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(This is my first diary. Apologies for the touchy topic).

I'm a tennis fan. Have been since I was a kid. Love the game, can't play it worth anything myself, though the girlfriend and I have gotten pretty good at the WII version.  

For real tennis, we like to watch the Sony Ericcson Tour. It has the best players, it's a good lead-up to the majors, and tickets in our area are usually more affordable and available.  

One of the players we've enjoyed watching over the past couple of years is Israeli star, Shahar Peer. She's young, plucky, well liked by the other players and never gives up a point without playing her heart out.  She's also on the rise in the rankings.  A couple of years ago, she got so far as to challenge Serena Williams at the Australian Open (quarter finals or semis, not sure which) and played really well.

But she won't be playing this week in Dubai because the UAE has denied her a visa for being Israeli.

More on the other side.

From the CNN report:

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) -- The United Arab Emirates has refused to grant a visa to a female Israeli tennis player, preventing her from competing in the Sony Ericsson World Tennis Association Tour in Dubai, the WTA said in a statement Sunday. The UAE has refused to grant a visa allowing Shahar Peer to compete in Dubai.

Shahar Peer would have been the first Israeli athlete to participate in a professional sporting event in the UAE, CNN Sports Correspondent Pedro Pinto said.

The governing body of women's tennis said it was "deeply disappointed" that Peer was being denied entry to the country hosting the tournament, but it did not cancel the competition.

Now, before you punish me with my own recipes :) for a first diary on I-P, let me establish, for the record, where I stand on the I-P issue:  

  • I support Israel's right to exist
  • I support Palestine's right to self-determination
  • I believe in a two state solution
  • I think Israel went way too far in Gaza (understatement).
  • I think Hamas deserves zero support for their asshatery.
  • I think both sides of the Gaza conflict should be investigated for war crimes.

What I don't stand for:

  • Bigotry
  • racism
  • scapegoating
  • antisemitism
  • anti-Arabism
  • Taking out conflicts on tennis players.

IMHO, I think the WTA should have called the UAE's bluff by canceling the tournament.  This a big event in Dubai.  I believe the UAE would have backed down rather than lose the event.  They may lose the event in the future, but, for now, a very good and promising tennis player is the one who is losing out because of lack of courage on all sides.

Originally posted to aggregatescience on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 04:36 AM PST.

Poll

Do you think Shahar Peer should have been denied a UAE visa?

61%73 votes
10%13 votes
9%11 votes
0%1 votes
0%1 votes
5%7 votes
10%13 votes

| 119 votes | Vote | Results

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