New Water Libel: Cry Me A Pool Edition

There’s been a new water libel in town, and unlike the old one, there’s no fictitious rabbis involved.

Just some very real Olympic-sized pools.

(Derek Stoffel/CBC)
(Derek Stoffel/CBC)

As the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympic games celebrated the spirit of competition and camaraderie that captures the hearts and eyes of millions around the world every four years, the festivities were momentarily darkened by a short and stabbing reminder of man’s inhumanity to man. And as usual, it was all Israel’s fault. Introducing the Palestinian swimmer Mary al-Atrash, media outlets were quick tonote that the young athlete was challenged not only by the rigors of training for the Olympics but also by the fact that the occupation had cut off her access to a proper 50-meter-long pool, the standard Olympic size. Such stately facilities, the media informed its outraged viewers, were simply not available in Palestine.

If we were blessed with journalists who had the ability to use advanced research tools like the Internet, we might’ve benefited from knowing that the Israeli government office for coordinating activities in the West Bank, or COGAT, issued a statement last month on its Facebook page, making it clear that it would’ve gladly considered accommodating al-Atrash had she bothered applying for a permit to train in Jerusalem—which, like Palestinian athletes before her, she refused to do—and wishing her the best of luck anyway. It might’ve also been helpful to note that plenty of athletes around the world, including here in the United States, train, like al-Atrash, in semi-Olympic 25 meter pools, and that to qualify for the Olympics al-Atrash had to have qualified in a regulation-sized pool, which makes the whole access question a rather minor one. But never mind all that, because the Palestinian Territories, you see, have not one Olympic pool but several.

There’s this luxurious one in Gaza, built, maybe, with some of the leftover cement Hamas could spare after squandering billions on its terror tunnels; there’s one in Nablus; and when I called the folks over at the Murad resort in al-Atrash’s native Beit Sakhour, they assured me that their pool, too, was properly Olympically endowed. Water water everywhere, then, and not a drop for swimming.

This seems to check out. I see no evidence online that any of these pools closed down since they opened. And in the case of the Murad resort, a visitor from Glasgow also mentions on Trip Adviser the pool is Olympic-sized.

I can’t say I hate pouring cold water on these nefarious lies, but they seem to keep bobbing up.

3 thoughts on “New Water Libel: Cry Me A Pool Edition”

  1. I am so fed up with this constant flow of BS re Israel doing this or that to “Palestinians” as if it is Israel’s eternal responsibility to look after these hapless people. And I’m concerned that even from Israel supporters, part of the response to these libels, seems to be presenting facts that, in reality, Israel doesn’t discriminate against Palestinians. The problem with this is that this means we do accept responsibility for Palestinians as if they were equal citizens. We shouldn’t. If there will ever be a Palestinian state, Israel will need to learn to stop apologising for being more successful, for providing its citizens with better lives, and for not agreeing to be destroyed. It’s as though the most we can expect is to beg them to stop killing us, but not to actually run their own affairs and leave us alone. This IS the reality, but why do we shy away from stating this truth? And for the Palestinians, with the honour and shame mentality, they need to understand that it’s honourable to stand on their own two feet (with a few billions of help from their friends) and shameful to always look to Israel.

    Dear Palestinians,
    If, as you claim, you would like your own, SEPARATE state, grow up, and start using your own facilities, your own hospitals, universities etc, and stop behaving as though we owe you ours, and free of charge to boot. Be a proud and INDEPENDENT people, Palestinians.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top