Palestine – International Scandal Checkmates Israel…writes David Singer

December 29, 2013 by David Singer
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The 2013 World Youth Chess Championships just held in Abu Dhabi have been marred by the scandalous behaviour of the 120 national Chess Federations that agreed to compete against Israeli players as an unidentified group under the banner of FIDE – the World Chess Federation.

WorldChess The United Arab Emirates (UAE) like most Arab countries, does not recognize Israel. In 2009, the country denied Israeli tennis player Shahar Pe’er a visa to compete in the Dubai Tennis Championships, garnering widespread condemnation.

The invitation to compete was clear and unambiguous:

“The UAE Chess Federation and Al Ain Chess Club, under the auspices of FIDE, have the honor to invite all FIDE member federations to participate in the World Youth Chess Championships 2013 (Under 8, 10,12, 14, 16 and 18 years old – open and girls) scheduled 17 (arrival) – 29 (departure) December 2013 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.”

Somewhere thereafter the World Chess Federation became a willing player in excluding Israeli children aged 8-18 playing under their national flag and national identity.

Palestine – a member state of UNESCO whilst still claiming to be stateless – has been calling for inane and senseless academic and economic boycotts to be instituted against Israel in support of Palestinian statehood.

Yet Palestine is a member of the World Chess Federation and was represented by two players whose country was designated as “Palestine”.

The ultimate insult to individual Israeli competitors was the failure to list their country as “Israel” in the players’ biographies. Instead they were identified as citizens of “FIDE” – a place with no Capitol, area or population.

Palestinian competitors fared slightly better – players at least having their country identified as “Palestine” in their biographies – although that country too is listed without a Capitol, area or population.

One would be hard put to find a more blatant case of discrimination, racism and apartheid – – played out against children to boot.

What mindless morons representing Chess Federations in competing countries like America, Australia, England, Norway, Sweden, Canada and France allowed this farce to be perpetrated?

What have their Governments had to say about this pernicious and underhanded behaviour?

Barack Obama and the European Union share a common silence in failing to raise their voices in protest against delegations from their respective member Federations acting in this manner.

Even worse Israel seems to have accepted its children being treated as non-entities. Why were they not withdrawn from the competition when this heinous conduct was revealed?

JWire has reported the following:

” Moshe Slav, president of the Israeli Chess Federation told J-Wire: “It’s true that we were asked to play as the FIDE and that our flag and country name be removed from the tournament web site…but the request was made by Israeli security in order to safeguard the participants.”

Even the Israeli Chess Federation’s web site is carrying an announcement stating that the official web site for the Abu Dhabi tournament “which lists all the players and nationalities took down the Israeli flag and has even gone so far as to rename them from the country “FIDE” attributing them the FIDE flag as well. It is a very unfortunate precedent for the World Youth and unheard of until now.” They add that the Israeli flag was featured when the web site went public but has since been removed…

Moshe Slav added: “Our hosts were very good and I would like to take this opportunity of thanking Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin and the Limor Livnat the Minister for Sport for the wonderful help they provided. Sending the delegation was very costly and I would like to publicly thank through J-Wire those who helped fund the delegation’s costs.”

Did those contributing funds understand that the Israeli delegation would be treated in this shabby manner and that apparently the Israeli Chess Federation would roll over and allow the children to be compelled to play under the cover of anonymity?

At a time when Israel is being accused of alleged discrimination against its Arab and Beduin populations by a bevy of non-Government organisations (NGO) funded by wealthy overseas funds including substantial funding from the European Union – the double standards revealed in the course of this highly discriminatory competition beggars disbelief.

Yet it appears no protest has been raised by any of these NGO’s. Obviously discrimination against the Jewish population of Israel is acceptable. Indeed one would not be surprised if these NGO’s took the view that Jewish competitors – be they adults or children – deserve to be discriminated against in international forums and events such as these championships.

The views of funding organisations such as the Soros Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the New Israel Fund need to be sought out and clarified.

Will this practice now become acceptable at all future international meetings where Israelis attend?

It is about time Israel sat up, took notice and condemned such decisions in the strongest terms and demanded the same rights as are conferred on competitors from  other countries – instead of being constantly denigrated and delegitimised in an increasing number of cases of overt Jew-hatred justified as being necessary in the pursuit of the human rights of others.

