Special emissaries to Qatar for matters of hypocrisy
Indeed, it sucks that Palestinian refugees and their descendants are not crazy about the people who caused their personal disaster.
By Hanin Majadli • (Translated by Sol Salbe)
Ever since it was announced that Israelis could attend the World Cup in Qatar, I expected the event would generate articles and news stories, mainly of the unflattering variety of “Israelis discover Arabs”. I had in mind stories about Israelis who would break off gold taps in hotels, like tourists once did, but the first week provides more embarrassing stories, mainly from journalists, who are not exactly of the ugly Israeli variety. In video clips on social networks, the journalists are seen in a tedious ambush ritual on locals, “Where are you from? Do you know where we are from? We are from Israel.” Just like the Police Central Unit raiding a [Palestinian Arab] Wadi Ara community.
It started with the National broadcaster Moav Vardi and Colombian singer Maluma, an interview that provided a demonstration of lack of self-consciousness. Maluma is indeed wrong in cooperating with the Qatari World Cup; But what was Vardi doing there, organising an “Amnesty International” protest? Or News 13 Tal Shorrer, who tweeted disappointedly: “We have copped remarks from Palestinians/pro-Palestinians who live here, several times. Sometimes it was just ‘Viva Palestine’ and suchlike but sometimes they stood behind us while we were reporting and sang ‘Palestine, Palestine’. On a personal level, it’s a shame that after the opening game of the World Cup, instead of fans celebrating together having fun in a tournament we experience something like this.” Indeed, it sucks that Palestinian refugees and their descendants are not crazy about the people who caused their personal disaster. It’s unfortunate to miss out on the fun. It’s unfortunate that these people bring in the reality of their situation into the mix.
There’s a new ingredient added up by Ohad Hemo, who is not a sports reporter. [He is in fact Occupied Territories reporter for the national broadcaster.] Hemo was videoed asking Lebanese fans where they are from, waiting for an answer, asking them again, [in Arabic] “Bitarfu min wain ana?” [Do you know where I’m from] without waiting for an answer he replies “Ana min Israil” [I’m from Israel.. They turn their backs and walk away. Trust me, they know where he is from, from his arrogance and his secret-police-type Arabic accent. In another interview, Palestinian fans approached him and told him: We are from Palestine. He of course answered them that he was from Israel, and perhaps expected a dialogue. Maybe like the dove of peace. But when they answered him what was required from their point of view (“Fish Israil”. That is, there is no Israel), he abandoned his journalistic duty and enlisted in the Israeli Hasbara: Israel exists, Israel will remain forever, shame on you.
What was Hemo thinking to himself, when he turned to the Palestinian and Lebanese fans and said to them “I’m from Israel”? did he expect them to greet him with hugs? Israel has been and still is a festering sore in the history of Lebanon. And as for the Palestinians — after the Nakba, expulsions, refugees, the refusal to reconcile and offer a solution, and at the same time the signing of “peace agreements” with the Arab world above their heads, are they so unreasonable because they didn’t speak to him nicely?
It’s difficult to watch the Israeli journalists’ blindness and lack of self-consciousness. For them 1948 is a singular event in the past, the culmination of which was the establishment of the State of Israel, and not the expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians and the changing appearance of the region to this day. Israel defines Lebanon and the Palestinians as enemies, but in Qatar its journalists believe that we are “neighbours” and expect a hug or desire for an honest and courageous conversation in front of the cameras. As if nothing happened and nothing is happening.
At least these fans aren’t hypocrites. If they are seen as enemies, they behave accordingly. Hemo, you can’t stick your thumb in two pies in one World Cup.