Israeli Women’s Water Polo Match in Spain Relocated Due to BDS Pressure

Itamar Katzir
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The Israeli women's water polo team.
The Israeli women's water polo team.Credit: Israel Handball Association
Itamar Katzir

A women's water polo match in which Israel's team was due to compete Tuesday against Spain, the current world champion, was moved to a different venue after the local municipality where the original venue is located gave in to pressures from the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. 

The cancellation of the event, part of the European championship, in the Barcelona suburb of Molins de Rei due to BDS pressure shocked the leaders of the Israeli team. The Spanish water polo association offered that Israel play the match at the new venue without an audience. The Israelis refused and didn't show up at the scheduled game. At the end, the Spanish authorities succumbed to pressure from Israel's Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev and the director of the Olympic Committee of Israel, Gili Gluska. 

The game will be played in the new venue - another suburb of Barcelona - with an audience Tuesday evening. Hundreds of members of Barcelona's Jewish community also planned to attend the match.

The Israeli delegation arrived in Spain after suffering a defeat in Greece.

“It’s a difficult feeling. We came here for sports, and athletics always creates  the best diplomacy for Israel,” Revital Gluska, the Israeli water polo association chairwoman, said. “It is very upsetting when politics interferes with sports. We will continue to focus on our mission for this visit, promoting Israeli water polo and closing the gap with a top world [champion] team.”

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