The World Chess Federation and the member Federations that engineered this blatant  discrimination against Jewish children should hang their collective heads in shame.

I have requested the International Chess Federation to respond to this article prior to its publication – but no response has so far been received.

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network

Comments

11 Responses to “Palestine – International Scandal Checkmates Israel…writes David Singer”
  1. Parent says:

    Hello,

    I was physically present in Al-Ain, UAE, for the whole duration of the WYCC. My child played in the same section as a very highly rated player from Israel, who remained a medal contender throughout the tournament.

    I got acquainted with the father of the Israeli player and we chatted in the playing hall before most of the rounds, as well as in the waiting hall. During the first few rounds his child’s player card (a corrugated-cardboard triangular prism with the name, title, flag, country name and a starting rank that each participant had beside him at the chessboard during play) displayed “Israel” and showed the Israeli flag. After that, the stickers reading “FIDE” and showing the FIDE coat of arms were superimposed on the card. When I asked the father about this, he said that the Israeli security asked the organizers to use the FIDE name for security reasons, and while their accreditation badges were instantly re-printed with the FIDE name, everyone forgot about the player cards because they stayed in the tournament hall, rather than be carried by the players themselves.

    I believe this corroborates the official statement of the Israeli Chess Federation.

    I have seen several members of the Israeli delegation mingle with other officials and players freely all the time, and take part in the closing ceremony. I have not witnessed any alleged discrimination from the organizers.

    Thank you.


    A parent of the 2013 WYCC Participant

    • david Singer says:

      Thanks for your response.

      Seems from your account as though the reasons that prompted the “Israeli security concerns” were sadly missing at the tables for the first few rounds.

      Just another question that needs answering.

      Guess we will never know – but whoever was in charge of these security arrangements was very lax and fell down very badly – endangering the security of all present.

  2. Concerned WYCC attendee - name supplied but withheld on request says:

    I have been invited by David Singer to post a reply to his original article.

    From what I and many others personally observed, Israelis and Jews were treated fairly at this WYCC.

    I am qualified to comment, because I attended the entire WYCC, I was physically present and observed when the Israeli delegation registered on site, and I spoke repeatedly and at length with key members of the Israeli delegation. I am not affiliated with nor do I represent FIDE, the WYCC organizers, the UAE government, or the Israeli delegation, nor have I been asked by any of them to write this response. I am writing only as an individual who wants to ensure that the facts are presented, and in a fair and balanced manner.

    To provide some context, Israel originally registered for the WYCC on or about the original deadline. The WYCC organizers listed them on their web site under the Israeli flag and name. Israel then withdrew about a week before the WYCC, at the request of Israeli security. The WYCC organizers accordingly removed the references on its web site to Israel and its players. Israel then re-entered about two days before the WYCC, with the approval of Israeli security. The WYCC organizers again listed them on the WYCC web site under the Israeli flag and name. The WYCC organizers also promptly facilitated visas for the Israelis, despite their late re-entry. During that time frame, several other countries and several dozen other players withdrew or entered late as well. None of the above involved (or needed to involve) FIDE.

    Regarding Israeli players listed under the “FIDE” name, it was Israel alone who requested that they be switched from “Israel” to “FIDE.” I personally saw this happen at the registration desk on the first day of the WYCC. The WYCC organizers immediately complied, updated their database of Israeli players, and re-printed ID badges that they had already printed with “Israel.” FIDE was neither consulted nor informed at the time about this change, as such approval was required by, and given by, only the WYCC organizers. This change was then also reflected on the WYCC web site.

    Listing players under FIDE or another non-country is not unique to this WYCC. For example, there are several dozen non-Israeli players, both youths and adults, listed under “Federation: FIDE” on the FIDE web site itself – please see http://ratings.fide.com/advaction.phtml?idcode=&name=&title=&other_title=&country=FID&sex=&srating=0&erating=3000&birthday=&radio=name&line=asc. As another example, some players at the recent European Youth Chess Championships were listed under “Federation: European Chess Union” in tournament results – please see http://chess-results.com/tnr106045.aspx?lan=1&art=25&fedb=EUR&turdet=YES&flag=30&wi=984.

