With the Winter Olympics gearing up for their Feb. 7 start in Sochi, Russia, the Jewish debate on the games mirrors the discourse taking place in the broader international and athletic communities.
While some Jews say they view the games purely as sport—with social or political issues not factoring into their evaluation—not all can ignore Russia’s controversial “gay propaganda” legislation, political detentions, allegations of Olympic corruption, and the recent terrorist threats against the games.
“The Olympic Games have the potential to mark a new direction in which there is no discrimination based on race, gender, handicaps or sexual orientation,” B’nai B’rith International said in a statement provided to JNS.org. “The Olympics are a microcosm. While we expect athletes from every nation to have the right to compete fairly, a societal commitment to tolerance and acceptance should be applied to every aspect of society...more.