UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

Palestinian Judo Federation reported for honouring Algerian player who boycotted Israel

UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) has reported the Palestinian Judo Federation and its Chairman to the Disciplinary Committee of the International Judo Federation for organising a ceremony honouring an Algerian judo player who boycotted Israel.

UK Lawyers for Israel is a voluntary association of lawyers which invokes rules and laws to counter boycotts and other actions targeting Israelis.

At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Algerian Judoka Fethi Nourine refused to compete against an Israeli opponent, and the International Judo Federation (IJF) responded with a 10 year ban for him and his coach.

According to Palestinian reports, Jihad Uweida, the Palestinian Judo Federation Chairman and Secretary-General of the National Committee Against Normalization in Sports, phoned Fethi Nourine and told him that the Palestinian Judo Federation would, together with the Palestinian embassy in Algeria, organize a large ceremony to honour him.

The Palestinian Authority has previously refused to countenance sporting competition with Israeli athletes.  The Chair of their Olympic Committee has stated on Palestinian television that:  “I understand by normalisation that the relationship between me and you will be normal, that we’ll play [sports] together and there’ll be a joint program. I say to you: Under no circumstances will there be normalisation.”

Sam Green, a director of UKLFI commented: “When the IJF banned Fethi Nourine for 10 years for his boycott of Israel, this was in keeping with IJF’s role as an exemplar in fighting boycotts and discrimination.  The attitude of Mr Uweida and the Palestinian Judo Federation is a challenge to the decision of the IJF and in direct confrontation to the message intended by it.  We have asked the IJF to refer Mr Uweida and the Palestinian Judo Authority to the Disciplinary Committee under the IJF Disciplinary Code.”

UKLFI’s letter to the IJF explained that Mr Uweida’s statements are a breach of the IJF Statutory provisions against discrimination (1.2), the Introduction to the Code of Ethics, the Aims in the Code of Ethics (Article 2), the Mandatory provisions for National Federations relating to IJF decisions in the Preamble, the Aims for National Federations, and the Olympic Spirit (Olympic Charter) to which the IJF and National Federations are committed.

UKLFI previously wrote to the IJF in 2017 following the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam where Israeli judokas were denied their right to participate as national competitors, to wear their national emblem or to see their nation’s flag and hear their nation’s anthem when successful.

The IJF responded to criticism, and the following year in Abu Dhabi, Israeli judokas competed on the same terms as other teams and heard their national anthem play when they won gold medals. That event has taken on a wider historical significance; the Israeli minister who was present credits that moment as the start of the discussions that led to the Abraham Accords heralding a wider peace in the Middle East.

Thanks to Palwatch for sourcing the information in this article.