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August 15, 2016 6:12 am

Arabic Media Invents Story of Olympic Revenge Against Israel

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Egypt’s Islam El Shehaby seen snubbing a handshake by Israel's Ori Sasson after being defeated in a first-round judoka Olympic match. Photo: The Israel Project.

Egypt’s Islam El Shehaby seen snubbing a handshake by Israel’s Ori Sasson after being defeated in a first-round judoka Olympic match. Photo: The Israel Project.

The Muslim world is still upset about the Egyptian judoka loss to an Israeli on Friday, after which Islam El Shahaby refused to shake hands with Or Sasson.

So the Arabic media has made up a story of Olympic revenge to restore Muslim honor.

EgyptianPalestinian and other Arabic outlets are reporting that the Muslim world exacted revenge on Israel for this loss by inflicting a humiliating defeat on another Israeli judoka. According to this narrative, 112th-ranked Mathews Punza of Zambia defeated 6th-ranked Israeli judoka Golan Pollack in a huge upset (video).

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There are two problems with this story of supposed revenge.

The first one is that the Pollack/Punza match occurred five days before the Sasson/Shahaby match.

The second is that I have no evidence that Punza is a Muslim. Zambia is an overwhelmingly Christian country, and a name like “Mathews” sounds more Christian than Muslim. While it is possible that Punza is Muslim, it seems unlikely.

Once again, it is all about honor — and the narrative of a Muslim humiliating a Jew as revenge is not only an irresistible story for Arabs, but a necessary one because they simply couldn’t live with themselves otherwise. They had no other opportunity for vengeance, and the idea of being a good sport about losing to a Jew is simply impossible for them to accept.

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