An Israeli Cabinet minister called the Chinese ambassador Wednesday to apologize after Israel’s only Beijing Olympics medalist used a curse to describe the Chinese in a newspaper interview.
Israeli windsurfing bronze medalist Shahar Zubari used a scatological expletive to describe the Chinese in an interview with the Yediot Ahronot daily on Friday. “After a month and a half I couldn’t look at Chinese people any more,” Zubari said.
“Their traditions are bizarre and even their speech is weird,” he said, adding, “I also don’t like their food.” He later apologized.
Sport and Culture Minister Galeb Majadle called Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jun to condemn Zubari’s comments, which he called “despicable.”
Majadle, who attended the Olympics, told the ambassador that they “do not reflect the views of the Israeli people toward the Chinese people,” and praised the Chinese for their hospitality during the Games, according to a statement from Majadle’s office.
Zubari published an apology in Yediot on Tuesday. “I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart” for the comments, he said, explaining they were made “without thinking.”
Officials from the Chinese Embassy were not available for comment on Wednesday.