Israeli Arab athlete shrugs off pressure in representing nation in competition

July 11, 2019 by JNS
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Israeli high-jump champion Hanin Nasser, 22, was targeted by anti-Israel groups this week for representing Israel in the upcoming 2019 European Athletics U23 Championships.

Israeli athlete Hanin Nasser, 22, has been targeted by anti-Israel groups for representing Israel in the upcoming 2019 European Athletics U23 Championships. Photo: Facebook.

Hirak Haifa, a vocal Arab-Israeli youth group in Haifa, accused Nasser—one of Israel’s premier high-jumpers—of betraying the “Palestinian people” and urged her to disassociate herself from the “Zionist entity.”

“Hanin does not listen to the voice of her people and the voice of truth, and is still determined to participate in the name of ‘Israel’ in high-jump competitions in Europe,” posted Hirak Haifa to its more than 5,000 followers on social media.

“We condemn her representation of the Zionist entity that uprooted our people and is using her as a fig leaf to cover up the racism and crimes of Israel,” continued the NGO.

Hirak Haifa also sent a personal letter to Nasser pressuring her to withdraw from the competition.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) also lashed out at Nasser and urged her to cancel her participation in the international competition, which takes place July 11-14 in Sweden.

In response to the attacks on Nasser, which were discovered by the Arab desk of the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu, the Israeli Athletics Association said “there is no room for politics” in sports.

“Sports are a platform for unity and bringing people together, and there is no room for politics,” said the Israeli Athletics Association. “We are proud of Hanin and are pleased that she is representing us abroad and wish her the best of luck in the competition.”

Im Tirtzu, which also stood by Nasser and posted in support of her on social media, called the attacks nothing short of threats.

“These threats to Hanin cross a red line,” said the head of Im Tirtzu’s Arab Desk, Tom Nisani. “Rather than promoting integration and co-existence, these groups are promoting hatred, isolation and boycotts.”

Nisani continued: “We wish Hanin the best of luck and hope that she continues to break records and fulfil her dream through athletics. She is the hope to build a bridge of co-existence and true integration between all sectors of Israeli society.”


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