16 February, 2009

Dubai denies visa for Israeli tennis player

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP)— The top official in women’s tennis reprimanded the United Arab Emirates on Sunday for blocking an Israeli player from a premier Dubai tournament, calling the decision to deny her a visa "regrettable"

"All the players support Shahar. We are all athletes and we stand for tennis," said Venus Williams. Reigning French Open champion Ana Ivanovic said: "I really don’t like sports to be mixed with politics."

More here

It may well be insignificant - however, for sake of fair & full disclosure, the fact Peer works for Israeli military should be disclosed in news coverage, I think.

The New York Times had it's "say", as well.


hemlock said...

"All the players support Shahar. We are all athletes and we stand for tennis," said Venus Williams.

dude, i dont see no players boycotting the tournament; dubai cancelled new year's to 'show solidarity' with gaza...
it's the least these women can do... but then, people rarely mean what they say.

Anonymous said...

“We knew it was an issue, but we made it clear that she was going to be in the draw and we wanted to be optimistic that she would get the visa,” Scott said.

“Then they waited until the 11th hour to deny it.”

Ahhh, Dubai!

Dubai Entrepreneur said...

I am for opening full diplomatic and trade relations with Israel. I recognize Israel as a country and I don't care if it has a right to exist or not. Does anyone of us have a 'right to exist?'.. Not my call.

Having said that, the UAE, like any other country, has the unquestionable right to deny anyone access into their country, Israeli or not.

The US and the UK (and all other countries in the world) exercise this right and deny many people (wrongly or not) visas into their countries. Venus Williams can stick a tennis racket up her anus for all I care.

P.S. On a personal note, when the crisis first hit Dubai I felt happy that a lot of the greedy will get what they deserve.. including Dubai itself (it is a greedy city with no soul).. but as time went by, I feel increasingly inclined to defend the UAE and its actions. Is this traumatic bonding with Dubai in action? :)

Rami said...


No players are boycotting the tournament, but that seems to be a decision made by the WTA, the players and Peer and her family.

Next year is another question altogether. I fear Dubai may have just lost the tennis tournaments that have done so well here.

Not the best move.

Proud Emirati said...


Lirun said...

i think its a shame.. shahar is an A class sportsperson and an awesome athlete and she brings good things to tennis..

she is diginified and represents the sport well.. i admire her not just because we're both israeli but because she is shahar peer..

chairman of elal (israeli airlines) can be invited for a commercial trade fair but shahar cant play?

what a shame that dubai has just made itself look closed minded - ruining its heavily invested efforts to appear open and progressive..


Anonymous said...

Blogged about it here too:

Measured PR - and bye bye Dubai

What coincidence!

hemlock said...

Next year is another question altogether. I fear Dubai may have just lost the tennis tournaments that have done so well here.

with a quoted debt of USD 80 bn, i dont think dubai cares much for being politically correct :)

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Yeah. Almost the whole world boycotted the apartheid regime of south africa. Israel, which is more or less the same s**t, should be subjected to the same measures, until such time it comes to it senses.

Such measures are doubly needed when we learn that 94% of Israeli civilians (whom I suppose Shahar represent) supported the massacres of gaza.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

forgot to add: even if you are able to draw a line between politics and sports, the crowds may not be able to do that easily. We've got an example of that watching an israeli basketball team getting greeted with shoes in Turkey (again, during the times of Gaza massacres)

DUBAI JAZZ said...

wow, another gem of f**king marvelous reporting by the NYTimes, read the caption under the player's photo, it says:

a Jewish player traveling on an Israeli passport,

Yeah, nothing works better than flashing antisemitism card in their faces. Wonder what 'travelling under israeli passport' means though? IS SHE OR IS SHE NOT representing israel?

L' Insolente said...

D.E! Tsk tsk! Language Sir! There are ladies who visit this forum!

Now that we've got the niceties out of the way, I second the bit about the greedy getting what they deserve! Serves them right for living above their means and flashing credit cards! Zero sympathy for their current plight from yours truly! Time to fast greedy folks!

rosh said...

