Israeli journalists bemoan ‘humiliation’ at Qatar World Cup
Israeli media has been forced to face the 'unpleasant truth and harsh reality' of global condemnation of Israeli crimes
By News Desk - November 28 2022

Tunisian fans unfurl a large Palestinian flag on 26 November, 2022. (Photo credit: Petr David Josek/AP)

Israeli reporters covering the FIFA World Cup in Qatar have complained of facing “humiliation” and “hate” as football fans from across the world refuse to speak to them.

In dozens of videos shared across social media, football fans are seen giving the cold shoulder to the Israeli reporters once they discover their country of origin.

Arab fans, in particular, are often using the opportunity to call for the liberation of Palestine and the end of the Israeli apartheid.

The situation has even forced Israeli reporters to clumsily pretend they are from a different country.

“We feel hated, surrounded by hostility, and unwanted,” Raz Shechnik, the media and music correspondent for Hebrew news outlet Yedioth Ahronoth, wrote in an op-ed published on 27 November.

“After a while, we decided to claim we were Ecuadorian when someone would ask us where we were from,” Shechnik goes on to admit, claiming the experience has definitely not been “fun.”

He also alleges his crew is “followed at all times by Palestinians, Iranians, Qataris, Moroccans, Jordanians, Syrians, Egyptians, and Lebanese – all giving us looks full of hate.”

This is all happening, according to Shechnik, despite his explanation to fans that the Israelis “come in peace.”

“They would truly like to see us wiped off the face of the earth, and any notion of Israel evokes their complete disgust,” the reporter concludes.

Fans’ reactions have caused shock in Tel Aviv, as Israelis seemingly expected a warm welcome to Qatar two years after the signing of normalization agreements with a handful of Arab nations, and despite the countless human rights abuses committed against Palestinians on a daily basis.

“There are a lot of attempts by many people here, from all around the Arab world, to come out against us because we represent normalization,” Channel 12’s reporter Ohad Hemo said during a televised report over the weekend.

Similarly, a Sunday article published in Israel’s largest circulation newspaper, Israel Hayom, decries that “the Qatar World Cup has brought ‘Israel’ face to face with an unpleasant truth and harsh reality that is extremely painful for Israelis, as for the first time all those Israelis who to date have been so enthusiastic about the Arab or Persian Gulf, have now had their first bitter taste of the rejection, disregard, and refusal to accept Israelis in an Arab Muslim state.”

While Qatar does not officially recognize Israel, Doha has allowed direct flights from Tel Aviv as part of a FIFA-brokered arrangement. This increased hopes in the west that Qatar would join the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco in signing the Abraham Accords.

Nonetheless, days ahead of the World Cup’s start, Tel Aviv urged citizens traveling to Qatar to be “less visibly Israeli” and to keep a low profile by hiding Israeli flags and Stars of David.

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