30 January 2017

STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

DAVIS CUP TENNIS TIE IN’S THREATENED BY EXTREMISTS

It comes as no surprise that the likes of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), PSA (Palestine Solidarity Alliance), PSC (Palestine Solidarity Committee) and the NC4P (National Coalition 4 Peace) have banded together to call for a public boycott to “smash” Israel at the SA Tennis courts. 

The Davis Cup (the “World Cup of Tennis®”) is the largest annual international team competition in sport, and the “tie in” matches between South Africa and Israel will be hosted at the Irene Country Club in Centurion - February (2nd/3rd). 

In a typical stance of vicious recourse, the call for protest by the aforementioned organisations, paired with a visual of a demonstrator wearing a gas mask, and hitting a smoke bomb with a tennis racquet, was posted across social media.

Reaffirming that Tennis South Africa (TSA) are not politically aligned, they have issued a statement confirming their position of the upcoming Davis Cup tie: “One of the ITF’s [International Tennis Federation] key objectives for this competition is to grow the sport of tennis, and to do so without discrimination on the grounds of colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, age, sex or religion. The ITF believes that sport should be used as a unifying element between athletes and nations”.

As the South African Zionist Federation, we echo the sentiments of the TSA and ITF. This continued, destructive, disruptive, aggressive and nonsensical behaviour breeds amongst those that are easily manipulated to hate, without understanding the real facts. They leech onto any event in which they feel they can influence their blind followers, leading them down a dark path of hate-fueled lies and misinformation. How does this behaviour allow for peaceful negotiations and a way forward, which they continuously blame everyone else but themselves for obstructing?  We implore the broader public not to be persuaded by extremist behaviour by those who propose these boycotts (which often leads to violence).  

Further supporting this hypocrisy, mothers, sisters and wives excitedly attended a soccer match in the Gaza Strip recently, only to be turned away. Authorities in the Palestinian enclave run by Islamist terror group Hamas, told the women they had orders not to allow them into the stadium. This highlights the real issue,  that their own people are the oppressors, dictated by the unwavering and unforgiving Hamas regime.

The majority of the South African Jewry strongly condemns and is utterly disgusted by this hypocritical behavior in an effort to sabotage and upstage a sporting event, by turning it into a political plight.  As proven in previous years, sports is a tool for reconciliation, and the 1995 Rugby World Cup is an apt example of that, as was the 2010 Soccer World Cup. 

We encourage you to show your support for both South Africa and Israel, as they gear up for the tie in’s this weekend. Let us create a positive image that is beyond politics, and all about healthy competition and unity through sport.

 

Ben Swartz

National Chairman – South African Zionist Federation

TENNIS.jpg