Apr 17, 2024 08:17 UTC
  • This year\'s Super Bowl final became the most-watched game in the history of the event.
    This year\'s Super Bowl final became the most-watched game in the history of the event.

Pars Today- During the 2024 Super Ball Rugby games a while ago, a 30 second advertisement was broadcast at the behest of Israel between the two halves to justify the regime's genocide in Gaza. Concurrent with the ad, the occupying Israeli forces were massacring the people in Rafah leading to martyrdom of scores of Palestinians.

With 123 million viewers, Super Ball has turned into the most-watched game in the history of this sport. Although people's reaction was weak to this Israeli ad, the question is, where is the American politicians' claim on separation of sport and politics?

For whom?

The answer is that in spite of requests to distinguish between politics and sport, in practice, sport has always acted as a tool to put the US' political agenda into effect. This means that when the American allies, like Israel, are on one side, it requires to politicize sport even if it is Israel which is engaged in genocide of Palestinians with the help of the money of American taxpayers.

During 7 months of bombardment of Gaza Strip by Israel under the aegis of the US, over 33 thousand Palestinians have been killed, more than 80 thousand have been injured and 2 million others have become homeless. The silence of the sports community towards these crimes indicates the hypocrisy and duplicitous standards of this community.

Western countries are unwilling to take even the smallest action against Israel despite its crimes.


Sport for protest and punishment

Sport has always acted as a ground for protest against injustice. Perhaps, one of the most powerful pictures in the memory of history has been the protest of Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the American representatives of track and field in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. They stood on the medal podium and knelt down and raised their fists in protest against racism. Both athletes were howled and thrown out of the games.

The United States has made use of sport several times to punish its enemies. In 1980, after the Soviet Union attack on Afghanistan one year before, the US forced 65 countries to ban the summer Moscow Olympic games. In retaliation, the Soviet and other Warsaw Pact member states boycotted the summer Los Angeles Olympic games of 1984.

Separation of mind and motto

Paying attention to historical events reveals how the supposed separation of sport and politics often perishes. According to Zara Najjar, member of Jordanian national basketball team, "… in an ideal world, sport and politics remain separate and athletes are allowed to compete for what they love. Yet, history shows us that sport often acts as strong podium for political expression and developments."

Double standards

Maybe this double standard is disclosed further once we put the reactions to the Russian attack on Ukraine beside the Israeli attack on Palestinians. As for the former, sport and politics are intertwined and the Russian "invasion" deserves punishment. Professional sports organizations, following the Western ballyhoo, have supported Ukraine vociferously. But, any kind of solidarity, whatsoever, with Palestinians has been banned in the world of sports and this ban persists.    

The West's double standard on sports and politics - sanctioning Russian sports while preventing their participation in the Olympics under the official flag.


Israel against sports

As of October 7, Israel had killed more than 250 Palestinians in 2023, making it the deadliest year since the UN began recording fatalities. Yet, sports organizations have chosen to remain silent!

Between October 7 and December 6, Israel's attacks martyred around 85 Palestinian athletes in Gaza and the West Bank. According to the Palestinian Football Association, this included 55 footballers and 30 athletes from other sports. The report adds that Israel has targeted Palestinian sportspeople, especially football players, club presidents, managers, and referees.

Israel's missiles have also destroyed 9 sports facilities, 4 in the West Bank and 5 in Gaza. Targeting Palestinian athletes has been a part of Israel's atrocities against Palestinians for years.

While the sports community has remained silent in the face of Palestinian crimes, support for the Zionist regime continues unabated! On October 8, the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the US expressed solidarity with Israel and condemned Palestinian military actions to reclaim their land as "terrorism" (!).

The brave are alive

However, despite the pressures and dangers faced by athletes supporting Palestine, Palestinians also have their allies in the world of sports. Figures like Natasha Cloud, a star in women's basketball, have stood in full solidarity with Palestinians.

Natasha Cloud, a star in women's basketball


Ultimately, in this deceptive issue of political sports, one must always keep in mind the comparison that Russian sports teams were banned from international competitions due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, while Israeli sports teams face no consequences despite the ongoing genocide in Gaza!

And now that sports have become political, perhaps it is time for courageous people and independent states to consider a collective boycott against Israeli sports and athletes.