Friday Feb 09, 2024

Episode 125: Israel and Russia Don't Belong in Paris 2024

Johanna is joined by Jules and Dave to discuss the moral imperative against allowing Israel and Russia to participate in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games based on their recent article in Jacobin that so persuasively makes this case. They discuss how the Russian and Israeli states' absolute violence in Ukraine and Gaza respectively demand our immediate attention to add to the growing protests against both leading up to the Paris Olympics. Included in the growing protests and activism were the efforts of four runners at the U.S. marathon and half-marathon Olympic Trialsin authoritarian Florida: Jesse Joseph, Aidan Reed, Julian Heninger, and Nadir Yusuf, with the assistance of Olivia Katbi and others. We talk about how the US's weighty role within the IOC appears to act as a kind of shield against criticizing Israel the way that the IOC has (imperfectly) critiqued Russia. Jules explained his analysis of the IOC's idealistic Olympic Charter compared to the organization's professed "neutrality." We ended the show by hearing about Dave's fantastic recent interview with former NBA player and basketball coach Tariq Abdul-Wahad, particularly how his French background influenced his politics and how the moral clarity of his thoughts continue to motivate us to act. 

Jules Boykoff is Professor and Chair of Politics & Government at Pacific University and is one of the preeminent public scholars of the Olympics. He is also author of What are the Olympics For, as well as the books The 1936 Berlin Olympics: Race, Power, and Sportswashing, and Power Games, among countless others. 

Dave Zirin is sports editor at The Nation, host of The Edge of Sports podcast, and author of an incredible number of books on the politics of sport, including 2021’s The Kaepernick Effect, 2019’s co-authored Things That Make White People Uncomfortable with Michael Bennett, and so many more. Check out Dave’s TV show on The Real News Network

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