Wojdan Shaherkani And The Olympics

I confess a rather limited interest in the London 2012 Olympics but I had been looking forward to seeing Wojdan Shaherkani compete.

I am glad she came to London 2012 but there is a wider significant, as the WSJ explains:

“But the rapid defeat didn’t detract from the bout’s significance: Shaherkani became the first woman to compete for Saudi Arabia in the Olympics—a breakthrough moment in the ultraconservative kingdom.

After the match, speaking through a Saudi judo official who translated her brief remarks to a hoard of dozens of reporters, she said she was “excited, very proud” of her ground-breaking appearance. Speaking on the sidelines after the fight, her coach, Mohamed Elsayed Sabeia, said in an interview that it was a “momentous” occasion.

She showed up wearing a white judo robe and black cloth wrapped tightly around her head. Her opponent was Melissa Mojica, one of the world’s top judoka in the heavyweight category.

Shaherkani had never participated in an international judo bout. She was invited to the Olympics in a symbolic attempt to strike a blow for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. The country prohibits women from playing sports in front of mixed audiences of men and women, and Saudi schools generally don’t provide girls with physical education.

Before the fight, some other judo fighters worried that Shaherkani wasn’t qualified to compete and suggested it could be dangerous for her to square off against Olympic athletes in the violent sport.

Those concerns faded quickly when the bout got under way. Shaherkani used a defensive strategy, trying to deflect Mojica’s advances. She succeeded a few times before Mojica grabbed hold of her and swung her to the ground. That ended the match. “

Mitt Romney On Twitter

Mitt Romney is being pulled apart by the British media and on Twitter under the hastag #RomneyShambles

There are far too many good contributions, but these struck me as about right:

SheSheGo ‏@SheSheGo

At this point, Mitt Romney is making George W. Bush and Sara Palin look like Rhodes Scholars. #RomneyShambles

Michael Pacholek ‏@MichaelPacholek

When Boris Johnson looks smart and sane by comparison, you know your trip to Britain is in #RomneyShambles.

Organic Democrat ‏@organicdemocrat

#RomneyShambles The sad part is that @MittRomney was up all night learning his lines for his meeting with PM.

DR ‏@pollbuster

#romneyshambles: More Romney fallout: ‘Apparently devoid of charm, warmth, humour or sincerity’ and this was one of the better reactions.”

If readers see any other good ones, please let me know.

Even the America media are getting in on the act.

Update 1: Vanity Fair covers it:

“Mitt Romney’s disaster of a European vacation continues to implode. In an Olympic ceremony in Hyde Park this afternoon, London mayor Boris Johnson mocked Romney’s earlier gaffe—Disconcerting-gate—and Romney’s dumb name. “There’s guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we are ready. Are we ready? Yes we are!” Did Johnson make air quotes with his hands when he said “Mitt Romney”? “

Update 2: The NY times touches on his real reason for visiting London:

“Although Mr. Romney hasn’t won over the British Prime Minister or the British Olympic Committee, at least some Londoners seem to have embraced the Republican candidate. The Telegraph reported yesterday that executives at Barclay’s—the bank that paid a huge fine over the Libor scandal–have donated $1 million to Mr. Romney. (All American citizens?) The Guardian said there is a fundraiser for him tonight in Mayfair for between $50,000 and $75,000 a ticket.

Update 3: Time haven’t missed out either.

TPM points to the real issue, money:

“With his London visit mired in controversy, Mitt Romney is also facing criticism for taking money from individuals implicated in an ongoing banking scandal.
Barclays executives have donated over $1 million to Romney’s campaign, according to the Guardian, and many are expected to be in attendance at Thursday’s fundraiser, raising eyebrows on both sides of the pond.”

Update 4: It’s on the BBC too.

Update 5: With the Huff Post picking it up I can’t wait for the YouTube spoofs to appear.

Politicus USA hasn’t missed out the comparison, Romney in Shambles as Britain Proclaims Him Worse than Sarah Palin.

Update 6: Romney and vanity go together rather well, as the Salt Lake City Olympics commemorative badges (pins for American readers) demonstrates.

Update 7: Over at the Atlantic, The Best of #romneyshambles.

Update 8: Romney gaffes in full.

The WSJ’s Romney’s Not-So-Secret Meeting With MI6.

No gold medal for Mitt Romney from British press.

From 2007, Mitt Romney: I won’t let US go the way of UK.

Mitt Romney’s Olympics blunder stuns No 10 and hands gift to Obama.

Jacques Rogge And The IOC

The inability of Jacques Rogge and the IOC to organise a minutes silence for athletes murdered in 1972 at the Munich Games speaks volumes, the JC reports:

“The widows of two of the Israelis murdered at the Munich Olympics emerged distraught and heartbroken following a meeting with IOC President Jacques Rogge this evening.

Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano spent half an hour pleading with Mr Rogge to change his stance on holding a minute’s silence at Friday’s London 2012 opening ceremony.
But their efforts in the private meeting at his Park Lane Hilton suite failed.

The women handed a petition, signed by 105,000 people, to Mr Rogge. When they asked whether the refusal to hold a silence was because the victims were Israeli, Mr Rogge refused answer.

He told them the IOC would consider building a statue at its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, in honour of the 11 Israeli victims.

Mrs Spitzer, whose husband, fencing coach Andrei Spitzer, was killed by Palestinian terrorist group Black September, said Mr Rogge had offered “his little excuses”.

Speaking immediately after the meeting she said: “We continue the fight. We brought everything we had. We gave him a ladder and said if you don’t do a silence at least say that terror is unacceptable.

“We were calm. We told him we were bitterly disappointed. We can’t believe he didn’t take the lead on this. We hope that people will show him up on Friday.

