Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90
Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani in Gaza.

So here is a sad little story.

Qatari Sports Investments, which, the Jerusalem Post learned, is a “100-percent Qatari private shareholding company specializing in sports and leisure industries, with the goal of investing in profit-bearing projects within Qatar and internationally.”

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So it’s not a big deal that QSI companies have such an aversion (there’s a calm word) to Israel, that they don’t list the country even when Israeli teams are engaging in sports which QSI companies otherwise are covering.

Except it is a big deal when a QSI company, beIN Sports, administers Fox Sports – Middle East. Everyone in the Middle East who wanted to watch Fox Sports utilized a drop-down menu listing all the countries in the Middle East, and when the sports teams from those countries were playing. That is, until Thursday, Sept. 11.

Because the Jerusalem Post noticed that Israel was not one of the choices on the menu. “Palestine” – which is not a country – was listed, but Israel – which is a country – was not.

Following the paper’s inquiry to the Fox Broadcasting Network, the website was changed. However, instead of adding Israel, the list disappeared altogether. Rather than include Israel on a list of countries which exist and which have sports teams, Fox Network’s forced contortion was to no longer list any country. That’s how much Qatar cannot tolerate even the listing of the name of the Jewish State.

Now the games are listed simply according to Greenwich Mean Time, thereby inconveniencing everybody.

Foreign Minister spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon explained to the Jerusalem Post why the issue matters so much.

This issue is not as trivial as it might seem at first, Nahshon said. “We are engaged in a long fight against people, organizations and interests who want to delegitimize Israel,” he said.

“Each small step adds up to a very large picture, and we have to be vigilant,” he said. “No fight is too small, because small steps against Israel have an incremental effect and leave the impression that there is something wrong and illegitimate with us.”

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com
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