MohammadBefore we start, you should know that Jewlicious is probably not awarding this guy a laptop.

A tough, young man went the distance and won the Greco-Roman wrestling event at the Maccabiah games. The only problem? There are actually two. (1) Maccabiah is only open to Jews and Israelis. (2) The tough guy’s name is Mohammad Babulfath and he is an Iranian born Muslim (check out his Web site – it’s in swedish!).

How could this happen, you ask? Well, it appears to be a long story and you should look here for full details. Muffti will provide a snarky, Jewlicious recap for the lazy readers.

Babulfath was part of the swedish team, who tore their way through the competition. They apparently had seen a document entitled ‘Invitation’ on FILAs site claiming that:

We have the pleasure of inviting your team to the Israeli 17th Maccabiah Games In Greco-Roman & free style for seniors.

Details about weigh in times and the like were included. Apparenly the Swedes foolishly took this as an invitation. However, the poster of the document (IWF President Dr. Solomon Stolar) claimed that it was never intended as an invitation, misleading title aside:

Everyone can interpret it as they want. I’m not responsible for that.

Ummmn…yeah. Clearly Stolar has mastered the lessons of Continental philosophers. As Derrida put it:

…assumes language refers only to itself rather than to an extratextual reality, that asserts multiple conflicting interpretations of a text, and that bases such interpretations on the philosophical, political, or social implications of the use of language in the text rather than on the author’s intention.

Confused? So was the Swedish team who (naively) interpreted what looked like an invitation as an invitation. Anyhow, they made plans to come and immediately, the Maccabiah organizers and the Israeli Wrestling Fedeation started pointing fingers at one another:

“They were invited as a mistake by the [wrestling] committee,” said sports department director Asaf Stolarz. “They don’t belong to the Maccabiah. The Swedish team said they they’re not part of the delegation. The Israeli Wrestling Federation invited them.”[sic]

Anyhow, in the confusion, no one arranged to pick up the Swedes. They got to the airport and were told they weren’t going to participate. As teammate Samuelsson said:

“They didn’t pick us up,…We called [Maccabiah] information. We said we’re in the Maccabiah Games. They said, ‘You’re not on our list; you can’t come.’…”I said, ‘Why did we fly so long to come here if we’re not in the games?’ We waited for three-and-a-half hours and then the Maccabiah said, ‘You can come.'”

Long story short, the Swedes tore threw the chosen people and got to the awards ceremony only to see wrestler, Denis Nikolae, take the Gold. Babulfath beat Nikolae in the final round. Nikolae was surprised to find out that he was getting the gold:

A loss is a loss. I thought that I was in second place, then [the IWF officials] told me at the end that I’m first place.

Babulfath ended up with a totally crappy particpation medal. He stayed in good humour, and said smiling:

I’m going to tell this to my kids…Because I think it’s my first and last time here.

On second thought, maybe we should get him a laptop…

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  • i went to the games as an athlete two times and i have to say that i ve never seen worse organization at any international sport event. i didnt go to any third world country though.
    my team was never picked up and besides room and board we have to take care of everything by ourselves and at the place where we were competing they didnt even have paramedic.
    i was also there during the terrible accident w/the bridge at the opening ceremony – that was mamish unbelieveble chaos.
    but what u expect when jews try greco-roman entertainment?

  • Heh. I could imagine the stellar reception an Israeli born wrestler would get in Tehran …

  • weren’t the hasmonium fighting against the hellenization of Israel?

  • They should have given the medal to the Iranian now they have just made themselves look even more ridiculous

  • Did they also try to keep out Reform Jews?

    It’s a good thing they didn’t try to mess with the Indonesian rhythmic gymnasts. Those chicks are dangerous.

  • Yeah, good thinking, guys! Turning a potential PR coup into a chillul Hashem and an embarassment to Israel is absolute genius.

  • Ã…t least the President of Israel could have called him and wished him a Mazel Tov in Pharsee. This article seems to prove that in fact, the Maccabiah games are only perpetuated to continue the Zionist fervor of our youth, and not as a truly competative sporting venture. And if that is the case, that it is a big pro-Israel feel good event, then it should be opened up and become inclusive.
    watcha think ybocher?

  • ryb, i m telling u it s hard enough to compete against other yids. i remember we even had once silver medalist frm world championships. btw he was canadian. ck dont think i m trying to make up for that joke but truely the canadians were the coolest to hang around w/.\
    rabbi, we are people of the book – not people of the track and field. if we open to public then jews can go home… wait the games are at home!?

  • … in fact, check out Mo’s blog! He even blogged about this episode:

    Om två veckor åker vi till en tävling i Israel, vet inte vad en muslim med namn Mohammad har att göra där med jag ska göra mitt bästa för att bli insläppt.. Väl på tävlingen väntar jag mig värsta publikstödet, not!

    I don’t speak meatball, but even money on “those idiots never figured out a guy named Mohammed might be Muslim?”…

  • judi please, if you think it ll you long too post liknks to bios of all exceptions then go ahead. I m just saying that generally the sport was never our strongest point. Believe me I ve been out there, competing nationally and internationally – there are very few talented yids out there. If the nobel prizes were part of the olimpics that would change the situation dramatically. Israel is trying to change the picute of a Jew as a skinny intelectualist not fit for any phisical activity beyond chess. And they did have some minor succes after the Russian immigrant dominated the Israeli sport scene but the truth stands – spinning the dreidle is our national sport.

  • Hi!
    My name is Ida and I’m Mohammad’s girlfriend, soon whife..
    Days before the competition he was very nervous in how people in Israel would react when he arrived but this journey gave him love and support!
    Thanks, he will never forget this!

    Sincerely Ida

  • Wow. Hi Ida. Tell Mohammad that we’re very happy that he came to Israel and competed with and against Jews and Israelis (unlike his country men in Iran). As far as I am concerned he can come back any time! But sadly, I am all out of laptops for now 😉

    (btw the IP address indicates that this may REALLY be Mohammad’s fiancee)

  • Yeah, Ida, extend our congrats to Mohammad. It’s a real shame about what happened. Hope that despite the set backs (waiting at the airport, not getting the top honour) that he has good feelings. Extra bonus points to him for keeping good humour about the whole fiasco.

  • Wait a minute! Ida, when Mohammad makes it back to Sweden, please have him post his experience to us. I’ll put it up on its own post. It would be valuable to learn what his impressions and experiences were.

    And tell him we know who the real Maccabiah Wrestling champ is…

  • israel?!!
    where is israel?!
    Mohammad Babulfath isn’t muslim!
    he is seemingly moslem!

    “occupation don’t lost ownership and don’t create ownership too!”