search

Israeli officials not expected to join US boycott of Beijing Olympics

Senior official calls American decision ‘bizarre,’ as Jerusalem seen cozying up to Beijing despite human rights concerns over China’s Uighur minority

People wearing face masks walk past a poster promoting the 2022 Winter Olympics that reads 'Carry forward the Chinese sports spirit, promote sportsmanship,' in Beijing, on December 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
People wearing face masks walk past a poster promoting the 2022 Winter Olympics that reads 'Carry forward the Chinese sports spirit, promote sportsmanship,' in Beijing, on December 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

JTA — Israeli officials are expected to attend the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing next year, unlike their American counterparts, who will boycott the game to protest China’s human rights abuses against the Uighur Muslim minority.

Haaretz reported the news, citing an unnamed senior Israeli official, who called the Americans’ decision to boycott “bizarre.”

Earlier this week, the United States announced that no American officials would attend the games. The boycott only applies to diplomatic officials and does not impact the American athletes who will compete in the games. Australia has also said it would boycott the games due to China’s human rights abuses.

Even with its close ties to the US, Israel has grown closer to China in recent years, thanks to trade ties between the countries.

In October, Israel chose not to sign a United Nations statement expressing concern about welfare of the Uighurs, a Muslim minority group in China that has been forced into “re-education camps,” which some have likened to concentration camps.

The statement was signed by 43 countries, including the US and several allies, among them the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia. At the time, an Israeli diplomatic official told The Times of Israel that the Israeli government had “other interests that it has to balance” in its relationship with China.

Concern over China’s treatment of the Uighur minority — and comparisons of its “re-education camps” to concentration camps during the Holocaust — have been growing within the global Jewish community for years.

Activists in the US have tried to mobilize the Jewish community behind the Uighurs’ cause, as was the case during the genocide in Darfur in the early 2000s, while British Jews have led the fight against the abuses of the Uighurs in the UK.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed