When Sports and Politics Should Mix

On Monday Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer was supposed to play her opening round match in the Dubai Open, but she'll not be there because the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has denied her an entrance visa. The WTA should pull the plug on this tournament immediately and those women currently scheduled to play should pack their rackets and go home.

Peer was ostensibly denied entry as a political protest for Israel's incursion into Gaza. If the UAE was, in fact, making a political statement it renders shallow and preposterous the voices of several players who have said they don't wish to mix sports and politics. Sorry, but that option's off the table--the UAE has already mixed them.

Let's not deceive ourselves. This isn't a conventional political protest;it's another manifestation of the rampant Antisemtism convulsing the Arab world. There have been too many crocodile tears shed for Palestinians and not enough condemnation of the Antisemitism that fuels the ongoing tragedy in the Middle East. Imagine for a moment the hue and cry that would result if an Israeli tournament had blocked a Muslim tennis player. Sorry, but it works both ways. Antisemitism is violence in thought that leads to violence in deed.

Dubai's towering skyline is a testament to its desire to be a major player in global trade and capital markets. Entry onto the world stage must be accompanied by responsibility as well, and that includes a repudiation of the knee-jerk Antisemitism spread by hate-mongers.

Numerous players have expressed support for Ms. Peer and WTA CEO Larry Scott has promised to evaluate the future of the Dubai Open. Sorry--not good enough. A political statement needs to be made--this tournament should be over right now.

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