New Zealand protesters found not guilty as Shahar Pe’er reveals that they succeeded in their aim 16Nov11 November 16, 2011

by Sol Salbe’s facebook page  -  16 November 2011

The effectiveness of some tactics adopted by opponents and critics of Israel has often been called into question. In New Zealand, the issue has often focussed on sport, in particular the targeting of individual Israeli players in the Auckland Open tennis tournament. This has been brought into an even sharper focus with the the New Zealand High Court last week quashing convictions against John Minto and five others. Justice Paul Heath struck out the convictions, which followed a megaphone protest at the 2009 New Zealand women’s tennis Open. Media coverage of the decision concentrated on it being a victory for democratic rights . See for example and What they did not discuss was the effectiveness of such protests.

 Those who want to gauge the effectiveness of such tactics could do worse than listen to main target herself, Shahar Pe’er. She recently told Ma’ariv’s weekend edition: “when I played in Auckland during the war in Lebanon they screamed at me: ‘you’re a murderer with blood on your hands’ I wept terribly with all that tension.” [It was actually Operation Cast Lead , the 2008-09 Gaza war.]

Pe’er said that she has not been back to Auckland since then even though it is one of her best tournament, having made the same finals there before. But she also let slip what really scares her about the demonstrations: “I know that the media will look for these things and ask me for my opinion of them.” [In other words not so much the demonstrations but having to discuss the issues the protesters raised.] [And yes she did turn up in 2009 but not later.]

It may well be case that the patriotic Pe’er does find herself in a worse predicament than someone who has not made herself the pinup girl of the IDF. Elsewhere in the interview she declares her support for Beitar Jerusalem, a football club which Wikipedia felt compelled to mention (in the first paragraph) “has been associated with Right-wing Israeli politics for over 70 year”.  A less patriotic player may have deflected the question but Pe’er would rather miss the tournament than find herself unable to defend her country’s actions.

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