Pe'er Dubai Denial Denounced

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has called for the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to sanction Dubai.

Avraham Zuroff,

Dubai Refuses to Court Jews
Dubai Refuses to Court Jews
Israel News Photo: (file)

The excuse that the UAE was concerned about Ms. Pe'er’s security is spurious.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations called for the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to sanction the United Arab Emirates at its board meeting this weekend for its failure to allow Israeli tennis star Shahar Pe'er to participate in this year’s Barclays Dubai Championship.

In a statement released to the media, the Conference announced, “We find the United Arab Emirates’ decision to deny a visa to Ms. Pe'er because of her nationality, offensive, discriminatory, and unacceptable.” The organization, which represents 51 American Jewish organizations, added “The excuse that the UAE was concerned about Ms. Pe'er’s security is spurious. Any country that cannot assure the security of all players in a tournament should not be allowed to host it.”

The Conference called for the UAE’s discrimination to be declared unacceptable by the WTA and all international sporting associations, noting, “As we learned in the past, failure to condemn such actions and take corrective measures proves destructive to international sporting competition.” It furthermore called on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) not to go ahead with the upcoming men’s tournament if the UAE similarly denies a visa to Israeli men’s player, Andy Ram.

The Jewish leaders commended the Tennis Channel for cancelling its broadcast of the event, along with the Wall Street Journal’s Eurpoean edition for withdrawing its sponsorship. The Conference of Presidents also called upon Sony Ericson, sponsor of the tour, and Barclays, the sponsor of the Dubai championship tournament, to disassociate themselves from the UAE’s actions and to drop their future sponsorship until appropriate corrective measures are taken.

Dubai tournament organizers said on Tuesday that had Israeli tennis champion Shahar Pe'er participated in its women’s championships, local tennis fans would have boycotted the games. In addition, they expressed concern for her personal safety.

"Public sentiment remains high in the Middle East and it is believed that Ms. Pe'er's presence would have antagonized our fans who have watched live television coverage of recent attacks in Gaza," stated tournament director Salah Tahlak, who added, “We don’t wish to politicize sports.”

The United Arab Emirates, which has no diplomatic relations with Israel, recently denied Shahar Pe'er a visa for the tennis tournament. The rejection of the tennis player’s visa application violates WTA rules, which state that no host country should deny a player the right to compete at a tournament for which she has qualified by ranking.

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