Water polo match between Spain and Israel cancelled following BDS pressure

November 7, 2018 by Ilanit Chernick - TPS
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The Molins de Rei Municipality in Catalonia, Spain has left Israel’s women water polo team in the lurch after cancelling the venue for a water polo match between Israel and Spain, due to pressure from anti-Israel boycott movements.

Photo by Matan Schwartz/Israel Water Polo Association on 6 November, 2018

The match, which forms part of the European Cup, was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon and by Tuesday morning, no new venue for it had been announced.

According to Revital Cohen Gluska, the president of the Israeli Water Polo Association, the Israeli team was already in Barcelona when the cancellation was announced.

Israel’s Embassy in Spain explained to her that the game was cancelled due to pressure from BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions movement).
Speaking to Israel’s Channel 10 News, she said that she “was initially told there were political issues.

“I thought it was their own internal problems, but later the embassy contacted me and said it was the city council and that they had given into BDS pressure,” Cohen Gluska said. “A hostile crowd doesn’t scare us. We came here to do sports, not politics.”

In a statement on Twitter, the Israeli Embassy in Spain said that “Sport is a bridge between peoples and countries.

“Whoever politicizes it, breaks bridges,” it wrote, posting a picture of the women’s water polo team. “Today, Israeli athletes compete in Arab countries, but they can not do it in Spain.”

Cohen Gluska has declined other venue proposals for the match by Spanish officials.

The Olympic Committee of Israel wrote an urgent letter to the President of the Spanish Olympic Committee on Tuesday morning calling on him to intervene.

“As the Olympic Charter clearly orders us to ‘act against any form of discrimination,’” wrote CEO Gilad Lustig of the Olympic Committee of Israel, “I think that when a hosting country discriminates [against] athletes of another country on the ground of race, religion, gender or political opinion, this country loses it’s right to host any kind of sport competition and the competition should be allowed only to countries and national federations that do respect ‘Olympism’ and Olympic values.”

“The game is scheduled for today, and the team does not know if the game will take place,” he added. “I am kindly asking for your intervention to ensure the participation of the Israeli Women Team equal to all other participant teams.”

According to local Israeli media reports, Sport and Culture Minister Miri Regev contacted her Spanish counterpart José Girao and called on him to “do everything so that the city Molins acts according to the international Olympic charter and prevents the BDS movement from disrupting the game from being held.”

She also requested that the Spanish Sport and Culture Ministry “take action to protect the well being and safety of the Israeli sportswomen.”


One Response to “Water polo match between Spain and Israel cancelled following BDS pressure”
  1. Liat Kirby says:

    This is really so bad. It makes me both angry and aware of the idiocy of Councils such as this one who cave in to the continuing harassment of the BDS pushers. What is wrong with these people that they can’t think clearly enough to distinguish between sport and politics? That they can’t aspire to a higher realm of analysis or vision!

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