As Israeli swimmers took 4th place in Olympic trial, TV commentator slammed their country
(JTA) – Standing by the pool in Barcelona, Eden Blecher and Shelly Bobritsky beamed with pride and satisfaction as they struggled to catch their breath.
The two Israeli athletes had just taken fourth place in the women’s duo category of the artistic swimming qualifying tournament in this city in Spain on Sunday, ensure their participation in the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
But the commentator who narrated the tournament for TV3, the public broadcaster of Catalonia, the separatist Spanish region whose capital is Barcelona, did not focus on their technique or performance.
“Beyond the technical commentary, I would like to draw attention to the fact that Israel’s international presence is another strategy to whitewash the genocide and the human rights violations they are committing against the Palestinian people.” commentator swimmer Clara Basiana said mentionned during live transmission.
As Blecher and Bobritsky waited for the score, then put on excited smiles and hug each other happily when they saw him, Basiana continued.
TV3 did not immediately respond to a request from the Jewish Telegraph Agency to comment on Basiana’s comment. Another commentator, veteran sports journalist Imma Pedemonte, avoided the topic. “Well, they certainly seem happy with the outcome,” she said.
“We have seen this on Eurovision several times, and it is as if the war crimes of the State of Israel are erased and we would like to point it out to viewers so as not to normalize it,” a- she declared.
On social media and in some left-wing posts, Basiana’s comment was celebrated as a rare case of Israel’s accountability requirement. the the news site Contrainformacion praised it like “truths that strike like fists”.
ACOM, a pro-Israel organization in Spain, accused TV3 of targeting Israel because of its anti-Semitism. The event’s runner-up winners were from Belarus, often referred to as Europe’s last dictatorship and where mass arrests and violence against pro-democracy protesters took place earlier this year.
“It is not surprising that TV3, spokesperson for supremacist and hostile sentiments towards the Spaniards, is again broadcasting anti-Semitic slanders,” ACOM wrote on Twitter. It was a reference to TV3’s perceived support for the Catalan separatist cause, which in 2017 led to an unsuccessful government attempt to break with Spain.
Daniel Sirera, a former center-right People’s Party politician and journalist in Catalonia, tweeted that Basiana had adopted “unethical behavior by dragging politics into sport”.
And Marc Villanueva, writer for the newspaper El Nacional, mentionned that binding athletes to the politics of their country “is as unfair as binding Basiana, who participated in the Spanish national team, to the capture of political prisoners by the Spanish authorities” in Catalonia, he wrote.