    At the request of Israeli security, the Israeli team stayed at a hotel, rather than in campus dorms as did most other competitors. However, all delegations had the option of where to stay. Indeed, some people in my country’s delegation chose to stay at a hotel, for comfort, and for their greater peace of mind about young children. The dorms were not unsafe per se, but a dorm setting with tiny single-person rooms, and shared bathrooms, might not be perceived as suitable by some parents for their young children.

    Regarding the more general treatment of Israelis, the WYCC organizers and other delegations treated Israelis the same as others. For example, emails sent to all Heads of Delegation equally included Israel. The WYCC organizers invited all Heads of Delegation, equally including Israel (who attended), to an exclusive reception and dinner at a private residence of His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, son of Khalifa bin Zayed, ruler of Abu Dhabi and the President of the United Arab Emirates. Commemorative glass plaques of appreciation were offered equally to each attendee at this special event. As well, during the WYCC, there were no known negative incidents involving Israeli players.

    At the conclusion of the WYCC, the WYCC organizers re-listed Israel under their flag and name – please see http://www.worldyouth2013.com/playerlist/country and click on the Israeli name and flag in its correct alphabetical spot.

    David has certainly presented credible evidence that during the WYCC, Israeli players were listed under FIDE instead of Israel on their ID badges, on their table cards, and on the WYCC web site. However, David has not presented a shred of evidence, only conjecture, that anyone other than the Israelis themselves made those requests or decisions.

    Regarding David’s sources of information, David was not present at the WYCC, nor has he indicated in his posting, nor to me, that he has spoken with or emailed anyone who was present (other than me), including the WYCC organizers themselves. FIDE has not responded to David’s request for comment on his specific article, nor has FIDE responded directly to similar postings on other web sites. Instead, FIDE chose to post a more general statement on their web site written by the Israeli Chess Federation: http://www.fide.com/component/content/article/1-fide-news/7637-announcement-of-the-israel-chess-federation.html. The statement includes “We would like to state very clearly that this move was done as a result of our security people’s request and with full cooperation with the local organizers” and “We cordially appreciate all those who were standing on our rights in what looked like a breach of it but we stress again – this was not a decision or initiative of the U.A.E. authorities but ours and we would like to thank the organizers and FIDE events commission for their cooperation and for the excellent treatment our delegation was met.” FIDE clearly also supports this statement, or they would not have published it on their web site.

    I would not have a problem if David had disagreed with the strategy of Israeli security – that is a matter of opinion. However, David made, without qualification, accusations against FIDE, against the WYCC organizers, and against other delegations. Those accusations included inflammatory and patently false claims such as “blatant case of discrimination, racism and apartheid”, “mindless morons representing Chess Federations in competing countries … allowed this farce to be perpetrated”, “pernicious and underhanded behaviour”, “heinous conduct”, “Israeli delegation … treated in this shabby manner”, “double standards revealed in the course of this highly discriminatory competition beggars disbelief”, “discrimination against the Jewish population of Israel”, “demanded the same rights as are conferred on competitors from other countries”, “constantly denigrated and delegitimised in an increasing number of cases of overt Jew-hatred”, and “blatant discrimination against Jewish children.”

    In my opinion, it is not responsible journalism to post such accusations without a shred of evidence, and not to post a correction given credible evidence to the contrary, e.g. the above statement from the Israeli Chess Federation, and my eye witness account provided to David soon after his original posting. In my experience, this type of sensationalist journalism with unfounded accusations undermines the credibility of legitimate claims of wrongdoing, and fans the flames of hatred.

    I would encourage readers to carefully consider David’s original posting, and my rebuttal above. Please consider the sources, weigh the evidence presented, and draw your own conclusions. I would also encourage David to continue to pursue and call out bona fide cases of inappropriate behaviour.

    • david SInger says:

      I made it clear to this correspondent that whilst I accepted he attempted to honestly answer many questions I put to him – I indicated I was not prepared to alter the article as FIDE had not seen fit to respond to my allegations when asked to do so prior to publication. It still has not done so.

      Commenting on his response:

      1. “Concerned WYCC attendee” has revealed Israel withdrew from the competition about a week before it was to start and re-entered two days before it opened.

      The organisers and FIDE are silent on what transpired during that time but the Times of Israel reported:

      “The youths were allowed to compete — albeit anonymously — after Israeli Chess Federation head Moshe Shalev, backed by Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin, warned the organizers that if they refused to host the Israeli team, FIDE would nullify the tournament.

