Fact check: Waving the Palestinian flag is not 'anti-Semitic', taz
A German newspaper claims that the raising of the Palestinian flag at the World Cup by Morocco is anti-Semitism, ignoring the pro-Palestine sentiment in the Arab World.
The Moroccan national team, throughout its victories in the World Cup, as well as its fans, did not forget about Palestine and the Palestinian cause, which seemed to get under the skin of Die Tageszeitung (taz), a renowned German newspaper that found Morocco raising the Palestinian flag to celebrate its historic wins and advancements in the football championship to be problematic.
In an article entitled "Morocco is not in Palestine", German newspaper Die Tageszeitung highlighted the feats made by Morocco in the World Cup and how it defeated one "colonial power" after the other throughout the various stages, from Belgium to Spain and Portugal. The article also celebrated Morocco as a team that did not come from Latin America or Europe that has made such feats - sarcastically, of course.
The article does not only ridicule Morocco's team, but also Arab fans from all over the Arab World who sought to express their pro-Palestine sentiments and beliefs, rendering all of the matches in the World Cup a festival of black, white, green, and red flags waving in the face of normalization with an oppressive colonialism raping Palestinian soil.
"The Moroccan success is overlaid with a lot of Palestine symbolism," the author, Martin Krauss, said revisiting what Morocco did after their win over Spain, as well as what Tunisian fans did earlier on with the Palestinian flags.
The author perceives the Arab support of the Palestinian struggle, which also manifested in Qataris wearing pro-Palestine armbands, as a means for the Arab people to say "ugh, we have our protest too!" rather than simply show solidarity with the Palestinian people in the face of the Israeli occupation.
Krauss did not only weave his lines with anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab narrative but a lot of misinformation too, such as how he claimed that Arabs wearing Palestine armbands was in protest of European players wearing the "One Love" armbands in a show of solidarity for the LGBTQ community, which did meet its fair share of criticism in the Arab World.
What the author missed is that pro-Palestine support is not a response to a certain political agenda or a particular political message, but rather a Western-backed occupation regime in the Arab World that is constantly waging aggression on the state it is occupying, as well as its neighboring countries.
The Palestinian struggle is embedded within Arab culture, with the Palestinian cause being a staple in nearly all of the Arab states' curricula, not a "childishly defiant" move, as Krauss claimed.
Though several Arab regimes have normalized ties with the Israeli occupation, the sentiment among the popular masses is still pro-Palestine regardless of how a certain country's government leans. What the German author failed to see is that there was no organization from a particular party, there was only a drive from the Arab people to express how they felt about occupied Palestine.
He also missed how the chief reason behind the absence of flagrant pro-Israeli sentiment is the World Cup being held in an Arab country, where there is an almost century-old anti-Israeli sentiment.
Though several Arab states have normalized ties with the Israeli occupation, Qatar not included, the Arab fans at Qatar's World Cup stadiums are embracing the Palestinian cause and portraying their solidarity with occupied Palestine in various means.
Many Arab and international fans are making loud and clear pro-Palestinian statements, yelling "Long Live Palestine" in front of Israeli television cameras.
Individual cases are out there in the open on social media, no directed message, but a united pro-Palestinian front; one fan shouted against the Israeli occupation at a reporter for Israeli public broadcaster KAN, saying: "There is only Palestine, there is no Israel... you are not welcome here."
There are football fans all over the stadiums sporting armbands of the Palestinian flag and the Palestinian keffiyeh, the head-dress indigenous to Palestine, with the Palestinian song "Alli El-Keffiyeh", which translates to Raise the Keffiyeh, playing regularly in fan zones.
It is also being used by individuals to promote the Palestinian cause, which is absent from Western media, and when Palestine is mentioned, it is to demonize the legitimate popular resistance against the Israeli occupation.
Additionally, one cannot ignore the censorship surrounding the Palestinian cause in the West, such as when Scottish team Celtic FC received a fine from UEFA for flying Palestine flags in a UCL match, so when Arabs used the opportunity to voice support for Palestine at the first Arab-held World Cup. That is why Arabs are making sure the Palestinian cause is heard, not because "There is a historical precedent for the transparent pro-Palestine propaganda that so characterizes the World Cup."
One can also not forget "German police cancel Pro-Palestine rally in Berlin on Al-Quds Day"
"This is a golden opportunity to introduce our cause," said Yahya Abu Hantash, a 33-year-old Palestinian living in Doha, hinting that the World Cup is being used to raise awareness about the Palestinian struggle.
"This is a serious blow to anyone who thought normalization was right at the corner and that normalization with Arab countries was just a matter of time," an Israeli journalist at Israel Hayom wrote in an article entitled "The World Cup in Qatar, A Mirror for the Israelis: They Do Not Like Us nor Want Us."
The absence of the flags of the Israeli occupation entity is remarkable due to the fact that some 10,000 Israelis are expected in Qatar for the tournament, said Israeli diplomat Alon Levy, who was in Doha to organize consular coverage.
An Israeli correspondent said a few days ago that he was bothered by the stances of the Arab fans attending the 2022 World Cup, saying that they would refuse to be interviewed by him due to his allegiance.
According to the correspondent, young Lebanese men were enraged when they found out that he was Israeli, saying: "I would also like to say that even off the air, whichever Arab fans we meet there with and introduce ourselves to, they reject talking to us altogether."
The German author went on to conclude his op-ed by claiming that the Moroccan team being celebrated while it was raising the Palestinian flag after every victory was giving "joy an anti-Semitic tinge", another miss by the journalist.
The term anti-Semitism refers to any kind of hostility, prejudice, or discrimination against Jews. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, anti-Semitism is defined as [an act of] hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group.
However, in 2016, a new definition of anti-Semitism has been reintroduced by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which includes among its “contemporary examples” of anti-Semitism “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination".
Such re-definitions and endeavors to plagiarize terminologies express a systematic attempt to impose anti-Zionism as Jew-hatred in order to vilify and assume that “Israel” hatred is equivalent to Jews hatred.
To read more about how the occupation has weaponized anti-Semitism, read: 'Israel's' weapon of choice: Anti-Semitism