I’m sorry to rain on the parade, but in my view there was no reason to celebrate the Iranian Olympic chief’s announcement that his athletes would be willing to compete against Israelis. Such face-offs are highly unlikely as it is, so the historic declaration will not be translated into practical terms given the Olympic schedule.
Moreover, such things happened before. For example, in the previous pope’s funeral in 2005, Israel’s then-President, Moshe Katsav, warmly shook hands with his Iranian counterpart at the time, Mohammad Khatami. Right after that, Katsav shook hands (twice!) with the current Syrian president, mass murderer Bashar Assad.
Mideastern affairs experts and body language masters rushed to view this as a positive harbinger on our eastern front, yet shortly thereafter, vigorous denials were issued in Damascus and in Tehran. In short, we ended up looking like fools.
Yet even if the Iranian sports minister himself shows up for a judo contest against our own Arik Ze’evi, it would be better for us to refrain from loud applause. Indeed, in the past we have seen a ping-pong game prompting the resumption of diplomatic relations between two hostile nations (the United States and China, in 1972) but this is not the case here.
We are not America, and Ahmadinejad is not Mao Zedong. Iran is a sworn enemy that seeks our extermination. One of its arms is building a nuclear bomb, while the other arm is organizing terror attacks against us worldwide.
An Iranian decision not to boycott us at the London Olympics would be similar to the racist Germany agreeing to host black and Jewish athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1936, simply because there was no other choice.
By the way, the head of Iran’s delegation to London also pledged the other day that should a minute of silence be declared in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes murdered in the 1972 Olympics, “The Iranians will honor the event.” This is truly touching, but there should be no confusion here: These days, the Iranians are planning many more moments of silence for us ahead of future Olympic competitions.