DJ, agree with most of what you say. I think the fact Shahar works (part/full time) for the Israeli military perhaps threw up a red flag, especially given recent sentiments. I can't imagine healthy vibes at the stadium, if she were to play a tennis match in the UAE? She'd be unfairly "booed" perhaps?

Lirun, at this time, not sure why visa was denied - perhaps it may well be given security issues toward Shahar. The last thing anyone want is harm coming her way and leave the WTA & UAE scarred. Given recent sentiments toward her in NZ-land (of all places!), am surprised she decided to play DXB? Sportsmanship is good, common sense is better.

DE :re Venus Williams - true that! I mean for god sake, the Willams sisters have boycotted a tournament in the United States the past several years, because they felt they have the right to do so.

Phaedrus said...

I'm proud to be from the UAE, we don't need people that kill, maim and strangle our children and our brothers to come and play tennis.

A US university also decided to divest on the same grounds:


rosh said...

umm..she hasn't "killed" anyone.

Phaedrus said...


I assume by she you mean:

She the iraqi girl that endured 10 years of sanctions and uranium enriched bombs.


She the Palestinian from Gaza, West Bank and the land of 48 that was evicted, her family killed and her brother burned with phosphorus.

Or Maybe:

She the Pakistani girl that has seen her childhood friends perish in predator attacks from farm above..

Then I Agree, she hasn't killed anyone...

To be from that state is to confirm that you belong to a kind of people that are willing to take your lands, your loved ones and the truth...

enough said.

samuraisam said...

"PARIS — The head of the WTA Tour says Dubai's lucrative tournament risks being struck from the tennis calendar after an Israeli player was refused a visa.
Tour chief Larry Scott said by phone Monday that barring Shahar Peer threatens the principle that sports and politics should not mix. He added that the decision could have ramifications beyond tennis."

Anonymous said...

Oy gevalt. that makes me so sad.

Lirun said...

israel is not a sporting nation..
dubai jazz- calling a nation shit is very reflective of you as a person.. it would be a shame to give people the wrong idea about your ethical fibre.. it would be a shame if you inspired others to make such nasty generalist statements about millions of people.. you seem to advocate against collective punishment and unfair treatment of people yet your reckless could easily mislead others to believe that you support innocent people getting punished for actions of others..

i think what i found interesting about this is that even though shahar peer is one of our (israels) darlings of sport - this story barely made the news in israel.. it was mentioned here or there but quickly slipped behind our concerns for the prospects of returning the hamas-held hostage gilad shalit..

the australian media however (representing a truer sporting nation) has already had multiple updates on this same story..


i think the impact that this has had on other athletes has already harmed the sport at large effectively barely punishing israel and yet dampening the spirits of the athletes from other countries who are now lobbying for this to be changed rather than focussing on their excellence in the sport..

what a missed opportunity to demonstrate the greater aspects of the UAE..

i think the smarter spin would have been to let her in and then rub it in israels face that while we (the israelis) may restrict the movement of palestinians - that we are unable to cause arabs to downgrade their world famous claims for being hospitable and welcoming..

i dont feel that the women need to boycott the game.. i dont think the women enrolled need to make things worse.. i think dubai has done enough damage to the series as is..

but i do stand proud to hear what the other girls had to say about shahar peer including her concern for palestinians.. showing you that just how hard it is to when even if you are a supporter of the palestinian cause - the vicious institutions of the pro-conflict world will not hesitate sacrificing you as if you were the most racist and nasty person alive.. spreading the message that being onside doesnt pay..

again - i think its a shame..

btw dubai jazz - i continue to thank you for supporting my country's ecomony during these tough financial times.. you might not let in my tennis player - but im glad you still enjoy using technologies we developed and profit from.. the bliss of selective boycotts

hugs and kisses

DUBAI JAZZ said...

ramifications beyond tennis? what? soft ball or figure skating?

or maybe beyond sports all together? that should conform nicely with their "no mixing sports with politics" mantra so nicely.

rosh said...

