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Catalan TV presenter condemns ‘whitewashing’ of Israel crimes during Olympic Trial event

As Israel’s swimming team took fourth place at the Olympic Trial event, a commentator reminded her audience of Israel’s ‘genocide’ against Palestinians

June 21, 2021 at 12:06 pm

As Israeli athletes Edan Blecher and Shelly Bobritsky took 4th place in the Olympic Trial event in Barcelona, Catalan TV commentator and bronze Olympic swimmer Clara Basiana denounced Israel’s human rights violations against Palestinians. Basiana, who narrated the tournament for TV3, the state broadcaster of Catolonia, received both praise and backlash for her courage in calling out the Israeli occupation’s crimes during the live transmission.

“Beyond the technical aspects, I’d like to point out that Israel’s international presence in the field of sport and culture is another strategy for whitewashing of genocide and the violation of human rights that they are committing against the Palestinian people,” Basiana said as the athletes’ scores were announced.

The Spanish commentator went on to tell viewers to remain wary of attempts to normalise the occupation state through its presence in international sports and entertainment events.

“We have seen it here, at the Pre-Olympic Games in Barcelona, we have seen it repeatedly at Eurovision,” Basiana observed. “It seems that during these events the war crimes of the Israeli state disappear. We have to be aware as spectators and make this situation visible so as not to normalise it.”

On social media, Basiana’s commentary was commended as a rare case of demanding accountability from Israel in the typically apolitical international sporting event.

Twitter users applauded Basiana’s bravery in speaking up about injustices despite sporting commentator protocol, which usually excludes political criticism.

While other users expressed outrage at the commentator’s boldness in mingling sports and politics.

Many other users praised Basiana, recognising that she spoke up for Palestinians at the risk of damaging her career and becoming a target of pro-Israel social media trolls.

Basiana’s comments came one month after the Israeli occupation’s 11-day bombardment of Gaza, which killed at least 254 Palestinians, including 66 children.

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