Brazil Nuts: Anti-Semitism at the Summer Olympics

 
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Image Credit. Source, Fair use.

Three nights into the Summer Olympic games in Brazil, there have been two inexcusable acts of anti-Semitism towards members of the Israeli team. I would call these acts “high-profile” but, since the media is largely ignoring these international incidents, very few even know the stories. The first incident happened on Friday, the night of the Opening Ceremonies. As the Jewish Journal reported:

Lebanese Olympians refused to ride on a bus with Israeli athletes to get to the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 summer games. When the Israeli delegation of athletes and coaches tried to board the bus Friday to Maracana stadium here, the head of the Lebanese delegation blocked the entrance.

Israeli sailing coach Udi Gal first described the incident in a Hebrew Facebook post.

“I kept on insisting that we board the bus and said that if the Lebanese did not want to board as well they are welcome to leave,” Gal wrote Friday.

“The bus driver opened the door, but this time the head of the Lebanese delegation blocked the aisle and entrance. The organizers wanted to avoid an international and physical incident and sent us away to a different bus.”

The head of the Lebanese delegation, Saleem a-Haj Nacoula told Lebanese media that the Israelis were “looking for trouble” by insisting on boarding the same bus when they had their own transportation. Nacoula was praised in Lebanon as a hero.

“A hero.” That reminds me of the celebrations in Gaza City when Palestinians kill Israelis, and hand out sweets to people. Sick and twisted people have sick and twisted definitions of what defines a hero.

More from the same article:

On Sunday, Israel’s Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev called on the International Olympic Committee to condemn the Lebanese delegation’s alleged actions. “I am incensed by the incident. It is anti-Semitism pure and simple, and the worst kind of racism,” she told Israel Radio.

Miri Regev and the Israeli Olympic team never got that requested condemnation by the International Olympic Committee. I predict that they never will.

The second incident happened on Sunday. The Daily Mail has the details:

A Saudi judo competitor forfeited her first round match at the Olympic Games to avoid going up against a rival from Israel, it has been claimed.

Joud Fahmy was supposed to have taken on Christianne Legentil from Mauritius for the right to take on Israel’s Gili Cohen in the next round.

But before the clash, Saudi officials tweeted that she had injured her arm and leg during training and that medics had told her to pull out.

Afterwards, media outlets in Israel reportedly suggested that 22-year-old Fahmy was not injured.

According to the Times of Israel, Channel 2 broadcaster said she had dropped out to avoid a fixture against an Israeli.

The actions of Joud Fahmy are insulting, but also perplexing. Saudi Arabia is a male-dominated country, well-known for its misogyny. The Week lists Nine Things Women Can’t Do in Saudi Arabia, the first five being:

  1. Drive a car;
  2. Wear clothes or make-up that “show off their beauty;”
  3. Interact with men;
  4. Go for a swim; and
  5. Compete freely in sports.

They continue:

Last year, Saudi Arabia proposed hosting an Olympic Games without women. “Our society can be very conservative,” said Prince Fahad bin Jalawi al-Saud, a consultant to the Saudi Olympic Committee. “It has a hard time accepting that women can compete in sports.”

When Saudi Arabia sent its female athletes to the London Games for the first time, hardline clerics denounced the competitors as “prostitutes.” The women also had to be accompanied by a male guardian and cover their hair.

Against overwhelming odds, Joud Fahmy is actually allowed to compete for her country, in the second Summer Olympic games that Saudi Arabia has ever allowed women to participate in. She takes this ostensible honor, and dishonors herself with her hatred of Jews, so overwhelming that she won’t compete against one. That is sickening behavior, that no amount of condemnation by the International Olympic Committee (which, is never coming) can excuse.

The above incidents, which easily qualify as international incidents, are barely media incidents. If you go to Google and search terms like “Lebanon Olympics bus” or “Saudi Arabia judo,” you’ll get maybe 10 or 11 results each. Most of the coverage is, unsurprisingly from Jewish news outlets and from few conservative websites. In its story, Yahoo News’ headline is “Israeli Olympic team met with apparent anti-Semitism in Rio de Janeiro.” I would love to see the definition of “apparent” in the dictionary that writer Ben Rohrbach uses.

Other than the sporting events, there have been two major narratives that most of the Olympic press and regular MSM have been laser-focused. The first one is “Team Refugee”

The second one is the first American Muslim to compete in a hijab

Hillary Clinton, always ready to pander, even tweeted about Ibtihaj Muhammad

Muhammad has become a media darling because she gives the MSM an excuse to trash Donald Trump, as she says she feels unsafe as a Muslim in America. I wonder how she would feel about living in Saudi Arabia, where she most likely wouldn’t even be given the opportunity to compete in the Olympics.

There are 38 comments.

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  1. Member

    And according to CNN host Michael Phelps wrong sex, color and religion to be US flag beard at olympics…..

    A noble gesture for Michael Phelps?

    Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 7.51.37 AM

    Sums it up for me….

    • #1
    • August 9, 2016 at 4:52 am
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  2. Member

    Last year, Saudi Arabia proposed hosting an Olympic Games without women. “Our society can be very conservative,” said Prince Fahad bin Jalawi al-Saud, a consultant to the Saudi Olympic Committee. “It has a hard time accepting that women can compete in sports.”

    When Saudi Arabia sent its female athletes to the London Games for the first time, hardline clerics denounced the competitors as “prostitutes.” The women also had to be accompanied by a male guardian and cover their hair.

    In my opinion, we really can’t frack them into penury fast enough.

    • #2
    • August 9, 2016 at 4:58 am
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  3. Coolidge

    The problem is this is not the first time these kind of things have happened.

    How many times has some savage OIC member gotten to host an international sports event and then barred the Israeli team or Israeli players on other teams (e.g., in pro sports) in a “misunderstanding” without repercussions?

    • #3
    • August 9, 2016 at 5:30 am
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  4. Member

    Lebanon does not recognise Israel because they believe that Israel was founded by stealing Palestinian land. The issue is not antisemitism, it’s legitimising theft. Agree with them or not, insisting that it’s antisemitism and ignoring their actual issue seems like wilful blindness.

    Does it not strike anybody as odd that the Israeli team was put in a bus with a team from an Arab country that doesn’t recognise them. There are no other countries it could share a bus with?

    What is that about? Is it just a coincidence? What did they expect, or hope, the Lebanese team would do?

    • #4
    • August 9, 2016 at 5:34 am
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  5. Member

    Excellent post. It is sad that the Israelis have to deal with this stuff. The idea is that the Olympics are a time to put aside petty disputes and celebrate the spirit of sportsmanship and judge one another based on their merit. There shouldn’t be any “except when it comes to the Israelis.” It’s a strike at the heart of what the Olympics has traditionally been about and the Committee should condemn this anti-Israel behavior.

    And who cares about a hijab? Do these people in the media really like Islam that much? And you are absolutely right– she’s a lot better off here than in the vast majority of Islamic nations.

    @kozak:

    This is a great example of some of the craziness we are confronted with. Phelps is a multiple gold medal winning athlete. He was a “national hero” for a while. You don’t get to be a torch bearer cause you believe in a post 1970s interpretation of Islamic dress code and are a woman. This praise for the perceived “underdog” is a bizarre emotional and intellectual quirk of liberalism that makes it very difficult to accept. It really is a poison pill to a lot of good intentions.

    • #5
    • August 9, 2016 at 5:39 am
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  6. Coolidge

    Zafar:Lebanon does not recognise Israel because they believe that Israel was founded by stealing Palestinian land. The issue is not antisemitism, it’s legitimising theft. Agree with them or not, insisting that it’s antisemitism and ignoring their actual issue seems like wilful blindness.

    Does it not strike anybody as odd that the Israeli team was put in a bus with a team from an Arab country that doesn’t recognise them. There are no other countries it could share a bus with?

    What is that about? Is it just a coincidence? What did they expect, or hope, the Lebanese team would do?

    The “they believe that Israel was founded by stealing Palestinian land” as a motivation is an artifact of their antisemitism.

    What about alien Hashemites occupying “Palestinian land” (Jordan). Where’s the outrage?

    If a Jewish homeland had been created on an artificial island in the Atlantic, the Koran would still command Jihad against those Jews.

    • #6
    • August 9, 2016 at 5:46 am
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  7. Member

    ctlaw:

    What about alien Hashemites occupying “Palestinian land” (Jordan). Where’s the outrage?

    Did the alien Hashemites take people’s land and homes and resettle an alien population there while creating refugees that they refuse to allow to return? They did not. It’s a red herring.

    I really do understand the attraction of calling it all just antisemitism – I just don’t believe that inclination founded in reality.

