Lina TV (Algeria) aired a debate about Algerian participation in international sporting events with Israelis on January 22, 2021. Algerian journalist Hassan Moali said that if Algeria were to face Israel in the Qatar World Cup in 2022, the Algerian national team should play against Israel. He added that while he does not support "sports normalization" with Israel, he does believe that athletes should not boycott Israeli athletes and they should respect international sports treaties. Moali added that participation in sporting events with Israelis should not make much of a difference, since Algeria and Israel are both members of various international organizations such as the Union for the Mediterranean. He said: "Sports and politics should be separated."
Algeria-based Egyptian journalist and TV host Hamdy Shagie said that all Algerians despise Israel, and what Israel wants most is to gain normalization with Arab countries in the fields of arts and sports, however, even in Egypt, which has a peace agreement with Israel, there is no normalization in these fields. He added that when you support playing against an Israeli sports team, you must keep in mind that they are Zionists, and when you support Zionists, every bit of support you give them is invested in killing women, children and the elderly in Gaza.
The crowd applauded and cheered him on. Algerian journalist and researcher Mahdi Berrached said that if athletic meets with Israel are nothing more than sporting events, then how could the attack against the Israeli delegation to the 1972 Olympics, in which Algerian Mohammed Boudia played a role in planning, be justified?
Hassan Moali: "Imagine that in 2022, Algeria and Israel are in the semi-finals of the World Cup. Should we play against Israel or not?"
Panelist: "We Should not."
Moali: "I am asking you."
Panelist: "We should not play against it."
Moali: "I would play against Israel because I want to win the World Cup."
Panelist: "As Algerians, we should not play against Israel."
Hassan Moali: "Are you sick or what? You are sick."
Moali: "Algeria vs. Israel in the World Cup finals in Qatar – would you play against Israel or not?"
Panelist: "We would not play against it."
Moali: "I would. We are different."
Moderator: "You do not object to 'sports normalization' with Israel?"
Moali: "I would not call it 'sports normalization'...
Moderator: Let me finish. You will have plenty of time to respond."
Moali: "Rushdi, I would not call it 'sports normalization.' I see it as populism, and I don't want to get into this populism. I say what I think. I don't do it to increase my followers on Instagram or Facebook, or to make people happy on TV. I don't care about these things. What I want to say is that sports are codified by the Olympic Charter, and Algeria has signed the Olympic Charter.
"Let's take regional political forums, for example. There is the Union for the Mediterranean. Israeli and Algerian cabinet members participate in these meetings – the Israeli Defense Minister and his Algerian counterpart – and it is perfectly normal. It does not mean that we cooperate with him. It is the same thing in sports."
Moderator: "There were some cases in the history of Algerian sports, that Algerian athletes withdrew from competitions because their opponents were Jewish."
Moali: "If I was an official in the fields of sports, if I was the Minister of Youth and Sports, I would have expelled these athletes. It is not out of love for Israel, but out of respect for international sports treaties. Sports and politics should be separated. I support Palestine. I don't think I even need to say this... But sport is a different matter."
Hamdy Shagie: "I don't like using the terms 'Israeli' or even 'Israel.' It should be called the 'occupying Zionist entity.' This is my first point. My second point is that no one can deny that all of the Algerian people, in their nature, despise [Israel]. [Algeria] is the only Arab country that can take pride in the fact that it does not have an embassy of the Zionist entity.
"Not long ago, there was the story of Hicham Boudaoui who agreed [to play in Israel] with the French OGC Nice Soccer Club... The Algerians ate him alive! There is a difference, Hassan, between the Zionist entity... [Israel's] highest goal is normalization in the fields of sports, arts, and commerce, with the Arab countries, and with the Arab people, in particular. They know that normalization with the Arab people will be achieved through sports, culture, and art. Even in Egypt, which signed a peace agreement with the Zionist entity, you will not find normalization with the Zionists in the fields of art and sports."
Audience member: "No way!"
Shagie: "Just a second, let me finish. There is a difference... don't tell me 'Israeli'... Just a second, let me finish."
Audience member: "Egypt is not a good example of this."
Shagie: "I am talking about normalization... Just a second, let me tell you something about normalization. Let me say one thing that will summarize the whole discussion. When you say that it doesn't bother you [to play against] an Israeli team, [bear in mind] that this is a Zionist team. If you support [the Zionists] in the fields of sports, culture, or economy... Every bit of support you give them, whether moral or material, is invested in the killing of our brothers – women, children, and elderly people – in Gaza."
Mahdi Berrached: "I would like to remind Hassan of something from the past. There was an Algerian fighter and mujahid who became a victim of the Zionist entity after they blew up his car..."
Panelist: "[Mohammed] Boudia."
Berrached: "Boudia. This Boudia was one of the masterminds if the kidnapping of the Israeli delegation to the Olympic games [in Munich, 1972]. If this is all about sports... If we consider the Olympic games as a sporting event and nothing more, we would have to say to Ahmed Boudia [sic], may Allah have mercy upon him, he should never have planned these things. And we cannot say that."