Rabbis' Call to Boycott Olympics Prompts Backlash

May 9, 2008

Author: Rachel Pomerance

Source: USA Today/Religion News Service


A rabbinic call for Jews to boycott the Olympic Games in China has spawned a backlash by major American Jewish organizations.

The petition, signed by 194 American rabbis from across the religious spectrum, cited as its basis "China's support for the genocidal government of Sudan" the nation's human rights record, its crackdown on Tibet and providing missiles to Iran and Syria. The letter was circulated to media and Jewish activists on April 30, Holocaust Memorial Day.

"Having endured the bitter experience of abandonment by our presumed allies during the Holocaust, we feel a particular obligation to speak out against injustice and persecution today," the letter stated, citing Nazi Germany's use of the 1936 Olympics to "distract attention from its persecution of the Jews," it stated.