    And it also reflects a real investment in not seeing the real Arab issue with Israel – which is not antsemtism (easily dismissed as something irrational, evil and basically crazy) but theft (which is harded to engage with). That’s certainly more comfortable, but it comes dangerously close to arguing with yourself because it’s easier than arguing with real people about real (not invented) issues.

    • #7
    • August 9, 2016 at 5:55 am
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  8. Member

    Zafar:Lebanon does not recognise Israel because they believe that Israel was founded by stealing Palestinian land. The issue is not antisemitism, it’s legitimising theft. Agree with them or not, insisting that it’s antisemitism and ignoring their actual issue seems like wilful blindness.

    Does it not strike anybody as odd that the Israeli team was put in a bus with a team from an Arab country that doesn’t recognise them. There are no other countries it could share a bus with?

    What is that about? Is it just a coincidence? What did they expect, or hope, the Lebanese team would do?

    It may not be anti-semitism…probably just hate and stupidity. In other news, the Mexican team refused to compete against the USA in soccer because they believe the country was founded by stealing Indian and Mexican land.

    • #8
    • August 9, 2016 at 6:00 am
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  9. Thatcher
    EB

    Zafar: Did the alien Hashemites take peoples land and homes and resettle an alien population there while creating refugees that they refuse to allow to return?

    The “Palestinians” left. Israel didn’t expel them. And the other Arab nations didn’t want them. Hence, refugees for 70 years. That’s how many generations of “refugees”?

    • #9
    • August 9, 2016 at 6:05 am
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  10. Member

    cdor:

    It may not be anti-semitism…probably just hate and stupidity. In other news, the Mexican team refused to compete against the USA in soccer because they believe the country was founded by stealing Indian and Mexican land.

    What’s stupid about that? And why is it important if you and the rest of the world don’t care?

    • #10
    • August 9, 2016 at 6:05 am
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  11. Member

    EB:

    Zafar: Did the alien Hashemites take peoples land and homes and resettle an alien population there while creating refugees that they refuse to allow to return?

    The “Palestinians” left. Israel didn’t expel them.

    Fantasy.

    And the other Arab nations didn’t want them. Hence, refugees for 70 years. That’s how many generations of “refugees”?

    Irrelevant – unless you’re trying to make it about how awaful the other Arab nations are. If you are, why? How is that relevant to Israel’s theft?

    • #11
    • August 9, 2016 at 6:07 am
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  12. Member
    MBF

    Zafar:What did they expect, or hope, the Lebanese team would do?

    Act like civilized human beings, perhaps?

    • #12
    • August 9, 2016 at 6:43 am
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  13. Thatcher

    If simple courtesy, common decency, civilized behavior, and the Olympic ideal are all beyond the ken of the Lebanese team, maybe they should take their clown show elsewhere.

    • #13
    • August 9, 2016 at 6:47 am
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  14. Contributor

    EB:

    Zafar: Did the alien Hashemites take peoples land and homes and resettle an alien population there while creating refugees that they refuse to allow to return?

    The “Palestinians” left. Israel didn’t expel them. And the other Arab nations didn’t want them. Hence, refugees for 70 years. That’s how many generations of “refugees”?

    So now I’ll throw a wrench in these works. First, I think it’s an unhelpful exercise to try to separate out anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. The reason I think it doesn’t work is that people, Muslim and non-Muslim have, for most intents and purposes, merged them. Second it has always been debated whether the Arabs left Israel or they were driven out. I accept the argument, based on his history, that Nasser told the “Palestinians” they could leave while Nasser drove the Jews into the sea; when the war was over quickly due to his victory, the Palestinians could return. (We know how that went.) It’s debated whether the Israelis told them to leave or told them to stay; I suspect it was a mix. Once they left, I think they forfeited the rights to their property and to live in Israel. My opinion.

    Regarding the Olympics, I agree that it was ignorant to try to put the Israelis and Lebanese on the same bus, but I think the Lebanese should have been condemned for their bad behavior. Regarding the Saudi woman, we really don’t know if her “injury” was made up or not, but I’m concerned that we assume with great confidence that she opted out because of the Israeli. I think if we’re going to call someone anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli, we need to emphasize the uncertainty, not what we think is the truth. These are serious charges.

    Okay, I think I’m done.

    • #14
    • August 9, 2016 at 6:48 am
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  15. Member
    Liz

    Zafar:Lebanon does not recognise Israel because they believe that Israel was founded by stealing Palestinian land. The issue is not antisemitism, it’s legitimising theft. Agree with them or not, insisting that it’s antisemitism and ignoring their actual issue seems like wilful blindness.