That's unfair. This is the only tournament in the UAE. Over the years, the organizers have done a brilliant job. Quite honestly, I think Scott and buffoons at the WTA, are making a joke of the tour and tennis. The tour isn't selling given lack of personable tennis players or those with some character to their game.

Lirun, I think a visa was denied given security concerns toward Shahar, not citizenship - 'cause most folks sort of know how DXB works - sentiments talk, monies walk. These aren't pleasant times. I don't think anybody can offer foolproof security.

Anonymous said...

Dubai has full right to grant or deny the player a visa. But to those who are cheering the move, saying that "Dubai will never allow entry to people who kill our brothers etc", why are you conveniently overlooking the fact that thousands of Americans are allowed entry inspite of their govt's wrongdoings?

IMO, just as American citizens arent denied entry due to their govt., Israeli tennis players shouldnt be denied on the basis of their govt's actions. Or is it that Gaza victims are more precious than Iraqi victims ?

DUBAI JAZZ said...

You’re a racist nation with ethnocentric and religio-centric exclusivity and agenda. Which is pretty much like how the apartheid used to be. And the apartheid was boycotted, sanctioned and excommunicated in sports, culture and politics. And guess what? Those sanctions were quiet effective.

It’s you who should explain his hypocrisy with regards to collective punishment, and what punishment do we have here? Being cut off from a single tournament? How is that going to hurt your ‘nation’ physically? This gesture is merely symbolic. Because this single sport contestant is representing your nation, whether as a team or an individual. Dubai probably doesn’t feel like having the Israeli flag high on a mast after what happened in Gaza.

On the other hand, what have you got to say about the tens of thousands of kids who have died in Iraq due to the collective sanctions imposed on the Iraqi people in the 90s? Or the thousands of arab guys being denied study visa to the US and elsewhere (i.e. getting punished) because of things their country (or countries) did or didn’t do?

p.s. I am not going to continue this exchange with you on this thread. Because contrary to the public belief, I don’t enjoy ‘debating’ with you. Nor I have the compulsive urge to post whenever israel’s name is mentioned. So let’s leave it at that.

Lirun said...


u can do as you please.. i dont enjoy your random debates either.. u never offer me any genuine answers to my questions.. u simply purge your hatred..

you accusations of my nation being a racist nation are vile.. but you are entitled to feel that way..

i think ur other questions about human suffering are very meaningful - just not to this post or in connection with the subject matter that we have raised..

i wont go into the laborious effort of dealing with everything you have said but i again wonder since when we decided that sports events are the time and place to manifest political issues..

it doesnt serve the sport andit flies inth eface of sportsmanship..

i could understand if shahar had made outlandish statements in the past about arabs or about the UAE.. but she has not..

so rather than take the opportunity to build a small bridge of this landing we have instead uprooted the possibility..

i have both arab and israeli friends whose only avenue (originally) to befriending the other side was through playing on soccer teams that accepted both.. and this changed them for life..

imagine if shahar peer did play in dubai and she for some reason had an experience that lead her to make statements in favour of the arab culture.. that could have helped everyone..

anyway DJ as i said - israel isnt very phased by the boycott - at least so it seems.. thank you for not boycotting me where it counts most..

Anonymous said...

The UAE does not acknowledge (Israel) as a country. It does not recognize the Israeli passport and having the israeli flag waving in Dubai is totally unacceptable.

The guys who replied before me were genuinely soft and diplomatic with their replies. This is very much Arab hospitality to you. Otherwise, you'd find people that suggested allowing her in and abducting her or something. You know what I mean. So we are being hospitable so far.

That softness that you see here kind of mislead you on what we (Arabs) truly feel about your country. It is not that we hate (jews) for being jews. We hate those who came to our land and killed our fathers and mothers and are killing our brothers and sisters till date. And for those who escaped death, they were expelled and scattered as refugees without a home all over the world.

