Chicago Sun-Times
With Lori Rackl

Dubai tourism backlash over ouster of Israeli tennis player

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As reported over the weekend, the United Arab Emirates denied a visa to Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer, so she is unable to play in the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Tour operator IsramWorld responded with this volley today:

New York - February 17, 2009: One of America's largest tour operators, New York-based IsramWorld has cancelled its tour programs to Dubai, it was announced today in the wake of the United Arab Emirates' decision to deny a visa to Israeli tennis player, Shahar Peer, to participate in the Dubai Tennis Championships.
"The UAE's action is an odious act of political bigotry," says A. Ady Gelber, president and CEO of IsramWorld, a leading U.S. tour operator for more than four decades and a prominent member of USTOA (the United States Tour Operators' Association), "and it reveals that despite its massive investment in tourism infrastructure, Dubai appears not ready to be a member of the world tourism family."
IsramWorld offers tours and packages to 56 countries on five continents. In the wake of the Camp David Accords, it was one of the first U.S. tour operators to offer a diverse program of tours to Egypt, and in 1994 it began offering tours to Jordan. "I am deeply disappointed in the UAE's decision, one that seems to spell a return to the grim dark days of division and discrimination," observed Gelber.
The Dubai Tennis Championships are sponsored by Barclays, Britain's fourth-biggest bank that in 2008 acquired the assets of failed U.S. investment bank, Lehman Brothers. 
According to a report in Sunday's New York Times, when U.S. tennis champion, Venus Williams, learned of Peer's visa denial she said, "All the players support Shahar, we are all athletes, and we stand for tennis." Peer and her family urged the Women's Tennis Association not to cancel the tournament because of the incident, but The New York Times took an unusually strong position in its article on the controversy, saying: "There is always going to be international conflict, and athletes in the middle. But they can't be abandoned there when there is a choice. Tennis should finish its business in the gulf this month, and say bye-bye, Dubai."
"We're saying 'bye-bye, Dubai,' right now," Gelber added.
 
Thoughts? Comments?

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15 Comments

Doesn't Dubai discriminate against women? Duh.

It would be foolish for any Israeli or Jew or even an American to even think about going to Dubai in the first place! Spend your tourism dollars in American friendly places who appreciate our contributions financially to the world.

If you want to make a difference, you should contact the WTA directly. Ask for Larry Scott (Chairman & CEO, Sony Ericsson WTA Tour) and demand that the WTA end its relations with the UAE United Arab Emirates.

Corporate Headquarters
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Suite 1500
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
USA
Phone: +1.727.895.5000

European Headquarters
Palliser House, Palliser Road
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Phone: +44.20.7386.4100

Email
LSCOTT@WTATOUR.COM

I, an Israeli,wish to say to you fellow Americans, whether you support you democratic partner since WW2 or the Arab dictatorship/ terrorist/9.11 regiemes is up to you. Let the politicians fight the deplomatic war in the diplomatic field. And lets keep sports away from those ugly politions. What does a 19 year old tennis player know? Infact, if anything can bring people together - its sports.
If you brink politics to sport - Why not terrorist to politics. How about a Bin Ladan in congress fighting to ban women from working in public sateting they should stay at home and make food and kids.
I invite all of you to beutiful Israel, where the sun shines in the morning no matter who you are. Take a look in the mirror before you go banning people or countries.

Dubai was wrong in this matter. It should have never involved politics in the world of sports. Now it will experience the repercussions of its shameful act.

Dubai's decision to not allow an Israeli tennis player to enter its country to compete in the WTA tour is a despicable and filthy decision on its part. The United States government allowed Iran (an enemy country) to send its basketball and soccer players entry to the United States in an effort to bridge gaps between the two countries. Moreover, the United States on several occasions allowed the most evil man in our time, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, entry to the United States. If we allowed Iranian basketball and soccer players including its president entry to the United States why wouldn't Dubai allow Israeli citizens entry to its own country in order to compete in an international competition? Israel is not in a war with Dubai/United Arab Emirates and has never threatened to attack or destroy Dubai/United Arab Emirates. More appalling is that the Dubai government assured the WTA that if an Israeli was to compete in the tour, the government of Dubai would allow the Israeli entry to the country. It just shows that you can never trust Dubai again. This really sickens me. The WTA including its sponsors need to pull the plug on Dubai. I will never think about visiting Dubai again.

Thank you, Dubai.

Boycott Israel !

The decision by Dubai to bar Israeli sportspeople is 100 % justified. A country like Israel that treats people like subhumans DOES NOT deserve to be allowed to participate in international sporting events and should be boycotted at ALL international tournaments. It would be totally inappropriate for Arab countries like Dubai to be inviting Israeli players on its home turf at a time when Palestinians blockaded and impoverished under Israeli occupation are being made to live under appalling conditions. Kudos to Dubai for taking a stand against Israeli apartheid.

I wonder if the company stopped tours to israel after the recent slaughter they committed...

New York-based IsramWorld appears to be worrying about their bottom line, while I applaud the UAE's decsion from a SECURITY and SAFETY standpoint. With the current volitale situation in the ME why would anyone want to put undo security risks or should I say addtional security risks to a major international sporting event. It is hard enough to secure sporting events and to extend the best security to participants and fans no matter where in the world they take place, but why given the current situation in ME should one throw caution to the wind. Please dont forget that a few years ago the top golfer in the world a Mr Tiger Woods did not attend the Dubai Desert Classic due to security concerns, I dont remember seeing IsramWorld cancelling its tours to Dubai as a direct result of this action. So who is really the discriminating party? Also the bottom line is every country has the right to deny anyone the right to enter their soverign territory.

Ha, ha. I love Dubai!

By concerned reader, I suggest google "Unplug the Birthright" It's what the Jews who have souls do.

Why does the City of Phoenix Arizona and Mayor Phil Gordon and ASU President Michael Crow support the country of Dubai?

Mayor Gordon of Phoenix traveled to Dubai and is encouraging Dubai investments in Phoenix.

Doesn't Dubai's discrimination against Israelis make them bad partners for a city and University that prides itself as against discrimination?

Does their money blind us to their human rights abuses?

Concerned Reader, your blatant bigotry is disgusting. How in the world is supporting this athlete...regardless of nationality, "anti-American'? In fact, where is there anything American in this entire sordid affair?

Shame on Barclays for continuing to sponsor this event.

I did a bit of research, it turns out that the Barclays fortune was built on the slave trade. So in a way Barclays is just being consistent.

No kidding!

ISRAM World = Israel American World tours!
Politically trigerred eye for an eye principle disguized as an innocent tour operator whose main goal is toursim to Israel with special Jewish heritage trips!
WAKE UP AMERICA! run in different name but the faces and the agendas are still the same; anything for Israel even if it sometimes is Anti-American!

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This page contains a single entry by Lori Rackl published on February 17, 2009 11:12 AM.

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