    Does it not strike anybody as odd that the Israeli team was put in a bus with a team from an Arab country that doesn’t recognise them. There are no other countries it could share a bus with?

    What is that about? Is it just a coincidence? What did they expect, or hope, the Lebanese team would do?

    Zafar, in what way is it up to Olympic athletes to deny the legitimacy of another country? This seems bizarre to me. If certain athletes feel they cannot behave in a sportsmanlike way to other athletes, they should voluntarily leave the Games. Why should the organizers have to coddle a particular group? These are grown men and women.

    No doubt there are Serbs who object to Kosovo’s participation in the Games. I haven’t heard of any similar behavior from the Serbian team, though.

    • #15
    • August 9, 2016 at 7:01 am
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  16. Member

    Goldgeller:@kozak:

    This is a great example of some of the craziness we are confronted with. Phelps is a multiple gold medal winning athlete. He was a “national hero” for a while. You don’t get to be a torch bearer cause you believe in a post 1970s interpretation of Islamic dress code and are a woman. This praise for the perceived “underdog” is a bizarre emotional and intellectual quirk of liberalism that makes it very difficult to accept. It really is a poison pill to a lot of good intentions.

    One of the elements that seems to be missing from this particular part of the conversation is that Michael Phelps was selected by the American team – by vote – to carry the flag; it is a vote of profound respect.

    • #16
    • August 9, 2016 at 7:02 am
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  17. Member
    Liz

    Regarding the Saudi athlete, it is worth noting that some athletes have refused to compete with Israelis not because they personally care one way or the other, but because they face immense pressure from their home governments to refuse. For those athletes, I have great sympathy. They are forced to give up their dreams for something totally outside the realm of sports.

    • #17
    • August 9, 2016 at 7:08 am
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  18. Contributor

    Liz:Regarding the Saudi athlete, it is worth noting that some athletes have refused to compete with Israelis not because they personally care one way or the other, but because they face immense pressure from their home governments to refuse. For those athletes, I have great sympathy. They are forced to give up their dreams for something totally outside the realm of sports.

    What’s fascinating is that the Saudi government has begun to have conversations with Israel about some kind of cooperation in the Middle East. Politics and diplomacy is complicated.

    • #18
    • August 9, 2016 at 7:16 am
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  19. Inactive

    Case could be made that if you can’t leave your animosity behind, whether justified or not, please don’t bother sending a team to the Olympics. That’s the whole point of the Olympics, isn’t it?

    • #19
    • August 9, 2016 at 7:19 am
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  20. Member

    Susan Quinn:

    EB:

    Zafar: Did the alien Hashemites take peoples land and homes and resettle an alien population there while creating refugees that they refuse to allow to return?

    <snip>

    Regarding the Olympics, I agree that it was ignorant to try to put the Israelis and Lebanese on the same bus, but I think the Lebanese should have been condemned for their bad behavior. Regarding the Saudi woman, we really don’t know if her “injury” was made up or not, but I’m concerned that we assume with great confidence that she opted out because of the Israeli. I think if we’re going to call someone anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli, we need to emphasize the uncertainty, not what we think is the truth. These are serious charges.

    Okay, I think I’m done.

    I agree that people shouldn’t be called names or lumped into groups without real evidence. For example, the Saudi woman could have been forced into withdrawing by the very wise and powerful MEN of the Saudi Royal Family who obviously know what is best for this child as they know what is best for all women…god willing and doncha know.

    But, all we can do is surmise and until the facts are known, we shouldn’t judge.

    • #20
    • August 9, 2016 at 7:27 am
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  21. Inactive

    Too effing funny, this bovine excrement about Israel stealing Lebanon’s land!! From whom: the French?

    And what about the exiled Lebanese Christians? Do they have a “right of return”?

    but I agree with one thing I read here: this kinda stuff, and the media’s failure to even cover it, should NOT be called “anti-semitism”. That’s too sterile and academic a term.

    Call it what it is:

    Jew-hatred.

    • #21
    • August 9, 2016 at 8:24 am
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  22. Member

    Zafar:Lebanon does not recognise Israel because they believe that Israel was founded by stealing Palestinian land. The issue is not antisemitism, it’s legitimising theft. Agree with them or not, insisting that it’s antisemitism and ignoring their actual issue seems like wilful blindness.

    Does it not strike anybody as odd that the Israeli team was put in a bus with a team from an Arab country that doesn’t recognise them. There are no other countries it could share a bus with?

