Recounting his initial refusal to stand up for the subjugated Jews of Nazi-Germany, Pastor Martin Niemoller concluded his famous poem stating,
“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Representatives from Abu Dhabi (an Emirate of the United Arab Emirates) invited two European soccer clubs to play a match in their country, with one precondition: that Israel-born Jewish soccer player Dan Mori would not be allowed to participate in the match. Not only would Mori be denied inclusion, he would also not be permitted to set foot in the UAE. Dutch soccer club Vitesse agreed to the preconditions, leaving Mori behind as they took off for Abu Dhabi.
Mori’s story is an example of the frequent discrimination faced by citizens of Israel, or those who have visited Israel, that try to travel to Muslim majority countries. Many of these countries flat-out deny entry to anyone with an Israeli passport, or foreigners who simply have an Israeli entry stamp.
Seventeen countries maintain an official policy that does not allow entry to individuals with Israel passports/and or entry stamps, including: Algeria, Indonesia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and UAE, among others. A common example of this discriminatory policy occurs in Lebanon, where, according to the US State Department:
Travelers holding passports that contain visas or entry/exit stamps for Israel will likely be refused entry into Lebanon and may be subject to arrest and imprisonment. Persons seeking entry into Lebanon who have previously traveled to Israel may face arrest and/or detention even if the travel documents they are currently using do not have Israeli stamps or visas.”
Anti-Israeli and Anti-Jewish discriminatory policies in Muslim-majority countries is not a new occurrence, dating back to the beginning of the Islamic Era in the Arab world. However, studies suggest discrimination is on the rise in Europe. According to a survey organized by the EU Agency for Fundamental rights, over 80% of those surveyed in France, Sweden, and Belgium believed anti-Jewish discrimination had dramatically increased in just the last five years. In Hungary, 91% agreed with the sentiment.
The founders believed that it was essential to guarantee the unalienable rights of every individual in order to maintain the structural fabric of our Republic, founded in liberty.
While the case of Dutch soccer player Dan Mori may not provide for by itself the ultimate demise of the civil society in the Netherlands, it does empower what John Adams called “the tyranny of the majority” to continue its bully tactics unchecked, opening the door for further prejudice and bigotry.
Follow Jordan Schachtel on Twitter: @JordanSchachtel