WASHINGTON (JTA) — The mayor of Washington was aware of an Israeli player’s exclusion when he attended the tennis tournament in Dubai.
Adrian Fenty, while vacationing in Dubai last week with his wife and twin sons, attended the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, the Washington Post reported.
The United Arab Emirates had denied a visa to Shahar Pe’er to play in the women’s tournament because of her nationality. Another Israeli, Andy Ram, was issued a visa to compete in the men’s tournament Feb. 25 to March 9.
"I did know one Israeli was banned," Fenty said Monday at a news conference.
"It’s a very complicated international diplomatic situation. Concerns were raised," he said. "After Venus Williams won, she raised the issue, and I think she talked for most people when she said she would have preferred if everyone was allowed to play. But by the end, they seemed to have resolved the matter in that they were going to allow an Israeli to play in the men’s tournament."
The UAE paid Fenty’s expenses, although he paid for his family to join him. The mayor did not say why the UAE offered him a free trip.
Fenty said he did a lot of sightseeing and talked generally about economic development, according to the Post.