“There is no room for politics” in sports, the Israeli Athletics Association said, condemning the attacks on the athlete by Arab-Israeli groups promoting hate.
Arab-Israeli high-jump champion Hanin Nasser, 22, was targeted this week by anti-Israel groups for her intent to represent Israel in the upcoming 2019 European Athletics U23 Championships in Gävle, Sweden, slated to begin on Thursday.
Hirak Haifa, a vocal Arab anti-Israeli youth group in Haifa, accused Nasser 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,” Hirak Haifa stated on its Facebook page, which has over 5,000 followers.
“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,” the organization charged.
Hirak Haifa also sent a personal letter to Nasser urging her to withdraw from the competition.
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) also assailed Nasser and urged her to cancel her participation in the international competition.
The attacks on Nasser were exposed by the Arab desk of the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu.
The Israeli Athletics Association rejected the attack and stated that “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 stood by Nasser and posted support for 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.”
“We wish Hanin the best of luck and hope that she continues to break records and fulfill her dream through athletics. She is the hope to build a bridge of co-existence and true integration between all sectors of Israeli society,” he added.