’18 Youth Olympic Games to use Jewish group’s anti-racism program
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’18 Youth Olympic Games to use Jewish group’s anti-racism program

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) —  The 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires will feature a Jewish group’s program battling racism and xenophobia in sports.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Eleven Points Against Racism in Football program works with sports authorities, athletes and referees to stop and prevent racial hatred in athletic events and to use sports as a bond between peoples.

It will be implemented with the support of the Organization of American States during the games, which will be held Oct. 6-18, 2018.

On Tuesday, the Latin American representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Dr. Ariel Gelblung, confirmed to JTA the agreement with OAS.

“If we succeed in eradicating racism, xenophobia and discrimination in sport, we can generate a greater awareness in society,” OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said in a letter to the Wiesenthal Center. As Nelson Mandela has shown, sport is a powerful tool for changing unacceptable behaviors and promoting inclusive societies.”

Gelblung is planning an educational site inside the Olympic village in Buenos Aires.

The initiative was inspired by a similar program, Football Against Racism in Europe, or FARE, to prevent violence at major sporting events.

In March 2012, the Wiesenthal Center called on the Argentine Football Association to penalize the Chacarita Juniors soccer club over anti-Semitic chants from its fans against the Atlanta Athletic Club of Buenos Aires, a team associated with the Jewish community. One year later, the center asked for sanctions against Atlanta for making racist chants against rival Chacarita.

Israel will be among 206 countries sending athletes aged 15 to 18 to the games. The third edition of the global event has soccer star Lionel Messi as one of its main supporters.