Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine suspended: a brave individual pays the price for institutional failure

Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine suspended:
a brave individual pays the price
for institutional failure

Par Miko Peled

Une publication MintPress News

Dissidence Racisme Apartheid Sionisme Colonialisme
Algérie Palestine Israël Afrique du Sud
• Langue originale : anglais

If organizations such as the IJF, the IOC, and other international sporting giants acted responsibly and prevented teams that represent Israel from participating in international sports, individual athletes would not need to risk their careers and act, as Fethi Nourine did, alone.


BUDAPEST, HUNGARY — As these words are being written, Palestine and those who support freedom and justice commemorate the horrific murder of Muhammad al-Durrah and serious wounding of his father Jamal by Israeli forces in Gaza. It was September of 2000. The video of the killing of 12-year-old Muhammad and wounding of his father, who was trying to shield him, became one of the symbols of the second Palestinian Intifada.

The following day, October 1, 2000, the Israeli police shot and killed 13 young Palestinian citizens of Israel who stood up and protested in northern Palestine, near Umm El-Fahm. No one stepped in to save the father and son, few stand today to oppose Israeli brutality. When an individual does dare to stand, they are, more often than not, punished.

Punished for standing up

In the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Fethi Nourine, an Algerian Judo competitor stood up. He refused to compete with a member of the Israeli olympic team. Nourine placed his principles, standing with Palestine and its people, ahead of his own career and, in a move that could cost him his career, he challenged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Judo Federation and said that racist, apartheid Israel has no place in the Olympics. In September of 2021, the International Judo Federation (IJF) issued a statement regarding Nourine and his coach Ammar Benikhlef. The statement read:

For the IJF Disciplinary Commission, it is evident that the two Algerian judoka, with malicious intent, have used the Olympic Games as a platform for protest and promotion of political and religious propaganda, which is a clear and serious breach of the IJF Statutes, the IJF Code of Ethics and the Olympic Charter. Therefore, no other penalty than a severe suspension can be imposed in this case.

On these grounds the IJF Disciplinary Commission:

– Pronounces against Mr NOURINE and Mr BENIKHLEF ten (10) years suspension each from all events and activities organised or authorised by the International Judo Federation and its unions, commencing 23rd July 2021, through to 23rd July 2031.

First of all, they did not promote religious or political propaganda. Nourine stood up for principles that both the IOC and the IJF need to adapt as well: supporting justice and freedom and opposing racism and violence. Second, why not use the platform of the Olympics to stand for justice and freedom? What better place than the Olympics to show that one is not only a great athlete, dedicated and disciplined but also caring and principled?

International Organization dereliction of duty

Once again, here is an example of a person who stands up and does the right thing and is being punished. During the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Nourine was suspended because he refused to compete with a member of the Israeli team. Nourine’s actions are completely justified and show that he is a man of character, a principled athlete, and an exemplary martial arts practitioner. The big question here is why does the IJF and the IOC allow athletes who represent Israel to participate in their games?

If organizations such as the IJF, the IOC, and other international sporting giants acted responsibly and prevented teams that represent Israel from participating in international sports, individual athletes would not need to risk their careers and act, as Fethi Nourine did, alone. It is only because the large organizations are derelict in their duties to adhere to international law, maintain a moral code, and act responsibly that Nourine had to do what he did.

Standing against Apartheid South Africa

During the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the IOC banned the South African team from participating in the Olympics in order to demonstrate the unified and international disapproval of South African apartheid.

Then, in 1968, after the South Africans made some cosmetic changes to the way athletes were chosen and allowed a few token Black South Africans on the team, the IOC voted to allow the Republic of South Africa to participate in the Summer Olympics, which were held in Mexico City.

In response to this, several countries mobilized to boycott the Olympics of 1968. They wanted to make their disapproval of South African apartheid practices known. Those countries believed that the reforms implemented by the South Africans did not ensure equality for nonwhite South African athletes.

Then the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa, a coalition of 32 countries in Africa, initiated the boycott campaign against South Africa’s participation in the Summer Olympics of 1968. The 32 were unanimous on this issue and were later joined by Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Somalia. India and the Soviet Union threatened to join the boycott as well.

A story in the March 8, 1968 issue of Time magazine reported about the possibility of a second, mini-Olympics to be held during that year’s summer olympic games:

A mini-Olympics? That was the possibility last week as no fewer than 39 nations announced that they would boycott next October’s Mexico City games in protest over the International Olympic Committee’s decision to readmit South Africa.

This led to a decision by the IOC to officially withdraw its invitation to South Africa to participate in the Summer Olympics that year. The ban against South African participation in the Olympics continued until 1992, when South Africa appeared to be making headway in ending apartheid and finally demonstrating equal treatment of all athletes.

In time, South Africa was expelled from every major world sports federation. In Britain the turning point came in 1969–70. Demonstrations and direct action took place at every rugby match played by the Springbok rugby team on its 23-game tour of Britain. Then the following summer’s cricket tour was canceled.

In 1980, the United Nations began compiling a list that was known as the “Register of Sports Contacts with South Africa.” This was a list of athletes and officials who had participated in events within South Africa; it was compiled mainly from reports in South African newspapers. Even though being on the list did not result in any punishment, it was used as pressure on athletes, a sort of moral litmus test.


When people hear that there must be a boycott in place and that sanctions must be placed on Israel, they think of agricultural produce and that sort of thing. However, the call for boycott requires the kind of action taken by Fethi Nourine on a massive scale. Currently he and a few other athletes who refuse to legitimize apartheid Israel are the lone voices amidst a choir of complicity.


 Aspect :
Blanc Blanc antique
Noir Gris ardoise foncé