I’ve hesitated a long time writing anything about this because, well, it’s Israel. People often have something to say about Israel and conversations about it sometimes don’t end well. So, I’ll make this about yet another brilliant Italian marketing idea (see my last post for another one) – bringing the Giro d’Italia to Israel.
The organizers must have known that this decision would become ‘political’, even if they insist it wasn’t meant to be so. If they didn’t I’d love to know which rock they’ve been living under for the past few decades. If they were as ignorantly bliss, they aren’t anymore. Last week this came out:
In short, a human rights group is calling for a boycott of the Giro if RCS Sport doesn’t pull out of its decision to have the first 3 stages there. And now this:
The Israeli government rejected the Giro’s use of “West Jerusalem” in their stage descriptions, etc. and threatened to pull their support for the race if RCS Sport didn’t change their nomenclature to “Jerusalem” because, as one Israeli politician states, “In Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, there is no east or west”.
There might be a few people who would disagree with that statement and there’s a 50 year history behind the problem with using the name or not. As the Guardian article above says, “It was into this long-running conflict that the Giro’s organisers interposed themselves when they decided to stage the first departure outside Italy in the history of the race, which first took place in 1909.”
Again, my article is not meant to be political (so hold your political comments for your Facebook page, please!), but I’m just amazed that anyone might think this decision could end up being anything but bad. Then again, as Chikashi just commented on the article about Pinarello, any publicity could very well be good publicity.