newsBoycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS)

BDS threats to cancel Israeli cycling team an ‘obtuse moral inversion’

“These haters have it backward: On Oct. 7, it was Hamas that began a genocidal campaign of murder,” says Israel-Premier Tech co-owner Sylvan Adams.

Israel-Premier Tech's Hugo Houle winning stage 16 of the 2022 Tour de France, July 19, 2022. Credit: Sprint Cycling.
Israel-Premier Tech's Hugo Houle winning stage 16 of the 2022 Tour de France, July 19, 2022. Credit: Sprint Cycling.

Threats to disrupt the two biggest cycling races in the world over Israeli participation are an “obtuse moral inversion” by haters of the Jewish state, the Israel–Premier Tech team’s co-owner said on Wednesday.

Canadian-Israeli entrepreneur Sylvan Adams spoke out after the BDS movement called for significant protests during the upcoming Tour de France and Giro d’Italia races because the Israeli team is participating.

“These haters have it precisely backward: On Oct. 7, it was Hamas that began a genocidal campaign of murder, torture, rape, butchering, burning and desecration on an unimaginable scale and with heartless cruelty,” he told JNS.

“Hamas intended to commit genocide. In response, we fight to defend the homeland, morally, with one arm tied behind our backs, as we go to great lengths, including additional losses of our brave young soldiers. in order to minimize civilian casualties,” Adams said.

The BDS statement called to “block the roads to genocide.” It singled out Adams for his attempt to “sanitize” Israel’s military actions in the six-month-old war, which was triggered by the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre, through sports.

Some 1,200 people, mainly Israeli civilians, were killed on the Black Shabbat, with thousands of others wounded and more than 250 men, women and children abducted into the Gaza Strip during the Hamas-led invasion of southern Israel.

“With obtuse moral inversion, it seems that there is no limit to the brazenness and the blatant spreading of lies and false propaganda by BDS haters,” Adams said.

The 2,064-mile Giro d’Italia runs this year from May 4 to May 26, while the 111th edition of the Tour de France gets underway in Florence, Italy, on June 29 and ends in Nice, France, on July 21. For the first time, the race will not conclude in or near Paris, due to preparations being made for the 2024 Olympic Games.

The BDS movement has called for protests at cycling races in the past, but the global isolation of Israel following the war in Gaza gives it added encouragement.

Real estate magnate Adams, who made aliyah in 2015, pledged to continue his work to improve Israel’s image among non-Jews through high-profile sports and cultural activities.

“My Israel-Premier Tech cycling team will continue to show up at races around the world as we compete in the spirit of sportsmanship,” he said. “With each victory, we negate the haters as we promote the values of tolerance and bridge-building while proudly carrying the name Israel.”

‘We will come back stronger’

Over the last decade, Adams has served as an unofficial ambassador for Israel around the globe, beyond the media narrative of a country engulfed in violence and conflict.

Adams brought to Israel Lionel Messi and the Argentine national soccer team for an exhibition game, Madonna to the Eurovision Song Contest finals and the French Super Cup, all in Tel Aviv. He was also responsible for organizing Israel’s hosting of the first three stages of the largest sporting event to ever touch down on Israel’s shores, the 2018 Giro d’Italia Grand Tour road cycling race.

Last December, he donated $100 million to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheva to strengthen southern Israel in the aftermath of Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre. Adams has also announced investments to build cycling and sports infrastructure in the Gaza border area.

In an interview with JNS in November, Adams said that the wave of anti-Israel activity around the world in the wake of the Hamas attack, aided by “useful idiots” and the media, exposed an underlying antisemitism that never went away.

“We’ve always come back stronger, and we will come back stronger and rebuild this place. We are here to stay,” he said.

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