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All comments by Roland Wald
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BREAKING NEWS. A few minutes ago, George Jacobs, President of the United States Bridge Federation (USBF), announced the following:

“I am pleased to report that the ugly situation involving the Israeli Women’s Bridge team and the World Bridge Championships being held in Bali, Indonesia, has been brought to a conclusion in a manner that has been judged amenable to all.

To recap: 6 teams from Europe qualified to play in theVenice Cup, Israel among them. The team was rebuffed when seeking visas and security. To be fair, Israel could have flown two Indonesian Nationals to a neutral country, paid for their trips, and secured visas. Israel was willing to do this. But when no answers were forthcoming about security, either from Indonesia or the World Bridge Federation, Israel was forced to withdraw from the event. Their place was taken by Sweden, to whom Israel graciously wished success.

This caused much angst among the bridge community. There were calls for boycotts, moving the World Championships, giving Israel a bye to enter next year’s event etc. It was felt that Israel had been abandoned by the WBF.

Thanks to Al Levy of the ACBL Board of Directors and the WBF Executive Committee, Gianarrigo Rona, President of the WBF, Eitan Levy, President of the Israeli Bridge Federation, and the Bridge Federation of China, a solution was reached.

The Israeli Women’s team is being invited to participate in the International Mind Sport Games being held in Beijing, China in December, 2013. This is a very prestigious event, and while not an equal substitute for the Venice Cup, by any means; it is still a viable recognition of Israel’s plight, which was not of their own doing. There are large cash prizes and there are only 4 teams invited. In addition to Israel, invited teams are the United States, China, and the winner of the upcoming Venice Cup.

At this late date, there was never going to be a perfect solution. Eitan Levy and the Israelis did not want a gift entry into next year’s event, “preferring to earn the right”. This would also have impacted the European Bridge League, which has heretofore not been involved in this drama.

Finding compromises is not easy, but I think those involved worked hard to ease the sting. Israel and Mr. Levy were only looking for an apology and receiving this invitation was more than they were expecting.

I salute Mr. Levy, Mr. Rona, Mr. Levy, the WBF, the CCBA, and most of all the hundreds or thousands of you out there who raised your voices in protest. You were heard and made a difference.

We have learned yet again a valuable lesson. Bridge is apolitical and needs to remain ever so. If we have to hold every World event in Switzerland to insure fairness, so be it. The host country MUST allow all participants or be removed as the host, period. Bridge competitions are good for all and are a valuable contribution to peace worldwide. Again; in fairness to Indonesia, they did not bar Israel, but by refusing to confirm any security measures, they constructively did so.

As long as Israel is satisfied with the outcome, that is good enough for me.

I think today was a good day for bridge.”
July 10, 2013
Roland Wald edited this comment July 11, 2013
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You may find that funny, Mr Willey; I don't. In my opinion, the issue on hand is much more serious than that. I suggest you write something constructive instead.
July 9, 2013
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You may not like my wording, but I reserve the right to express my opinion, and nowhere did I use a word you imply was my intention. It wasn't, and I did not deliberately exaggerate anything as you suggested in another post.

I am merely asking for facts from the WBF, and I don't see them anywhere. Maybe you are happy with how things have been handled, but I am not.
July 9, 2013
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I am a member of an NBO that in turn is a member of the WBF. My NBO pays an annual fee to the WBF, partly for my money. If I am not a member of the WBF, what am I then? An outlaw?
July 9, 2013
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It is not acceptable for me, as a member of the WBF, that “The WBF will discuss the matter at their next meeting.” Why must it take that long? I am sure that a few emails back and forth in combination with a Skype conference call will reveal the facts from WBF's point of view. Trying to postpone matters and hope that people forget is not fair. I may be able to forgive, but I won't forget.
July 9, 2013
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Dear Mr Levy,

We did not ask for a cute story about two humans and a donkey. We asked for facts regarding the WBF decision to exclude the Israeli women who qualified for the event.