      As a result, the organizers agreed to host the delegation, but took steps to cover up its identity. The Israeli flags and uniforms were stashed away and the name of the country was removed from the tournament’s website.

      As a result, this week, the five young Israeli chess players on the team — Omer Reshef, Alon Mindlin, Michal Lahav and Shoam Cohen along with Anastasia Vuller, who placed first in the under-10 European chess championship that took place in October — were able to compete in an Arab country for the first time in history.”

      The suggestion by “Concerned WYCC attendee”that it was Israel alone that came up with this arrangement seems incredulous after reading the Times of Israel report.

      FIDE and the organisers need to clarify what occurred

      2. As to listing players under FIDE – only the Israeli team members were listed as such. After the competition closed two new non-Israeli names have been added. The five Israelis have been removed as representing “FIDE”, the Israeli flag has now been inserted in the list of Federations competing and the team members biographies have been changed to show they competed as Israelis.

      Why was this action thought necessary after the competition closed and who made the decision to do so? The team did not compete as Israel – why was the web site changed to show that they supposedly did?

      Why have two new names been added in FIDE after the competition ended?

      3. Regarding the claim that the Israelis were treated fairly at the championships:

      Can he explain why not one of the five Israelis played any matches against any of the competing Arab countries which included:
      Algeria,Bahrein,Egypt,Iraq,Jordan,Kuwait,Lebanon,Palestine,Qatar,Saudi Arabia,Sudan,Syria,Tunisia,United Arab Emirates,Yemen.

      4. The “security concerns” trumpeted as the reason for the extraordinary manner in which Israel competed – supposedly dreamt up by Israel alone according to the Israeli Chess Federation President – were blown wide open during the competition – when the anonymous conditions under which Israel was competing were revealed in the media.

      Why did FIDE, the organisers and Israeli security then allow the team to continue competing when the security not only of the Israelis – but all competitors – had been compromised and endangered by the leaked media reports?

      Perhaps JWIRE might now like to pose these questions to FIDE, the organisers and the Israeli Chess Federation President to try and elicit some responses.

      Hopefully the silence will not be as deafening as it has been until now.

      • Concerned WYCC attendee says:

        In response to some of David’s further points, where I have first-hand knowledge, or could readily find information in the public domain:

        1. “I was not prepared to alter the article as FIDE had not seen fit to respond to my allegations when asked to do so prior to publication.” Then I suggest you weigh the evidence that you DO have – a published statement from the Israeli Chess Federation, and eye witness statements from me (and now from one other reader). You have not provided any evidence of most of your allegations.

        2. “The organisers and FIDE are silent on what transpired during that time”. I heard first-hand from Israeli officials that they withdrew at the request of Israeli security, and re-entered upon subsequent approval of Israeli security. Have you asked the WYCC organizers to confirm that they were not involved in those decisions? FIDE has no involvement with the entry or withdrawal of countries or individuals from the WYCC.

        3. “Times of Israel reported … Israeli Chess Federation head Moshe Shalev [sic], backed by Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin, warned the organizers that if they refused to host the Israeli team, FIDE would nullify the tournament.” The official statement from the ICF contradicts this, as does the fact that the Israeli team was posted by the WYCC organizers on the WYCC web site, under “Israel”, on or about the original entry deadline. What evidence did the Times of Israel provide to back this allegation? Their article at http://www.timesofisrael.com/israelis-play-chess-in-dubai-on-the-sly/ does not quote any source.

        4. “only the Israeli team members were listed as such [FIDE]”. This is not true. See snapshot of the WYCC web site taken during the tournament at http://www.jihadwatch.org/2013/12/world-youth-chess-championships-in-uae-obliterate-israel-list-israeli-players-as-from-the-nation-wor/. It includes “Nderim Saraci” listed under FIDE, who was not part of the Israeli delegation.

        5. “Why have two new names been added in FIDE after the competition ended?” As previously stated, there are many examples of non-Israeli players listed under “FIDE” or “EUR” on FIDE and chess results web sites. That has no relevance to how Israelis were treated at this WYCC.

        6. “Perhaps JWIRE might now like to pose these questions to FIDE, the organisers and the Israeli Chess Federation President to try and elicit some responses.” I think it would be reasonable to ask the local WYCC organizers (if they still exist as an entity now that this WYCC has ended), and the ICF; FIDE is not involved in WYCC logistics.