    What is that about? Is it just a coincidence? What did they expect, or hope, the Lebanese team would do?

    Nothing was stolen. The UN dictated that Israel would be a place for Jews, as they were being killed everywhere else and deserved a chance to have their own country. Decided and done. Get over it.

    • #22
    • August 9, 2016 at 8:34 am
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  23. Member

    Liz:Regarding the Saudi athlete, it is worth noting that some athletes have refused to compete with Israelis not because they personally care one way or the other, but because they face immense pressure from their home governments to refuse. For those athletes, I have great sympathy. They are forced to give up their dreams for something totally outside the realm of sports.

    Then the IOC should not allow ANY athletes from Saudi Arabia to compete.

    • #23
    • August 9, 2016 at 8:37 am
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  24. Member

    Susan Quinn: Regarding the Saudi woman, we really don’t know if her “injury” was made up or not, but I’m concerned that we assume with great confidence that she opted out because of the Israeli. I think if we’re going to call someone anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli, we need to emphasize the uncertainty, not what we think is the truth. These are serious charges.

    Word. I was surprised that someone would go through what she had to go through to get were she was, and then walk before her first competition, not because that competitor was an Israeli, but because IF she won she would face an Israeli. The evidence, so far, doesn’t really seem to support the charge.

    • #24
    • August 9, 2016 at 8:49 am
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  25. Member

    Susan Quinn:

    Liz:Regarding the Saudi athlete, it is worth noting that some athletes have refused to compete with Israelis not because they personally care one way or the other, but because they face immense pressure from their home governments to refuse. For those athletes, I have great sympathy. They are forced to give up their dreams for something totally outside the realm of sports.

    What’s fascinating is that the Saudi government has begun to have conversations with Israel about some kind of cooperation in the Middle East. Politics and diplomacy is complicated.

    “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” has a long pedigree.

    • #25
    • August 9, 2016 at 8:51 am
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  26. Contributor

    Isaac Smith: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” has a long pedigree.

    Although, wasn’t it Netanyahu who said, “The enemy of my enemy is my enemy”?

    • #26
    • August 9, 2016 at 9:00 am
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  27. Inactive

    Food for thought:

    “The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this Land” (Genesis 12:7) God further said to Abraham: “I will establish My covenant between ME and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession” (emphasis mine) Genesis 17:7-8  

     

    • #27
    • August 9, 2016 at 10:10 am
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  28. Member

    cdor: […] the Saudi woman could have been forced into withdrawing by the very wise and powerful MEN of the Saudi Royal Family who obviously know what is best for this child […]

    Liz: […] some athletes have refused to compete with Israelis not because they personally care one way or the other, but because they face immense pressure from their home governments to refuse […]

    Amazing to think of the pressure on this female athlete… she and her entire family could be shamed, ostracized, figuratively destroyed if she were to even compete against (and potentially LOSE to) an Israeli.

    • #28
    • August 9, 2016 at 12:21 pm
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  29. Member

    Susan Quinn:

    Isaac Smith: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” has a long pedigree.

    Although, wasn’t it Netanyahu who said, “The enemy of my enemy is my enemy”?

    Actually, “the enemy of your enemy is still your enemy.” He was speaking particularly about Iran and ISIS to the U.S. Congress.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/03/03/netanyahu_on_isis__iran_the_enemy_of_your_enemy_is_your_enemy.html#!

    • #29
    • August 9, 2016 at 12:26 pm
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  30. Member

    Susan Quinn:I think it’s an unhelpful exercise to try to separate out anti-Israel and anti-Semitic.

    Second it has always been debated whether the Arabs left Israel or they were driven out.

    Susan, It’s undeniable that conflating antisemitic and anti-Israel is something that has been done cynically and manipulatively by both supporters and opponents of Israel.

    That still doesn’t make them the same. Whatever one’s emotions and loyalties and objectives, words retain their meaning.

    There is no historical evidence (as opposed to claims, so no textual or physical evidence and no confirmable oral testimony) that supports this ‘the Arabs chose to leave’ claim. There is rather a lot of evidence that they were driven out by force and threat. Much of it gathered by Jewish Israeli historians.

    To my mind making the claim that this evidence is an expression of antisemitism is a demand not to think but to feel. Which is anybody’s right to do, of course, and I’m sure we all do it from time to time.

    • #30
    • August 9, 2016 at 3:01 pm
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