UAE Will Allow Israel's Ram To Compete in Tennis Tournament

By JTA and Forward Staff

Published February 18, 2009.

Dubai will allow a male Israeli tennis player to compete in a tournament a week after it banned a female tennis star from its soil.

The United Arab Emirates will permit Andy Ram to participate in the Dubai Tennis Championships, according to U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who had raised the matter with the UAE embassy in Washington.

“Over the last several days I have had a series of conversations with Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba about the very troubling steps taken by the United Arab Emirates government to deny an Israeli tennis player a visa to play in the Dubai Tennis Championship,” Weiner said in a statement Wednesday. “I made it clear that I felt this was a setback for a nation that had made commendable efforts to foster understanding and tolerance.”

Weiner said that as a result of the discussions, Al Otaiba informed him that Dubai would issue a visa for Ram to participate in the tournament.

Jewish groups had called on tennis associations and corporate sponsors to sanction Dubai for banning Shahar Pe’er, the 48th-ranked women’s player, from playing last week.

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal Europe rescinded its sponsorship of the tennis tournament as a result of the UAE’s decision to deny Peer a visa. In a statement, the publication stated: “The Wall Street Journal’s editorial philosophy is free markets and free people, and this action runs counter to the Journal’s editorial direction.”

The UAE Embassy did not return phone or email messages seeking confirmation of Ram’s participation in the tournament.



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