Participation in some international sporting events is conditioned on geography – for example the Pan-American Games, the All-African Games or the Pacific Games. The right to take part in the Commonwealth Games depends on historical and cultural alliances and in the Youth Olympic Games participation is limited by age. The Pan-Arab Games are open to athletes from predominantly Muslim Arab countries.
As far as this writer is aware, it has not occurred to the BBC to imply to its audiences that controversy surrounds – or should surround – any of those sporting events due to the non-inclusion of participants who do not meet their specific criteria.
So consider the following passage from a July 27th article about the Maccabiah Games by Bethany Bell which appeared in the ‘Features & Analysis’ section of the BBC News website’s Middle East page.
“While a handful of Israeli Arabs take part in the games, this is an overwhelmingly Jewish event, something that the Israeli sports commentator Ron Kofman has criticised.
“If there is a sports event, everyone who wants to come should come, from Morocco, from Tunisia, from Kuwait, from Iran, from Iraq,” Mr Kofman says. “It’s sport. There’s no room for religion or race in sports.” “
Whether or not Bell is familiar with the ‘colourful’ reputation of the one sports journalist she elected to showcase and quote in this article is unclear, but certainly she appears to be treading a path already well-worn by other BBC journalists by using the subject of sport as a springboard from which to try to influence audience perceptions of Israel.