Are we going to get them?

Sincerely,

Roland Wald
July 9, 2013
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Surely this is cheaper for the WBF, but it has nothing to do with justice. No matter how good the suggested tournament is, it's not the World Championships the Israeli women qualified for.

By the way, why would one assume that Israel will have an easier ride going to Beijing than going to Bali?
July 9, 2013
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What letter from José who? No matter what, this does not explain why Israel was denied.
July 9, 2013
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I'll keep fighting. I refuse to take no for answer when justice is compromised. It's wrong to give up, and I won't! I know I'm a small piece in a large puzzle, but that won't prevent me from trying hard.
July 9, 2013
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Arifin Halim is a former board member of the GABSI. I am convinced that he is well-informed on the matter.
July 9, 2013
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You must have misread my post, Bob Heitzman. The IBF (Israeli Bridge Federation) did not decide anything. The Indonesian federation (GABSI) did. Maybe you thought that the I in IBF stands for Indonesia. It doesn't.
July 9, 2013
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You are kindly requested not to “Like” my post above, unless you think it's a good decision. Thank you.
July 9, 2013
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BREAKING NEWS. The board of the Indonesian Bridge Federation decided tonight (local time) that Israel is out and Sweden is in. That decision has been approved by the WBF according to Arifin Halim in Jakarta. Good news for some, sad for others, and indifferent for the rest. Personally, I am appalled. I simply cannot take the WBF seriously any more. “Bridge for Peace”?? What a load of rubbish!
July 9, 2013
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I totally agree with Eugene. Let's stick to the subject and avoid personal attacks. Some think that Israel is entitled to special treatment regarding security, others think that they must live with the conditions as they are, and if they can't, stay away. We can't expect everyone to agree, but we can expect that our disagreements are written in a tone that is acceptable for all sensible adults.
July 8, 2013
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It's not anti-Semitic; it's a plain stupid comment.
July 8, 2013
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Of course we read it, Felix (I hope it's OK use your first name). This was part of Mr Rona's lame letter to NewinBridge. However, I am not entirely sure that bridge politicians are the right people to determine whether security lives up to the standard required by all participants.

I read something to that effect by the IOC before München in 1972. We all know what happened there, and no-one wants to see it again.
July 8, 2013
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But Jeff, feeding the troll is not a good idea in my opinion. Trolls involve themselves in discussions purely for the purpose of disturbing other users and making themselves feel important. Then it seems better to starve the troll of attention by ignoring him. Although it's nice to be important, it's more important to be nice, and if Jonathan keeps insulting people, it will be very diccifult for the rest of us to be nice.
July 8, 2013
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Talking to the right people is often helpful. I don't know if the WBF has been in touch with the president of GABSI, Mr Dahlan Iskan, who is currently also Indonesia's Minister for State-owned enterprises. If not, it's about time. I think it's fair to say that the WBF has been extremely passive and that it, apparently, has taken a Facebook thread to wake them. Better late than never; there is still time to get this sorted.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dahlan_Iskan
July 8, 2013
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Jonathan, you are not exactly helpful. You are off topic and comment on something Robb Gordon did not say. He does not deserve this, and neither do we for that matter. We may or may not agree on various issues in the context of the Israeli women and Bali, a thread I created on my Facobook timeline on July the 2nd, but we are all trying to debate in a civilised manner.

You are kindly requested to do likewise. One may be able to get to the end of the world by being rude, but one can't come back.
July 7, 2013
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“But I find it hard to conclude that Bali imposes particular threats (to Israel) by any quantitative evidence.”

Mr Shen, if I understand you correctly, we can ignore the fact that Indonesia does not recognize Israel? It does not matter even when an official Israeli team under Israeli flag travels to that country?

In an ideal world it would not matter, but the world is not ideal. Here is yet another sad example. Now that the visa issue seems to have been resolved, we ‘just’ need the two parties to reach an agreement regarding security. I am still hopeful that we will see one.
July 7, 2013
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