A clear illustration of Hezbollah’s divisive ideology and its effects on Lebanese culture is the choice made by Lebanese athlete Mazen Chreim to skip the 200-meter event at the World Athletics Masters Indoor Championships in Toru, Poland, since an Israeli competitor was also competing.
The Iranian-backed Islamic terrorist group Hezbollah, which dominates Lebanon’s politics and military, is well-known for its extreme anti-Semitism and denial of Israel’s existence. Its commanders have called for the eradication of the Jewish state, and its members often shoot rockets and missiles into Israeli territory.
A clear example of this perverted ideology is Chreim’s choice to skip an athletic event because an Israeli athlete was competing in it. That shows how pervasive anti-Semitism is in Lebanese society and how willingly certain people will support Hezbollah’s objectives, even if it means eschewing the values of fair play and sportsmanship.
The fact that Chreim stated his backing of Hezbollah and his denial of Israel’s legitimacy as the reasons for his choice only serves to highlight how radical the group and those who support it are. Israel has no right to exist, and anyone who supports it or interacts with Israelis in any way is a traitor, according to Hezbollah.
The championship’s organizers expressed dissatisfaction with Chreim’s choice, correctly pointing out that athletics ought to be a unifying factor that unites athletes from many nations and cultures together. That such a fundamental concept cannot be respected without individuals like Chreim giving in to the polarizing rhetoric of Hezbollah is a sad indictment on the state of events in Lebanon.
Chreim dropped out of the 200-meter competition, but he still managed to place fourth in the 400-meter finals, gaining accolades from the Lebanese Athletics Federation. This is evidence of his athletic prowess, but it does not justify his egregious bigotry toward the Israeli competitor he refused to compete against.
Regrettably, Chreim is not the first Lebanese athlete to skip events because they would have to compete against Israeli opponents. This is a worrying pattern that only feeds bigotry and hatred in the area. It is past time for Lebanese authorities to condemn such actions and take decisive action to advance respect and understanding between people.
In the end, Chreim’s decision to skip the World Athletics Masters Indoor Championships is another illustration of Hezbollah’s pernicious influence and the threat it poses to the region. All morally upright individuals must condemn this evil ideology and endeavor to create a world where there is peace and harmony.