BDS movement against Qatar agreement to Israel in sports competition

The official website of the BDS movement slammed “the official Qatari authorities” for allowing an Israeli team to partake at the World Aquatics Championships held in Doha these days, adding that “the genocide of Palestinians continues in Gaza – and the enemy swims in Doha.” 

Curiously, this piece of sharp criticism has been found, so far, on the movement’s Arabic-speaking outlets alone and not in any other language.

The statement claimed that the sports sector in Gaza is also suffering “the ugliest of infringements and massacres,” including “the targeting of Palestinian athletes” and the “turning of soccer stadiums… into camps of arrest, interrogations, and torture.” It also called on “the official Qatari authorities” to respect the decisions made by the Arab and Islamic summit held in November 2023, which called on nations to exert pressure on “the Israeli enemy” to “stop the genocide.”

Finally, the statement warned that “our enemy is still failing to transfer normalization from the official level to the popular level, and here lies the reason for its insistence on participating in these tournaments organized on Arab lands… Allowing Israeli participation in these tournaments, in addition to being a dangerous normalization… will exacerbate the anger of the masses and their rejection of every attempt to push them to normalize the presence of the perpetrators of the crime of genocide against our people on its soil.”

World Aquatics Championships – Aspire Dome, Doha, Qatar – February 4, 2024 Serbia’s Jelena Kontic and Ivan Martinovic (credit: REUTERS/EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA)

This is not the first time in which the BDS movement has chosen to lambast Qatar for what they deem to be infringements of the boycott picket lines. 

Past BDS movement actions

In May 2023, the movement denounced “the Qatari government and official authorities” not only for allowing Israelis to participate at the World Judo Championships in Doha but also for allowing the Israeli anthem to be played following Israeli judoka Inbar Lanir’s winning of a gold medal. The BDS then released a similar statement reading, “While our bloods are shed in Gaza, the killer’s ‘national’ anthem is played in Qatar!”.

The BDS movement is currently attempting to apply much pressure on international sporting organizations such as the International Olympic Committee and FIFA in an attempt to bring them to ban Israeli participation in a similar fashion to the banning of Russia from events following its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. 

Similarly, a recent petition by a group called Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 called on global sporting bodies to suspend Israel from sporting events, reaching over 43,000 signatures.

Notedly, Qatar has been hosting the leadership of the terror group Hamas for the past years, including leaders Khaled Meshaal and Ismail Haniyyeh, with many criticizing the luxurious lifestyle which they and their families live while pretending to represent the people of Gaza living under poor conditions hundreds of miles away.

It is worth mentioning that the BDS movement’s official website is run by a body named the “BDS National Committee.” 

According to a report from 2019 published by the now defunct Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy, the Committee is comprised of 28 Palestinian groups, with one of the most prominent one being the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine (PNIF), a coalition of Palestinian factions, including, among others, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; all designated as terror groups by multiple countries across the globe.

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