This past summer the 2012 Olympics forced some face to face interaction between Israeli and Lebanese athletes. Events were running on schedule but when Judokas athletes had the practice floor things did not run so smoothly.
The Lebanese and Israeli Judo team had to share the practice floor. The Lebanese team refused to practice next to the Israelis and requested a change be made. In accommodation, Olympic staff members improvised with a temporary wall to serve as a barrier between the two teams. No further interaction was made between the competing athletes.
On a similar note, Olympic athlete Javad Mahjoub, of Iran backed out of the Judoka competition with an inadequate excuse. The reason, he was in a bracket that allowed for the possibility to be matched up against and Israeli. To an outsider this seems extreme, and almost unthinkable to give up a spot for a chance to compete in the Olympics. However, including the Olympics and other leagues it is common for Middle Easterners to refuse competition against Israelis. Due to this regional problem, Israel usually competes in European leagues.
The International Committee President of the Olympics, Jaques Rogge, responded by stating that athletes who deny competition based on political reasons will be looked upon closely. Jaques Rogge released a statement stating that they will ask for explanation from the withdrawal and subject the athlete to medical examination. If they are thought to be motivated by a political boycott, sanctions will be taken. In the end, the Iranian athlete did not compete and the facts of if he was medically not fit for the competition or if he dropped out for political reasons was not released, thought his motives seem very clear following the rest of the regional refusal of Israel.
This example of boycotting Israel shows just how far the dispute between the two countries reaches. Do you think sportsmanship should overrule this type of rejection? Was it right for the Olympic staff to put up the barrier? Do you think this boycott is beneficial for either of the countries?