Disturbance has been caused in France by the statement of the former runner Mahieddin Mekissi regarding the Prime Minister of Israel, on the occasion of the tragic events in the Gaza Strip.
In particular, the two-time “silver” and one-time “bronze” Olympic champion compared Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler on X (formerly Twitter) and described Westerners as “collaborators”.
“Adolf Hitler is a child next to Netanyahu! The West are real partners,” the 3000m steeplechase athlete, who announced his retirement at the beginning of the year, posted on the social network, accompanying his message with hashtags such as Nazisrael GazaGenocide or IsraeliNewNazism .
His publication caused a lot of strong comments on the social network, with the athlete himself coming back and apologizing for the “wrong” – as he said – comparison, but insisting that Hitler committed genocide, as Netanyahu does today.
The French government condemns
Sports Minister Amelie Ueda-Castera condemned the athlete’s post, saying she is “deeply shocked by such comments, in these tragic circumstances”.
“These pernicious comparisons flirt with anything more disturbing and take you so far from the global values of peace that sport will always stand for, as well as the values of Olympism that you were able to embody for so many of our countrymen,” he said.
“And to think that this person wore the jersey of the French team! I am ashamed of our city… what a disaster!” Arnaud Robinet, the mayor of Rennes, where Mahieddin Mekissi comes from, wrote on X.
► Mekissi, 38, has won two silver medals in the 3000m steeplechase in 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London as well as a bronze medal in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. He is also a four-time European champion over the same distance (2010, 2012, 2016, 2018) and over 1500 m (2014).