Two Israeli windsurfers were refused immigration visas and were unable to compete in the 45th Youth Sailing World Championships in Langkawi, Malaysia.Sail World, another magazine, and New Zealand's sailing association are also incensed:
Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan had won the Men's Under 19 and Women's Under 17 and Under 19 divisions at the RS:X Youth World Championships, in July 2015, but the Malaysian Government decided they were not welcome in the country.
Malaysia considers that Israeli has illegally occupied Palestine, and the diplomatic connections between both nations are inexistent. However, and according to the rules of World Sailing - the world's governing body for the sport of sailing - the organising host must ensure that all national sailing authorities can send their teams to participate on equal terms.
"We will raise this matter in World Sailing Committees and Council to ensure that World Sailing can and will enforce necessary actions in time, so we can hold the organising host of World Sailing Events responsible to the terms under which they were appointed," stated Hans Natorp, president of the Danish Sailing Association.
"It is furthermore our recommendation to the World Sailing Executive Committee to recognise that the participation at the 2015 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship is non-representative and, therefore, consider, if the events status as an official world championship should be revoked."
As a result, Omer and Drihan were not able to defend their leading ranking positions. A healthy rivalry has censored for political reasons.
"We have three concerns. The first is for our sport. US Sailing believes that sailors of all nations are entitled to equal opportunity to compete. Our second concern is for all athletes. US Sailing feels strongly that sports and politics should not mix, and that athletes should not be used for political gain," adds Bruce J. Burton, president of US Sailing.
"Our third concern is for regattas going forward, specifically the ones that our athletes will participate in and those we host in the U.S. World Sailing must ensure that similar MNA breakdowns will not occur for every scheduled event on the World Sailing schedule."
SurferToday has decided not to publish the overall results of the 45th Youth Sailing World Championships, held in Langkawi, Malaysia. SurferToday believes that sport and politics don't mix - athletes of all regions of the world should never be banned from competition.
Sail World editor Richard Gladwell says the decision is outdated.Now Malaysia is also causing problems for Israel's table tennis team:
"They've used the tactics that we saw in the apartheid era to keep the All Blacks or the Maori out of rugby teams by basically putting visa restrictions on them."
Malaysia [drew] up a list of conditions for the Israelis to be considered for visas. It included no flying of the Israeli flag, no national emblem on their sails and no playing of the Israeli national anthem if they won a medal.
"Of course these conditions haven't been put on any other countries," Gladwell said.
"Imagine the uproar if New Zealand had these sorts of conditions and we had to go there as honorary Australians or something like that. It's just a completely unacceptable situation."
Yachting New Zealand's chief executive David Abercrombie said the Kiwi sailing organisation wanted to take action against the discrimination.
"I really believe that World Sailing have to step in here and make a stance because Malaysia or Lankawai haven't adhered to the rules set by World Sailing for holding an event of this nature."
The next storm involving Israel, Malaysia and sport is already brewing, with the blue-and-white table tennis squad still waiting to receive visas for the World Table Tennis Championships to be held in Kuala Lumpur in February.When an opposition politicians in Malaysia criticized the decision to ban the athletes, the response was...interesting:
The Israeli association has been working with its Malaysian equivalent over recent months to solve the matter, but the issue has yet to be resolved.
Veteran opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said the Democratic Action Party (DAP) intends to sue a "senior political leader" for claiming it was offered RM1.2 billion (S$393.5 million) by Israel in exchange for building a naval base in Malaysia for use by Tel Aviv, should it win the general election.If you want to see real life examples of Israel Derangement Syndrome, Malaysia is a perfect place to start.
The claim was made last week by Mr Mohd Zuhdi Marzuki, research director at an institute owned by Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS). The accusation of ties between the Chinese-based DAP and Israel, which has no diplomatic ties with Muslim-majority Malaysia, comes at a sensitive time for the party.
Last week, a DAP Perak leader was widely chided for condemning the government after it denied visas to two Israeli athletes due to take part in an international sailing event in Langkawi.