Israelis were denied visas for Riyadh tournament last year and are being supported by The Lawfare Project. Letter to international chess body seeks assurances against anti-Israeli discrimination in chess
The Lawfare Project
Two Israeli nationals are requesting that the international chess governing body—the Fédération lnternationale des Échecs (FIDE)—guarantee non-discrimination after they were prevented from taking part in a chess tournament in Saudi Arabia last year because of their nationality. Israeli chess grandmaster Ilya Smirin and former spokesperson for the Israeli Chess Federation Lior Aizenberg have written to FIDE requesting financial compensation and seeking assurances that it will not allow host countries to perpetrate such discrimination against Israelis again. Smirin and Aizenberg are being supported in their action by The Lawfare Project, a U.S.-based think tank and litigation fund that fights anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli discrimination around the world.
Saudi Arabia denied visas to seven Israeli chess players in December 2017, preventing them from competing in the World Blitz & Rapid Championships in Riyadh. Lawyers wrote to FIDE on behalf of the Israeli players on October 1. The letter made clear that their “inability to participate in this Tournament was due to FIDE’s failure to secure entry visas to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the Israeli nationals and, correspondingly, its failure to guarantee their equal treatment and to protect them against discrimination on the basis of their nationality.”
The letter cited official FIDE policies that it “rejects discriminatory treatment for national, political, racial, social or religious reasons or on account of gender” and stipulate that FIDE-sanctioned events may, according to Article 1.2 of the FIDE Statutes, “be hosted only by Federations where free access is generally assured to representatives of all Federations.”
The letter further requested that FIDE take several concrete actions to prevent exclusion of Israelis from Saudi-hosted tournaments in 2018 and 2019, as well as from the 2019 World Schools Chess Championship in Tunisia, and pays to Mr. Aizenberg and Mr. Smirin a fair compensation for their non-participation in the December 2017 tournament.
“We will not stand idly by as Israelis are subjected to a gross double standard and are illegally discriminated against solely because of their nationality,” said Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project. “Together with our partners in the legal community, we are making clear to international bodies such as FIDE that it is their duty to prevent such discrimination. We have every confidence that FIDE will do the right thing and ensure that chess is for all.”
About the Lawfare Project:
Headquartered in New York, The Lawfare Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a legal think tank and litigation fund committed to protecting the civil and human rights of Jewish communities around the world. To learn more, please visit https://www.thelawfareproject.org
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced today (Monday 5 November) that the UK is discussing with UN Security Council partners what more the Council can do to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced today (Monday 5 November) that the UK is discussing with UN Security Council partners what more the Council can do to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and step up support for the work of the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths.
The Foreign Secretary discussed this step with the UN Special Envoy and they agreed that the time was right for the Council to act to bolster the UN led process.
As the Minister for the Middle East, Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister made clear last week, a nationwide ceasefire will only have an effect on the ground if it is underpinned by a political deal between the conflict parties. The action the UK takes forward at the UN Security Council will help towards that goal, ensuring that a full ceasefire, when it comes, is fully implemented.
Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said:
For too long in the Yemen conflict both sides have believed a military solution is possible with catastrophic consequences for the people. Now for the first time there appears to be a window in which both sides can be encouraged to come to the table, stop the killing and find a political solution that is the only long term way out of disaster.
The UK will use all its influence to push for such an approach. I met UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths on Tuesday, and there is a small but real chance that a cessation of hostilities could alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people. This must be the first priority as we seek to put in place a longer term solution.
FCO Minister Alistair Burt very concerned by the life sentence handed down by the Appeals Court of Bahrain today to Sheikh Ali Salman
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, said:
I am very concerned about the life sentence handed down by the Appeals Court of Bahrain today to Sheikh Ali Salman, in addition to the sentence he is currently serving. I understand that Sheikh Ali Salman now has the right of appeal against this latest sentence.
The UK continues to encourage the Government of Bahrain to deliver on its international and domestic human rights commitments.