Since the start of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, this Gulf country has become a scene of support for the Palestinian cause and rejection of Israel’s years-long oppression in Palestine.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 that is now ongoing in Qatar has become a platform to show support for the oppressed people of Palestine. At the same time, Muslims present in the tournament have, in different ways, demonstrated their resentment and anger towards Israel.
In one case, a former Israeli soldier, Guy Hochman, escaped Qatar on Monday after a video of him was posted on Twitter revealing his past and participation in the Israeli army unit that is globally condemned for regular killing of countless number of Palestinians.
The ex-member of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) entered Qatar in disguise, introducing himself as a comedian with the goal to make funny videos during the World Cup. In one of his recent videos posted on Facebook before the exposure of his true character, Hochman claimed that he travelled to Qatar to make peace.
His past record as an Israeli soldier, however, put the so-called young Israeli comedian in trouble and Palestinian-American journalist, Samar Dahmash-Jarrah, posted a video on her Twitter disclosing Hochman’s past record as a member of the IDF.
Dahmash-Jarrah is a former news contributor for CNN who has 171,000 followers on Twitter. The video showed a message which was in Arabic and read: “Expose them. Criminals.” The video was widely seen viewed and shared on Twitter and other social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.
Dahmash-Jarrah said in the video that Hochman was indeed a Commander of the 932 battalion of Nahal Brigades, and served in a unit that killed thousands of Palestinians during the first and second Intifadas. “This is the real face of Israel in the tournament. This man introduces himself as a peacemaker while he is actually a killer soldier,” the journalist also noted in the video.
Israeli media also confirmed the news of Hochman’s escape from Qatar and noted that he was supposed to stay in Qatar until the end of the FIFA World Cup 2022, but he booked a ticket fast and returned to Israel to avoid potential threats against his life.
No red carpet even for Israeli journalists
In addition to the infamous exposure of Hochman’s true identity and his escape from Qatar, a lot of Israeli journalists who enthusiastically travelled to Qatar to report the pro-Israel feelings of the Arabs during the tournament were shocked that no one wanted to speak with them. To make matters even worse, most of the Israeli journalists confirmed that nearly all the Arabs they wanted to interview asked them to leave Qatar as soon as possible.
In some cases, the Israeli journalists even reported that they have received threatening messages in Qatar and that they have grave concerns about their safety there, leading most of the journalists to try to hide their Israeli identities.
One of these reporters was Moav Vardi, chief international correspondent for the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation “KAN,” who told CNN that he was expecting some hostility from Palestinian and Arab fans – but not the level he has experienced in Qatar. “You are not welcome here, you are killing babies! go away, there is only Palestine, there is no such thing as Israel, Israel does not exist,” Vardi said he was told almost every day by football fans in Qatar.
This way of cold treatment with Israelis by the Arabs is a straightforward message that the Arab nations are against normalization without justice, especially considering the way Arab football fans in Qatar have shown their full and sincere support for Palestine.