Israeli swimmers participating in the FINA Swimming World Cup in Doha, Qatar this week were publicly presented as nation-less competitors both by the announcer and in the live television broadcast.
When the Israelis were announced, they were labeled as coming from the nation of "ISR." A similar snubbing occurred when the Israelis participated in the 2010 FINA event in Dubai.
During the actual competition, the live television broadcast displayed each competing swimmer's name next to a graphic of his or her national flag. For all of the Israelis, that graphic was whited out.
One of the Israeli swimmers, Gal Nevo, commented on the situation on his Facebook page:
"The name Israel was not mentioned, throughout the competition we were presented as ISR swimmers, and the editors of the television broadcast were instructed to do everything in their power to remove us and our flag from the frame."
Only after one of the female Israeli competitors, Amit Ivry, won a silver medal did the announcer dare to use the dreaded word "Israel."
As ridiculous as it may sound, Nevo explained that just hearing the Arab organizers say "Israel" felt like a major breakthrough.
"It's hard to describe how something which seems almost ordinary everywhere else feels like a huge victory here," Nevo wrote.