New York, NY, September 14, 2018 … ADL today welcomed the International Judo Federation’s announcement that the UAE Judo Federation has confirmed to the IJF in an official letter that all nations participating in Abu Dhabi Grand Slam tournament next month will be permitted to do so under equal conditions. The IJF indicated that “the historic decision will thus allow all nations to display their national insignia and national anthem, including Israel”. At the 2017 tournament, the UAE organizer did not permit Israeli judokas to participate under the Israeli flag and barred the playing of the Israeli national anthem at medal ceremonies.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO and National Director, issued the following statement in response to the decision:
Confirmation that Israeli athletes will be permitted to participate openly, under their own flag, in the upcoming Abu Dhabi Grand Slam tournament is welcome news.
ADL has long urged that international sporting federations ensure that Israeli participants are treated in the same manner as all other competitors. Last year, I conveyed ADL’s strong concerns to IJF President Marius Vizer that the Federation take action against any discrimination against Israeli participants by the local organizers, insisting “the IJF (must) intervene in this matter and ensure, under the risk of penalty, that the Israeli delegation is treated fairly and equally to other countries, and its athletes be allowed to compete under their flag and country name.’
After Israeli judoka Tal Flicker won a gold medal at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, it was deeply painful watching him have to mouth the words to the Israeli anthem Hatikva while his hosts insisted on playing the IJF’s anthem instead. If another Israeli athlete wins the gold again in Abu Dhabi next month, I am optimistic that the organizers will play the right anthem this time.
The Anti-Defamation League looks forward to monitoring the implementation of these important commitments next month and calls on organizers of the Tunis Grand Prix judo tournament, which was also cancelled by the IJF, to take similar remedial steps.