“For one moment I thought he was swaying and I pleaded with him do the right thing, the thing we all ask for.

“I asked him ‘is it because they were Israelis?’ and he didn’t answer.

“We were just about rolling over the table for him. We are outraged. We are so angry. We are sad. We could not believe it but he is not going to do it.

“I was looking him in the eye but he said we had two different opinions. We said ‘you didn’t hear the voice of the world’. He said: ‘Yes I did’.”

Murdered weightlifter Yossef Romano’s wife Ilana said: “Mr Rogge lives in his tower at the IOC and he forgets where he comes from – the Games in 1972. But he plays political correctness.” “

2012 Olympics, A Munich Silence Round-Up

I had hoped to do many more individual posts, particularly on the issue of a minutes silence at the 2012 Olympic games in memory of the athletes that were murdered in Munich 1972, but instead I present another round-up of news and events.

Jonathan Freedland at the JC:

“They sought to resurrect a lost and ancient tradition, at the centre of which was the high ideal known as the Olympic truce.

The official Olympic website traces this back to Greece in the 9th century BCE, when three rival kings agreed to halt hostilities while the Games were under way: “During the Truce period, the athletes… could travel in total safety to participate in or attend the Olympic Games and return afterwards to their respective countries.”

Today’s International Olympic Committee still proclaims that goal, insisting that it is committed to “protecting” all athletes as well as “searching for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the conflicts around the world”.

Forty years ago, the Olympic truce was violated in direct and brutal fashion. At the Munich Games of 1972, 11 athletes discovered they could not, after all, travel in “total safety” and that they would not, after all, be protected.

For Jews again to be killed on German soil was almost too much to bear.

The 11 were members of the team representing Israel. In their quarters in the Olympic village, they were seized by eight Palestinian gunmen disguised as athletes, taken as hostages, and finally killed in a botched rescue effort at a nearby airport. “

Personally, I would have preferred if Freedland had written it for the Guardian directly, but Jennifer Lipman does that and you can imagine what the comments boxes are full of? Disdain and barely concealed contempt for Jews and Israelis.

Helen Lewis at the New Statesman looks at online harassment and women.

Brown Moses has a fascinating post on Manaf Tlass:

“Hama Echo pointed me in a direction of a couple of picture of Manaf Tlass which may indicate that this defection is more about saving his own skin than any ideological differences with the Assad regime. In August 2011 the French anti-fascist website Reflex posted an article about members of the far right in France, including Frédéric Chatillon, founding a new website, InfoSyrie, to correct what they stated was the gross misrepresentation of facts by the Western media in the pay of the US and Israel.

The article goes on to describe links between the far right in France and the Alawite and Assad regime members in Syria, and describes a visit arranged by Chatillon for his associates, that include Thierry Meyssan, chairman of the Voltaire Network; Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, a anti-Semitic political activist; essayist Alain Soral; Ahmed Moualek, president of La Banlieue S’exprime (LBS); and Marc George to Lebanon, via a 5 day stop over in Syria.

This stop over in Syria is reportedly largely financed by the Tlass family, including hotels, sightseeing and drivers for their far right friends, including this meeting with Manaf Tlass (and other family members) pictured second from the left. “

There is a conspiracy theory doing the rounds concerning Arafat’s death. The NPR asks two key questions and read Hussein Ibish.

There’s another antisemitic attack in France (and I don’t expect BBC News or the Guardian to cover it in any significant way) but events in France are extremely worrying:

“A French Jewish teenager, who attends the Toulouse school where Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah shot dead three children in March, has suffered a violent anti-Semitic attack on a train, French media reports said on Thursday.

The attack on Wednesday took place on a train travelling between Toulouse, which is in the south-west, and the city of Lyon in the south-east, Le Figaro newspaper reported, quoting an interior ministry statement.

“A teenager aged 17 wearing a distinctive religious symbol, who attends Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, was taken to task and insulted by two individuals,” the ministry was quoted as saying.

He was then attacked near the toilets “by the same two individuals, who beat him up,” the statement said, adding that the attack ended when a fellow passenger and train conductors intervened. “

A rather naive Max Blumenthal eventually realises the company that he keeps.

The best and worst places in the world to be a woman.

A rye view of events in Israel.

Jon Stewart Mocks Mitt Romney, not hard, don’t mention Venn diagrams.

Undressing the Underwear Bomb Plot?

I tried to argue with Norm over the hyphen in antisemitism but he’d been there.

EDL activist jailed for 9 years.

Surreal? LBJ and Gordon Brown compared.

And a confused fascist.

Ziad J. Asali has some hard questions for One Staters.

Still, polishing a turd? The Lobbying company trying to help improve Assad’s image.

Meanwhile in the US, Alabama Pastors Conference Invites Only ‘White Christians’:

“A group of pastors in Alabama says that they are not racist even though only “white Christians” were invited to their three-day conference, which will include a cross burning and be attended by Ku Klux Klan (KKK) members.

Residents in Guin, Alabama became outraged earlier this week after they noticed flyers posted around the town that read, “Annual Pastors Conference All White Christians Invited.” The groups Christian Identity Ministries and the Church of God’s Chosen told WIAT that they just didn’t have the “facilities” to accommodate non-whites.

“We’re seldom ever have been invited to black Muslim events and we never have been invited to NAACP events and we never have been invited to join Jewish synagogues events and stuff,” Christian Identity Ministries Pastor William J. Collier explained.

“It has nothing whatsoever to do with any kind of racism or hate or anything like that,” he added. “And anybody who would brand it as that would be a racist and a hater themselves, you know.” “

Finally, if you didn’t know about Higgs Boson then this might help: