Malaysia, on 12 January, one of the international hosts of the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships ethically boycotted Israel as a competitor.
Malaysia’s principled boycott was not directed against the athletes but against the Jewish state of Israel in protest of decades of Israel’s brutal illegal occupation, its 12 year illegal siege of Gaza and its months of recent sustained atrocities against Gaza’s unarmed protestors at the non-violent Great March of Return,
If hosting an international sporting event is more important than safeguarding the interests of our Palestinian brothers and sisters, than we have lost our moral compass.” Syed Saddiq, Malaysia’s Minister of Youth and Sports
Perplexing to say the least was the response by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) headed by its president, Andrew Parsons.
Would anyone of moral calibre, let alone a body that embraces athletes with impairments and is acutely aware that the courage and determination of these inspiring men and women is hard won through the mental and physical challenges, frustrations and inconveniences of daily life as well as dealing with societal attitudes, be ‘bitterly disappointed’ that Malaysia refuses visas to the delegation from terrorist Israel?
Israel’s mass maiming in Gaza
We are talking here of Israel – allowing for 15 minutes of objective research, the IPC would find the indisputable fact that Israel is a vicious maiming machine manufacturing mental and physical disabilities in innocent Palestinian men, women and children over generations.
Did the IPC deliberate carefully on the present mass maiming in Gaza? Since the inception of the NON-VIOLENT Great March of Return on 30 March 2018, Israel’s calculated massacres and attacks (“Human Rights Watch concluded that the lethal crackdown was “planned at [the] highest levels of the Israeli government.”) have transmuted hundreds of healthy unarmed young protestors into yet another disabled generation.
To arrive at an educated resolution, did the IPC Governing Board read testimonies of Palestinian and international surgeons in ‘Will he lose his leg?’: Thousands of Gaza protesters facing life-altering injuries from Israeli high velocity bullets ?
And- shockingly – the UN Human Rights Council’s investigation has found that Jewish Israeli snipers also targeted and killed disabled protestors: “Israeli security forces committed serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law,” Santiago Canton, the head of the commission, stated on Thursday.
“These violations clearly warrant criminal investigation and prosecution,” he added.’
From a witness,
“Gaza City—The sniper bullets don’t come in quick succession. It’s not a barrage of fire. It is methodical, patient, precise. A single shot rings out and someone falls. You wait a few minutes. The crosshairs settle on the next target. Another shot, another body drops. Again and again and again. It goes on for hours.
This is how the Israeli military shot more than 1,350 Palestinians in Gaza on a single day, on May 14. Slowly.
As at least 60 people were being killed and over 2,700 wounded, White House officials clinked champagne glasses with their Israeli counterparts 50 miles away in Jerusalem to celebrate the transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv.”
On 3rd December 2018,
“According to the latest report issued by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the total number of wounded is 24,516 since the Gaza Return March started.
The injuries in the lower limbs were 49.6% and 8.2% is the head and neck.
This gives a clear indication that the occupation is inflicting casualties on the largest number of citizens To cause permanent disabilities .. using explosive bullets in order to increase the suffering of the injured and affect them longer period.
The disabilities caused by the Israeli attacks since the beginning of Gaza March of Return reached 94, including 82 amputations in lower bodies, 12 amputations in upper body parts.”
The Great March of Return is now in its 48th week and despite the horror and carnage, young healthy as well as newly maimed Palestinians, children and grandchildren of the refugee survivors of the 1947-8 Nakba (Palestine’s holocaust) continue to protest for their legal Right of Return. Their resilience, courage and determination is phenomenal and is in contrast to IPC cowardice.
The IPC response
The IPC’s shabby response to Malaysia’s boycott was, “Politics and sport are never a good mix”
This is the standard platitude for normalising injustice. The IPC knows, in the real world, that no individual is immune to politics and we all must take responsibility to reinforce our commitment to our fundamental moral and ethical principles that encompass inclusivity of all humanity to a life of peace and equity.
