So much for the Olympic values of peace, understanding and bringing people together: A Syrian boxer has quit the World Boxing Championship rather than be forced to compete against his Israeli opponent:
The first round match between Syrian Ala Ghasoun and the Israeli fighter was scheduled to place at the tournament which is a precondition to qualifying for the upcoming 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.
“I quit the competition because my rival was Israeli, and I cannot shake his hand or compete against him while he represents a Zionist regime that kills the Syrian people,” Ghasoun said according to Arab media, The Jerusalem Post reported.
“If I fight against him, it would mean that I, as a athlete, and Syria, as a state, recognize the state of Israel,” Ghasoun added.
“The decision to quit was not mine,” the Syrian boxer said. “It was made by the Syrian Sports Federation and by senior Syrian officials. It was a very difficult decision, because I have worked hard to participate in the championship. But I serve my homeland – my honor and my loyalty belong to Syria.”
For what it’s worth, an estimated 150,000 Syrian civilians have been killed in over five years of civil war. Of those deaths, how many were caused by Israel’s “Zionist regime”? Exactly zero. But let’s not allow facts to get in the way of hatred.