We hate your country for what it stands for, for its crimes, for its racial nature. You know all that.

You are ranting about a tennis player not allowed visa to Dubai and "innocent people getting punished for actions of others". Well the innocent people of Gaza were bloodily punished for the actions of others, didn't they?

We're not even yet, Lirun. You will have to live the same fear and misery that Gazans lived for you to understand. Visa denial to Peer is NOTHING comparing to what Gazans have seen.

Finally, on a serious note. I really don't believe Peer was banned because of solidarity with Gaza. Dubai is just avoiding the trouble that might result in the israeli flag waving over here. Dubai has been safe from terrorism so far, but such move could change everything.

rosh said...

Update/ clarification from folks at DXB tourno

Anonymous said...

IMO, just as American citizens arent denied entry due to their govt., Israeli tennis players shouldnt be denied on the basis of their govt's actions. Or is it that Gaza victims are more precious than Iraqi victims ?

Of course! Didnt you know that? Americans are prime humans, just a notch above the rest of us. Where have you been living?

The UAE does not acknowledge (Israel) as a country. It does not recognize the Israeli passport and having the israeli flag waving in Dubai is totally unacceptable.

Exactly. And the UAE isnt alone. about 15ish countries DO NOT RECOGNIZE ISRAEL AS A COUNTRY. to them Israel DOES NOT EXIST.

How the hell can you issue a Visa for someone who doesnt exist? It would be like issuing a Visa for Optimus Prime, or Little Boy Blue, or the man in the Moon.

Lirun, you may not ike that fact, and I kind of agree with you on some aspects. But fact is Israel, An Israeli, the Israeli passport, and flag, does NOT exist to the UAE, and other countries.

I've always regarded you as an intelligent person. and bullshit and politics aside, I'm sure many on here would agree. but this isnt a matter of tennis or a tennis player. This is a matter of principle that goes back way before you or I were even born. and will continue probably way after we are both gone. Let it be.

Lirun said...


im going to avoid your debate only because i think the people here are sick of it.. you're welcome to weave it into relevant posts on my blog if you really feel you need to vent..


i think thats no excuse.. security and public sentiment are not reasons to deny someone entry into a country.. a modern and functional regime with reasonable law enforcement should know how to deal with it.. what happened in turkey with the israeli team being maulled on the court in a recent game for example shows you that turkey has along way to go.. i think this article would suggest the same about dubai..


thanks for the friendly words and i take on point your comment about admitting a person from an unrecognised nationality.. ie that a travel document presented by an israeli cannot be acknowledged by dubai's passport control authorities.. however.. fact is they acknowledged the israeli passport perfectly well when they invited the chairman of our national airline to impart his wisdom at a tourism convention very recently.. so i think that argument has been squarely set aside.. and as some of you know - they is in fact trade going on between israeli businesses and UAE enterprises.. and its very thinly veiled..

Lirun said...

btw we may well see this saga re-emerge in a week or so when the doubles play..


ayiyiyi said...

Lets add a little perspective so to speak.

The UAE has denied entry to a member of the IDF - an organization that very recently TERRORIZED an entire nation. So technically to many the IDF is what Hamas is to Israel - a terrorist organization.

Besides the UAE has only denied entry INTO INSIDE WITHIN its territory, unlike a certain country that has denied ppl the right to LEAVE their territory even to get some food, water or medication.

