Spain - As Israeli swimmers passed Olympic trial, Spanish TV pundit decried ‘genocide’

Clara Basiana
- Standing poolside in Barcelona, Eden Blecher and Shelly Bobritsky beamed with pride and satisfaction as they struggled to catch their breath.

The two athletes from Israel on Sunday had just clinched the fourth slot in the Women Duet category of the Artistic Swimming Qualification Tournament in the Spanish city, assuring their participation in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.

But the commentator who narrated the tournament for TV3, the state broadcaster of Catalonia, the separatist Spanish region whose capital is Barcelona, didn’t focus on their technique or performance.
“Beyond the technical commentary, I’d like to draw attention to the fact that Israel’s international presence is another strategy for whitewashing the genocide and violations of human rights that they’re committing against the Palestinian people,” the commentator, swimmer Clara Basiana, said during the live transmission.

As Blecher and Bobritsky waited for the score, then flashed excited smiles and hugged happily when they saw it, Basiana went on.

“We’ve seen it repeatedly in Eurovision, and it’s as though the war crimes of the State of Israel are erased and we’d like to point this out to the viewers so as not to normalize it,” she said.

TV3 did not immediately reply to a request by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency for comment about Basiana’s commentary. Another commentator, veteran sports reporter Imma Pedemonte, avoided the subject. “Well, they certainly seem happy with the result,” she said.