Doug Klein

Zionist’s Guide to the World Cup–Day 298

Four-and-a-half years ago, the Zionist’s Guide to the World Cup (ZGWC) wrote the following in its final blog for the 2018 World Cup:

“The 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar. Most likely, further indignities await the Zionist fan. Unless, of course — miracle of miracles — Israel qualifies for that World Cup. If so, then the next World Cup will surely herald glories abounding.”

Well, it was a thoroughly exciting World Cup, if one judges matters solely by what happened on the pitch.  Unfortunately, for the ZGWC, the critical matters are those which do not relate solely to what occurs in the games.  The critical matters for the ZGWC involve this imperfect world where the only Jewish country is held to different and less favorable standards than the rest of the world and where the course of Jewish history is beset with oppression and atrocities.  Further, beyond the obvious parochial concerns of the ZGWC, there are the larger issues of Qatari bribery, hypocrisy, and exploitation and the sporting and political world’s acquiescence thereto.

Judged by this standard, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar turned out to be, as expected, the situs of further indignities.

Yes, Israelis were allowed into Qatar (after being duly advised not to call attention to themselves) .  Yes, there was a temporary Israeli diplomatic presence in the country.  The games were conducted in relative good order, without obvious disruptions and inefficiencies.  The competition delivered moments of unrivaled sporting glory.  For a brief instant, the world appeared united in its appreciation of the footballing skills of the Argentines and the French.

Notwithstanding all of the foregoing, the Qatar World Cup remains a moral travesty.  It is a testament to the triumph of bribery and cynicism.  During the course of yesterday’s final, no one spent much time pondering the human costs of this competition.  The thousands of foreign workers who died building the infrastructure for the matches are an inconvenient fact, a footnote to the footballing magnificence of Leonel Messi and his ilk.  Qatar achieved this propaganda and public relations feat through the exercise of the worst impulses of human nature, and the polite world objected at times when compelled to do so, but otherwise it marched along in step and in tune with this authoritarian floor show.

As a civilization, we have been here before.

In farewell, thank you for reading.  But take heart, Dear Reader(s)–the ZGWC will be here again to observe about the 2026 World Cup.  Happy trails.

About the Author
Doug Klein is an attorney in Chicago and the wrestling coach at Ida Crown Jewish Academy.
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