November 25, 2022 | Flash Brief

Qatar Forced to Allow Israelis at World Cup

November 25, 2022 | Flash Brief

Qatar Forced to Allow Israelis at World Cup

Latest Developments

Thousands of Israelis are expected to visit Qatar this month as the Gulf nation hosts the World Cup. Despite the influx of visitors, there are strong indications that the tournament will not herald a diplomatic breakthrough between the two countries. Rather, the developments suggest a pragmatic Qatar willing to do what is required to host the world’s biggest sporting event.

Expert Analysis

“Qatar’s pragmatism vis-à-vis Israel should not be confused for tolerance or diplomatic outreach. Doha’s obsession with the prestige of hosting soccer’s biggest tournament has forced the Gulf country, which doesn’t have diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, to be reasonable and allow Israeli visitors.” – David May, FDD Research Manager

Sporting Bodies Crack Down on Discrimination

In recent years, international sporting bodies have cracked down on discriminatory practices, especially as it pertains to Israel. The International Judo Federation has levied significant penalties on Iran for forcing its athletes to forfeit or lose intentionally rather than face Israeli opponents. FINA, swimming’s governing body, formally warned Qatar for refusing to display Israel’s flag or refer to Israel by its name during the 2013 Swimming World Cup. Since then, when hosting international sporting events, Qatar has played Israel’s national anthem and displayed its flag.

Increased Israeli-Qatari Cooperation

FIFA required Qatar to allow Israelis to visit the country as part of the terms for hosting the games. To accommodate the wave of Israeli tourists and deal with any possible emergencies, Qatar has allowed Israeli consular staff to be present during the tournament. And in a first, Qatar is allowing direct flights from Tel Aviv to Doha.

Continued Hostility to Israel

On a less promising note, Qatar reneged on its promise to allow Jewish prayer spaces, according to the World Jewish Congress. Meanwhile, Israeli officials are instructing their citizens not to openly display their nationality during the tournament for security concerns. While in Qatar, Israeli reporters have faced hostility from locals and visiting Arabs.

Qatari Support for Terrorists

Qatar contributes $360 million to $480 million annually to subsidize the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hamas, which remains committed to Israel’s destruction. Meanwhile, Doha has hosted top leaders of Al Qaeda, the TalibanHamas, and other extremist groups.

Qatar is a Controversial World Cup Host

Qatar allegedly secured the right to host the tournament through nearly $1 billion in bribes. Migrant workers, more than 6,500 of whom have died since Doha was awarded hosting rights, face an exploitative sponsorship system in the Gulf country. After paying a large sum to work in Qatar, impoverished workers are subject to deportation if they do not sign contracts with their employers. Additionally, homosexual acts can carry a seven-year prison sentence in Qatar. There have been several reports of fans having rainbow-colored items, signs of LGBT solidarity, seized by stadium security.

Related Analysis

The World Cup Won’t Clean Up Qatar’s Image,” by David May

World Cup 2022: What’s In It For Qatar?” by Hussain Abdul-Hussain


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