Now why is it that when the UAE denies entry to a suspected terror organization member who wanted to play a game of tennis, the world goes bonkers????

they shud coin a term like anti-semitsm for the current barrage of banter aimed at Dubai.
(creative ideas anyone)

This female who plays tennis also spends time at an organization that effectively has barricaded an entire 1.5 million ppl denying them access to food and outside help save a few trucks here and there when and how they please - reduced Gazans to nothing more than beggars. u don't see how on ethical grounds she cannot be denied a visa on being a suspected terrorist.

now now sm will come and say heyyy how do u know peer specifically has killed palestinians.... y punish her? well let me explain with an example: would any sane country allow lets say... ummm.... a known Al Qaeda operative who technically has not yet killed someone.... come in for a game of... ummm... i dunno.... water polo just coz sports and politics don't mix!??!?! i dont think so.

i wonder if a member of hezbollah lost his marbles and decided to travel to Isarel for an ATP event :) he wud prob get a visa, but also get arrested. and plz don't cite some exceptional cases where the enemy has been treated in Isareli hospitals (thats all v gud on the part of sm gud Israeli citizens) however more than 10,000 Palestinian prisoners including elected members of parliament speak volumes about Israel's respect for internationl law, ethics and yearning for peace.

Anonymous said...

You say people over here is sick of it.. Well this topic (Shahar Peer) is very much related to that debate.. and if anyone thinks this decision is wrong, we'll have to go through that debate all over again.

You say:
"they acknowledged the israeli passport perfectly well when they invited the chairman of our national airline"

Exactly.. As I said at the end of my post, it is not a decision of political nature out of support to Gaza.. But because Borovich could be sneaked in and out of Dubai with a very few on-the-know.. but an israeli player in the championship with all that press around?

hemlock said...

How the hell can you issue a Visa for someone who doesnt exist? It would be like issuing a Visa for Optimus Prime, or Little Boy Blue, or the man in the Moon.

i LOVED transformers. and iron man. and the dark knight.

but on a more serious note, Alien life may exist among us.

Proud Emirati said...

Lirun, it is the exception; allowing the chairman Israel to visit, that we should be surprised at and not the norm; not recognizing Israeli citizens).

Lirun said...

he wasnt allowed.. he was invited!

Veiled Muslimah said...

Although UAE [and other Arab/Muslim] Countries should do much much more then what they're already doing... im glad this still went through.

However, i too feel this is MORE because of Sahars own safety instead of showing 'solidarity with your brothers & sisters'.

I mean, imagine the outrage around the World, especially the West, if she was injured or killed here. Wouldn't bode to well for the UAE in the long run.

I can imagine the headlines:

'The Big bad Ayrab Mozlem terrorists strike in UAE - killing tennis player Sahar. Al Qaeda maybe involved.'

i've lost hope in our leaders.

Lirun said...


i love that you care so much for shahar's safety.. i think that is beautiful..


nationals of many other countries get kidnapped in the middle east.. believe it or not..

so if dubai is so unsafe maybe it shouldnt be holding international tournaments..

secondly - when these threats exist - national intelligence units know about it - and will typically tell you that a security risk had to be averted and cancel events.. they are typically forthwith about this - all over the world..

dubai however sheepishly came back with this excuse in retrospect and as ive said already - security of guests of a country is a duty of the local government - it should not be an excuse to exclude people..

Veiled Muslimah said...


No hard feelings, but I think you kind of mis-interpreted my comment. *sheepish*

Although I don't exactly advocate her murder or any of the sort, neither do I feel any sort of compassion for her or feelings of 'good-will' for any of the Members of the cold-blooded IDF.

What I meant was, that this is probably being done for the Countrys personal benefit rather than as a form of support for Palestine.

The UAE would be in a lot of trouble, especially with the West if anything happened to her and things could could get out of proportion. Bad media coverage, etc etc. And I guess the Country wouldn't want that.

But anyway, this is just my opinion. Who knows the real intentions... & maybe this was an oppurtunity to do things at once, appease the Muslim massess & prevent other 'complications' which could occur.

Lirun said...

but VM look at the price and look at the damage that this stunt has caused the UAE and the sport..

Proud Emirati said...

It doesn't matter Lirun, it is still an exception.

Lirun said...

i can see what your saying but take note of the decision to allow the israeli male tennis players in now..

its a very common exception.. many israelis come to dubai..

Anonymous said...

Westerners should start boycotting the hypocrites in UAE!

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