Clara Basiana Now Knows What She Should Have Said About Israeli Swimmers

July 29, 2021

Earlier this month, the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) launched the “Clara, This Is What You Should Have Said” campaign to teach Catalan TV3 commentator Clara Basiana how to cover sports without being antisemitic, following the offensive remarks she made on live TV in June regarding the performance of Israeli artistic duet swimmers Eden Blecher and Shelly Bobritzky at an Olympic qualifying event in Barcelona.

As the athletes were waiting for the judging results, Basiana launched into an unsolicited diatribe against Israel, saying, “Beyond the technical aspects, I would like to point out that Israel’s international presence in the field of sport and culture is another strategy for the laundering of genocide and the violation of human rights that they are committing against the Palestinian people. We have seen it here, at the Pre-Olympic Games in Barcelona, we have seen it repeatedly at Eurovision. It seems that during these events the war crimes of the Israeli state disappear. We have to be aware as spectators and make this situation visible so as not to normalize it.”

Following this incident, CAM organized a petition demanding TV3 take disciplinary action against Basiana and implement measures to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

We also called on members of CAM’s global network to suggest how Basiana should have covered the event in a more appropriate and respectful manner. Here are a sampling of the responses we received — we hope she will learn from this for her future reporting.

“Mazel Tov! Congratulations! Well done!”

“Congratulations to the talented swim team from Israel. You can tell by their score the diligent practice they put into this.”

“Look at those beautiful strong swimmers, they deserve applause.”

“These two athletes are fulfilling their dreams after years of hard work, just like all the other athletes here. Let us all give them equal opportunity and respect as human beings striving to do their best in the sport they love.”

“That was a great performance by two outstanding athletes.”

“You are an inspiration now and for the future.”

“They put in their best effort and did a great job. While they anxiously wait for their score, I want to point out how amazing it is to see so much diversity under one roof, no matter our differences, we are all here cheering on our teams.”

“Bravo a dos joves atletes amb talent!

“That was a great performance by two outstanding athletes.”

Sports and politics are two distinct things that should be kept separate, and these Israeli athletes deserved to be applauded for their performance, regardless of anyone’s thoughts on the policies of the government of their country. Such statements have no place in sports commentary, or general societal discourse, and we are deeply moved by the contributions of all the participants in this initiative, thanks to whom Clara Basiana now knows what she should have said.

Let’s keep working together against all forms of hate!