So did the IPC make a moral decision? A humanitarian one? No. The IPC hypocritically made the political decision to strip Malaysia of hosting the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships thereby normalising Israel’s brutal violations of international law and making mockery of IPC’s proclaimed ethical principles:
“Not only does this decision stress the importance of keeping sport and politics separate, but it also reinforces the IPC’s commitment to our fundamental moral and ethical principles that encompass inclusivity of all eligible Para athletes and nations to compete at IPC sanctioned events.”
The IPC has deliberately disregarded Israel’s butchering but I doubt there would be one para-athlete that would give impunity to any nation that has a brutal policy to systematically maim protected persons under occupation in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention.
The WPSC hosts
Malaysia took the honourable stand – alone – unlike the IPC and the other hosts of the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships (WPSC) that are Israel’s shills:
Australia: is an obedient servant to Zionism, it has backed the illegal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, has not supported UN resolutions condemning Israel’s illegal settlements. Does not recognise a Palestinian state.
USA: is the arch-apologist and shield for Israeli terrorism and war crimes, it arms and pays Israel $3.5 billion p.a. in ‘defence’ aid. Does not recognise a Palestinian stateBrazil: under president Lula da Silva, Brazil along with 137 nations has recognised the state of Palestine. Today’s fascist president Bolsonaro has vowed to move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem in defiance of international law.
GB: since Israel’s 2014-war-crimes-war on Gazan families it has sold to Israel $445 million of arms, including spare parts for sniper rifles’ despite the UK having ratified the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on 2nd April 2014. Does not recognise a Palestinian state.
Singapore: has a Special Relationship with Israel and strong diplomatic and economic ties since 1965 when IOF trained the newly established Singapore military. Does not recognise a Palestinian state
Italy: has lucrative reciprocal military contracts with Israel that trump the Palestinian human right to life. Does not recognise a Palestinian state
Germany: since WWI Israel has led Germany by a nose-ring of outdated holocaust guilt to ironically support Israel’s systematic state-sponsored, racist holocaust of the Palestinian people. Does not recognise a Palestinian state
Conversely, Malaysia has a historical commitment to the fundamental moral and ethical principles that encompass Palestine’s human rights,
“Malaysia’s support for Palestine stems from the 1970s. It was the first Southeast Asian nation to allow the Palestine Liberation Organisation to establish itself in its capital, Kuala Lumpur before having it upgraded to full embassy status in 1983. While Malaysia was a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in 1989-1990, it helped the Palestinians lobby for support for their cause by allowing Palestine access to its network in the Non-Aligned Movement and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Additionally, Malaysia extended support for the cause financially and by having regular consultations. So much so that Tan Sri Razali Ismail, in his memoir, wrote that many of the UN resolutions on Palestine were written at the Malaysian mission in New York. Malaysia was an essential key player and important advocate of Palestinian issues. And throughout the years, Malaysia’s commitment stands firm. Its recent tenure in the UN Security Council was highly celebrated with the passing of Resolution 2334 declaring Israel’s settlement activity as a flagrant violation of international law and having no legal validity.”
And Malaysia’s President Dr Mahathir Mohamad has uncompromisingly withstood the predictable zionist slings and arrows of pseudo anti-semitism.
Call for sanctions against Israel
The IPC should uphold its vision to ‘Inspire and excite – Touch the heart of all people for a more equitable society’
Israel, according to international law, is not equitable, it is a belligerent apartheid coloniser which daily perpetrates crimes against humanity and war crimes against the indigenous Palestinian people and therefore the IPC should place sanctions against Israel until its ends its military occupation of Palestine.
Please demand that the International Paralympic Committee place sanctions against Israel: firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com, Haozhe.Gao@WorldParaAthletics.org, info@WorldParaSwimming.org
Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters and editor of a volume of Palestinian poetry, I remember my name. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was convenor of Australia East Timor Association and coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.