Malaysia Reiterates Ban on Israeli Para Athletes; IPC Responds

Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has reiterated that the nation will continue to deny Israeli para swimmers visas for the 2019 WPS World Championships in July.

“We will not allow them [to enter]. If they come, then it is an offense,” he said in a press conference Tuesday, “If they want to withdraw the championships’ hosting rights from Malaysia, then they can try to do so.”

Malaysia has long enforced a policy of disallowing Israeli passport-holders from entering the country due to a lack of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

From July 29th to August 4th, 2019, the Malaysian city of Kuching is set to host hundreds of swimmers from 70 countries for the meet, which is one of the possible qualifying opportunities for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. To be eligible for Tokyo, para-swimmers are supposed to have competed at either a WPS World Series event, Worlds, any WPS Regional or Regional Open Championships, or the 2019 Parapan American Games in the timeframe of October 1, 2018 through the 2020 WPS European Open Championships (the dates of which have yet to be announced).

The International Paralympic Committee tells SwimSwam that it is working to remedy the situation.

“We are disappointed at the comments made by the Malaysian Prime Minister regarding the participation of Israeli Para swimmers at the World Championships this summer,” the IPC said. “We will continue to pursue every single avenue with the Local Organising Committee, Malaysian National Paralympic Committee and State Government to try and ensure that all of the world’s best swimmers can compete at this event as World Championships should be open to all eligible nations.  We aim to find a solution to this issue.”

Beyond the prime minister’s remarks, a group of 29 NGOs including Palestinian Cultural Organisation Malaysia, Viva Palestina Malaysia, al-Quds Foundation Malaysia, Humanitarian Care Malaysia and ASEAN Coalition for Palestine have come out in support of the ban, and gave The Sun Daily following statement: 

“Boycotting and isolating Israel is the very least that can and should be done to express moral outrage. If it worked against apartheid South Africa, it will work against apartheid Israel.”

“The Malaysian Government is doing the right thing in barring Israelis from this country.” 

In addition to the IPC, the Israeli Olympic and Paralympic Committees have also been working to find a solution, to no avail thus far.

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Jimbo

Now that’s just sad. Because of 2 country’s disagreements they take it out on the athletes

Teamwiess

At this point the only solution is to move the championships. If the leader of the country comes out against their participation then that is pretty definitive. The earlier the move is, the better it is for the athletes and federations that have to readjust.

Ahmed

Sport authorities must have reassurance from hosting states to accept ALL athletes before awarding competition venues

Yozhik

How is it different from the promise of former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to wipe out the state of Israel from the face of the Earth or from cursing new congresswoman Rashida Tlaib keeping in her public office the map of the world that doesn’t have Israel on it or from Spanish swimming association not sending their swimmers to compete at International meets in Israel?

John

They aren’t threatening violence….it’s a map…. not going as a choice is diffeeent from not being allowed. There are better parallels to draw here.

Yozhik

It is only in simplified plain geometry like the Euclidean one the parallels never intersect. In the real world all your and my parallels will end up in one point that is well known to people for thousands years already.

Jmanswimfan

Israel isn’t a legitimate state so why would it be on a map

Yozhik

If that’s so then why this guy denies visas for people from this land? Is it because they may happen to be handicapped Jews? Sure, it’s understandable. I can’t imagine anything more dangerous.

Jmanswimfan

Uh if his reason for not allowing them is the fact they are Jewish that is completely unacceptable. However if their reasoning is Israel is an apartheid state carrying out ethnic cleansing then yes it is fine.

against nonsense

First, the premise that Israel is an apartheid state is utter nonsense, promoted by anti-Israeli ridiculous and viscous proganda from those who are totally ignorant of the facts and have never gone to or investigated the democracy that exists in Israel. While one may disagree with the way that some of the way things are there, it is the only true democratically elected leadership in the area, that has a rule of law enshrining the democratic rights of all the citizens of the county, Jewish, Muslim and Christians. If you don’t believe it, then go there and investigate it for yourself.

against nonsense

In case you don’t read history, the United Nations recognized Israel as a legitimate state in 1948. Perhaps you can enlighten the world about Palestine as a state. Did it ever have an elected parliament, it’s own currency, a judiciary or set of laws and constitution? In fact, Palestine was a name given to the region by the British after defeating the Ottoman Empire in WW l. This area under the Ottomans (Palestine) was divided among the Jordanians, Lebanese and Syrians and I believe Egypt…it was never a state or a recognized entity.

Alison

The best answer on this page 👌

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majors in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swims distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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