        • David Singer says:

          In response to your numbered comments:

          1. Your account and that of Parent appear to conflict with each other and both are contrary to the report in the Times of Israel – which also contradicts the statement issued by the Israeli Chess Federation.

          2. What you heard and were told conflicts with what the Times of Israel reported. I have not approached the organisers of WYCC for their story. The invitations to compete expressly stated that the championships were being conducted under the auspices of FIDE – which so far as I am concerned is responsible for providing any response. It was a world championship after all – not a local tournament. It is hard to believe that the politics of an Israeli team competing in a world championship in an Arab country did not raise problems for FIDE that it had to resolve. FIDE needs to be upfront and confirm what occurred between Israel’s withdrawal from the competition and its subsequent re- entry. FIDE is condemned by its continuing silence.

          As an obviously involved person in the Chess world – you should be asking questions and demanding answers. Averting your gaze is not the answer – given the allegations made by me and many others who have written on this sorry saga.

          3. The conflicting stories can only be clarified by a statement from FIDE whose continuing silence in my opinion continues to give credence to the Times of Israel report. Let FIDE deny it in a one-line sentence.

          4 and 5. This is new information – but I would appreciate the date this snapshot was taken. However there are now two persons so listed.
          http://worldyouth2013.com/playerlist/country/245
          Who changed these details on the web site after the competition ended and why?

          6. See my response in 2 above.

          Interestingly you have seen fit to ignore responding to these following two matters arising from your initial response:

          A. Regarding your claim that the Israelis were treated fairly at the championships:

          Can you explain why not one of the five Israelis played any matches against any of the competing Arab countries which included:
          Algeria,Bahrein,Egypt,Iraq,Jordan,Kuwait,Lebanon,Palestine,Qatar,Saudi Arabia,Sudan,Syria,Tunisia,United Arab Emirates,Yemen.

          B. The “security concerns” trumpeted as the reason for the extraordinary manner in which Israel competed – supposedly dreamt up by Israel alone according to the Israeli Chess Federation President – were blown wide open during the competition – when the anonymous conditions under which Israel was competing were revealed in the media.

          Why did FIDE, the organisers and Israeli security then allow the team to continue competing when the security not only of the Israelis – but all competitors – had been compromised and endangered by the leaked media reports?

          Care to answer why you have not replied to either of these issues?

          Sorry – but until FIDE disavows the contents of my article and responds to the new information arising out of our correspondence on JWire – my story stands unaltered.

  3. Stephen says:

    Agreeing to be a non entity is a short step from agreeing to be known as only a number. Which is a short step to having no choice to being only a number.

  4. Gil Solomon says:

    Well now we have the official response from the Israeli Chess Federation signed by its president Moshe Slav.

    Below is a quote as reported in J-Wire today:
    “During the event there were several publications and petitions from several institutes and individuals about the fact that the flags of Israel were removed from the relevant tables in the tournament and from the official web as well and replaced by flags of FIDE. We would like to state very clearly that this move was done as a result of our security people’s request and with full cooperation with the local organizers. While we believe that participation of Israeli players in events held in Arabic countries, and vice versa of course, with Israeli flags is very positive and contributing to a good atmosphere, we all realize that such events need security solutions and strict cooperation about.”

    So the Israeli security services didn’t feel they were up to the task of protecting 5 chess players and a few others accompanying them, unless the name of the country they represented or the flag of Israel was removed.

    What a dismal dark precedent to have set.

    In my opinion, an utter disgrace in line with what the current leadership of Israel is doing in dismembering the country.

    • David says:

      Gil

      If Stav is to be believed – can we expect that all similar international events in which Israel is represented will be conducted under the same cover of anonymity?

      Of course Israel’s cover was blown during the Chess championship by JWire – so the much vaunted security arrangements to protect the young competitors were not worth a tinker’s cuss.

      Hopefully this exercise in Jewish dhimmitude will be the last time it is allowed to occur.

      Many maps do not show Israel as a State. We now are being led to believe Israel’s security establishment is more than happy to acquiesce in this blatant discrimination and apartheid.

      Would be great to get a comment from the security person who came up with this failed idea.

      By the way – the International Chess federation still has not replied.

  5. Gil Solomon says:

    David,

    A very well written and comprehensive article.

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