It’s hard to beat the comic hypocrisy of the United Nations, which condemns Israel while having let nations such as Cuba and Libya sit on its human-rights council. But Western Olympic committees are giving it a run for its money.
Some have heard the story of Greek triple-jump champion Voula Papachristou, who was booted from the Olympics for tweeting a racial joke. This was followed by the expulsion of Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella, who, overcome with anger after a loss, tweeted some ugly sentiments about South Koreans. The officials who axed them say that such behavior is contrary to Olympic values.
We have to ask, though, what these might be. Consider: While all this was going on, the Lebanese Judo team was refusing to practice next to the Israeli one and demanded a barrier be erected.
Olympic officials complied.
Reacting to this, an outraged Israeli official said, “What? They can’t see us, but they will smell us.”
As for the odor of hypocrisy, it grew even more intense. In another display of Olympic values, Iran’s sports minister, Mohammad Abbasi, said that “Iranian athletes would definitely refuse to compete against Israelis if they were drawn to do so,” writes CNS News. He explained, “Not competing with the Zionist athletes is one of the values and prides of the Iranian athletes and nation.”
In keeping with this, Iranian athletes have forfeited against Jews in the past. An example is judoka Javad Mahjoub, who refused to compete against an Israeli at the 2011 Judo World Cup. And now that it seems likely he would have faced a Jew in London, he has suddenly developed a “gut infection” and withdrawn from the games. I guess there was something at the site he just couldn’t stomach.
Again, we should ask, what are Olympic values?
One thing they are is very, very Western. European nations have become notorious for enacting “hate-speech” laws and exercising a double standard in their application. If a Christian white person criticizes Islam, he’ll sometimes be hauled before a human-rights tribunal and punished. But no such fate awaits a Muslim criticizing Christianity; in fact, even expressing openly jihadist sentiments is often tolerated.
Speaking of this iron burka dropped across Europe, one of the first Saudi women to ever participate in the Olympics, judoka Wojdan Shaherkani, refused to compete unless allowed to wear the Muslim headscarf the hijab. Olympic officials initially balked but then, quite predictably, capitulated. Of course, this is a minor concession, but it’s hard to imagine one being made for a Christian asking for special accommodation. After all, while Muslims in most of Western Europe are allowed to wear Islamic garb anywhere they please, European courts have denied Christians the opportunity to wear a cross at work and have even refused to recognize, writes Pamela Geller, “belief in marriage between a man and a woman and Sundays as a day of worship as ‘core’ expressions of the Christian faith.”
European officials also seem to have trouble recognizing expressions of contrition. Both Greek triple-jumper Papachristou and Swiss soccer player Morganella were apologetic, but to no avail. It didn’t matter that Papachristou groveled before her Olympic masters. It didn’t matter that they’re both young people who, in one case in the heat of passion and in both cases acting impulsively, merely sent off some imprudent tweets that they would take back if they could. They were banished, their dreams shattered.
In contrast, the Lebanese team’s decision to not practice within eyeshot of Jews was premeditated, collective, and unwavering. The Iranians have an official policy of not competing against Jews (I wonder if this will be applied to the battlefield in the near future). It isn’t as with German rower Nadja Drygalla, who, while never complaining about Jews’ presence or uttering anything anti-Semitic, just left the Olympics prematurely because it was discovered that her boyfriend is a member of a neo-Nazi party.
The Lebanese don’t even want to see a Jew.
The Iranians won’t even tolerate contact with the molecules or sweat of a Jew.
And the silence is deafening.
To be clear, it was Papachristou’s and Morganella’s countries’ Olympic committees that expelled them, not the International Olympic Committee. Drygalla supposedly left London voluntarily after a discussion with German officials. And Olympic officials have said that if any competitor forfeits for other than legitimate medical reasons, sanctions will be imposed. But the picture is plain: While Europeans police themselves, the long arm of politically correct law doesn’t extend into the Muslim world — except insofar as it benefits them when they enter the politically correct world.
Ironically, evident here is something I wrote about mere days ago: the triumph of Muslim absolutism over Western relativism. Whether Muslims are right or wrong in a given instance, they’re sure of themselves in every instance. They don’t capitulate, waver, or apologize. They’re brazen. And Westerners? They’re craven. Even the values they profess most — brotherhood, tolerance, sensitivity, open-mindedness, antipathy for discrimination — are situational. Like athletes, these values are subject to expulsion when inconvenient.
The officials are right, though, to speak of “Olympic values.” Unlike virtues, which are by definition good, values (part of the language of relativism) can be good or bad. And as for the Olympics, it seems that the only consistently applied value is hypocrisy.