, I agree, in all sorts of communities. But plenty, maybe most, resist. It is easy or tempting to focus on the loud mouths. The Palestinians I mentioned do want to live in Palestine, and they resent Israel, but they don’t hate Jews. They just aren’t the type. Amiable people (unlike me). And by the way, they would certainly accept a two state solution. Hamas doesn’t because it is not really nationalistic, it is theological (horror of horrors).They need to be swept aside – but a helping hand will be necessary from Israel befire that can happen – I’ll leave you to ponder that one. Judging by a lot of the posts on this and other sites, there are plenty of rabid Arab haters – of course, I have no idea whether they are Jews or not.

Over the centuries, the Middle East has been infinitely kinder to Jews than has Europe. That’s just a fact. Still, as one Jew – the novelist Howard Jacobson – remarked, it’s a pretty condescending kind of tolerance. Maybe that is so. To be in a minority is always to be at risk in some sense.

So far as the comments you have heard about Jews from North American Arabs, Isaac Deutscher (I think it was him) a Polish Jew, used to remark about the stupidity, but inevitablility of “war hatred”. Nothing much can be done about it, so long as there is conflict. It is a sad fact of human nature, and is universal.

SG Says:

During the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein fired rockets into Israel. Seems nonsensical. He was battling the US.

But the rationale was obvious to him. The one thing that unites pretty much all Arabs states is their hatred of Israel. It’s always been my opinion that government to a large degree, reflects the values of its people. Not the other way around as some would like to suggest. He wanted the other Arab states to unit with him agsinst the US he figured Israel could be a catalyst for this. His strategy didn’t work out but he did what he did with an idea he believed other Arab countries and their leaders would buy into. The other Arab nations just weren’t interested in being dragged into a war with the US. Interesting to note that the Israelis didn’t fire back.

As for the Mufti being an aberration, not quite. Yasser Arafat admired the Mufti. He admired a man bent on building gas chambers in Palestine. And while Arafat certainly didn’t command respect of all the Palestineans, he was supported by a lot of them. And if government and its leaders are a reflection of the people they represent (which as I said above) I believe, than Arafat is a reflection of his people. Unfortunate because Arafat was as corrupt as they come.

Strangely, I think Israel has actually brought some stability to the region. When they flattened the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, they were condemned. Looking at it now, would anyone have been comfortable with a Saddam lead Iraq that had nuclear capability? I doubt it.

SG Says:

One other thing. I have seen quite a few demonstrations by disillusioned Israelis who want peace with their Palestinean neighbors. They are frustrated with their governments inability to get the job done. Many Israelis do recognize that there cannot be a lasting peace if the Palestineans are living poorly. The recent election would seem to show an Israeli shift in their view of the peace process. I hope that this view does change in the years to come.

SG Says:


You clearly have a deep understanding of the region. While I don’t necessarily agree with your views I do respect them. There are usually several ways to look at an issue. I don’t think this is an issue that has an absolute right or wrong answer.

The fact is, the region is too polarized for pure logic and reason to win out. You just have to hope that at some point both parties can find a way get past the history and forge a future.

grendel Says:

“Interesting to note that the Israelis didn’t fire back.” My understanding was that the Americans pleaded desperately with Israel not to do so. And Israel listens to the US.

Certainly Saddam Hussein’s rationale in firing the rockets was as you say. My feeling, however, is that the kind of “hatred” he was depending on was and is skin deep, and could easily be turned around should circumstances radically change. That of course could not occur with ideological racism – that particular sickness is embedded deep in the soul, and is, in a sense, barely intelligible. Resentment, we can understand and therefore – in theory – take measures to address.

Anyway, thankyou for this dialogue. I wouldn’t say I know that much, by the way, but one way and another I have found myself, over the years, bumping into this area.

Mel Says:

While Arabs in pluralistic democratic Israel not only enjoy equal rights but are often favored OVER Jews, especially in Hebron, the most moderate Arabs are still real APARTHEID (no, not as in the anti Israel drama-hype-type, but in the real sense of it) and RACIST, the actual core of the Arabs vs Israel is nothing but Arab racism & Islamic bigotry, see also: http://geocities.com/panarabism, Arabism = Racism!

grendel Says:


One final comment. The evident sincerity you show, the moderate and thoughtful language, and also the fact that your posts generally indicate you as being somewhat reticent – and therefore it must have cost you a bit launching publicly into this argument – all this has persuaded me to think harder about the other side of the equation. And that, among other things, entails, for the future, silence on this topic in favour of observation and reflection.

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