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An affront to history: Giro d’Italia’s ‘sport-washing’ of Israel Apartheid

11 7 40
14.05.2018

For the first time since its inception in 1909, the legendary Italian cycling race, Giro d’Italia kicked off outside Europe and, strangely enough, from the city of Jerusalem on 4 May.

The inherent contradictions in that decision are inescapable. Italy is a country that has experienced a ruthless forging occupation and was ravaged by fascism and war. To be a party in Israel’s constant attempts at whitewashing or, in this case, “sport-washing’ its military occupation and daily violence against the Palestinian people is appalling.

Every attempt aimed at dissuading the race organisers from being part of Israel’s political propaganda has failed. The millions of dollars paid to the Giro d’Italia organisers, the RCS Sport, seemed far more compelling than shared cultural experiences, solidarity, human rights and international law.

Legendary Italian novelist, Dino Buzzati wrote various accounts in Italian newspapers in the 1940s, describing the symbolism of the race in the context of a battered nation resurrecting from the ashes of untold destruction.

Read: It’s time to admit that Israel is an apartheid state

Just after WWII had ended, Giro d’Italia organisers found themselves contending with the seemingly impossible task of organising a race with a few bicycles and even fewer athletes. The roads were disfigured and destroyed in the war, but the determination to triumph was stronger.

A meme urging the famed cycling race Giro d’Italia to relocate the start of its 2018 race from Israel

The 1946 Giro D’Italia, especially the legendary competition between Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali, became a metaphor of a country rising from the horrors of war, reanimating its national identity, symbolised........

© Middle East Monitor