Letter to International Judo Federation Regarding Treatment of Israeli Athletes

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October 25, 2017

Mr. Marius Vizer
International Judo Federation
Jozsef Attila Str. 1
1051 Budapest

Dear Mr. Vizer,

The Anti-Defamation League is a 104 year old American organization with a mission to “fight the defamation of the Jewish people and secure justice and fair treatment for all. We are troubled by reports that the Israeli delegation to the judo Grand Slam event (October 26-28) in Abu Dhabi will be barred from competing under the Israeli flag.

According to these reports, Israel’s representatives were informed by the International Judo Federation (IJF) that they won’t be allowed to compete with the Israeli flag on their uniform, have “Israel” listed on the scoreboard, or have the Israeli national anthem played in the event an Israeli wins a gold medal. Instead, they will be identified as IJF representatives.

The politicization of sporting events has unfortunately become an all too frequent occurrence for Israeli athletes. Indeed, similar restrictions were placed on the Israeli delegation during the 2015 IJF event in Abu Dhabi, and it is highly concerning that seemingly no progress has been made to resolve this problem. The anti-Israel demands being made by the Abu Dhabi hosts are offensive and unfair, and grossly violate the non-political competitive nature of international sporting events.

We strongly urge the IJF to 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.

We further urge the IJF to enact policy to require host countries to permit all competitors to participate under their internationally-recognized flag.

I look forward to your reply on this matter.


Jonathan A. Greenblatt