#TrendingNews Blog Business Entertainment Environment Health Lifestyle News Analysis Opinion Science Sports Technology World News
World’s Eyes on Super Bowl LVIII Overshadow Israeli Invasion In Rafah

The Super Bowl LVIII shattered viewership records, drawing over 123.4 million eager spectators, exceeding the historic 1969 Moon Landing broadcast. As the San Francisco 49ers clashed with the Kansas City Chiefs, the nation was captivated by a spectacle that rivalled Hollywood's finest dramas. At centre stage, all eyes were on the fairytale-like romance between Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, a storyline with entertainment news channels that had gossip mongers salivating. And when Usher took to the stage for the halftime show, he ignited the stadium with a performance that eclipsed previous half-time shows, cementing this Super Bowl as a cultural phenomenon for the ages.



Simultaneously, across the globe, a stark contrast unfolded in Rafah within the densely populated Gaza Strip, where 1.5 million Palestinians now reside after fleeing Israeli bombardment. As the Super Bowl captivated the world's attention, a sobering reality played out in the shadows. Israeli forces announced an offensive in Rafah, signalling a new chapter in the ongoing conflict. Yet, amidst the roar of stadium cheers and the whispers of celebrity gossip, the plight of those caught in the crossfire was tragically drowned out, their struggles relegated to the sidelines of global consciousness.


How are the two events connected?


The simultaneous occurrence of these events on opposite sides of the globe starkly underscores the grim reality of conflict juxtaposed with widespread willful ignorance. It highlights the complexities and challenges of addressing pressing humanitarian crises.

More importantly, both events underscored the disparities in global attention. As the world revelled in the triumphs of sporting heroes and music legends, the struggles of those affected by conflict persisted. This highlights the need for empathy and the fragility of the human attention span. The stark dichotomy between the celebratory fervour of the Super Bowl and the sobering realities of conflict in Gaza serves as a poignant reminder of the complex interplay between entertainment and global affairs. 


While the Super Bowl is primarily an American phenomenon, it is impossible to deny the impact of American pop culture internationally. American movies, music and even sporting leagues and events play a significant role in the framework of global pop culture. Millions of Americans tuned in to watch the Super Bowl LVIII. They posted about it all over X (formerly known as Twitter) and Instagram, drowning the Palestinian plight under millions of memes and images of the pop culture spectacle. As a result, when users worldwide tuned in to their phones and apps, news from Palestine was a mere shadow behind the Super Bowl. 




The split in the global spotlight between the Super Bowl and ongoing Israeli aggression in Gaza epitomises a phenomenon referred to as sports washing. Sports washing refers to the strategic use of sports by various entities, including nations, individuals, corporations, or governments, to enhance or rehabilitate their tarnished reputations resulting from past wrongdoing or controversy.


It involves leveraging sporting events' positive associations and attention to divert public scrutiny away from negative actions or controversies, thus presenting a more favourable image.


The United States' role in Israeli military actions has garnered the government a considerable amount of criticism. President Joe Biden has even been given the name 'Genocide Joe'. The United States has consistently approved new aid and weapons shipments to Israel under the direction of Secretary of Defense Anthony Blinken. Joe Biden's poll ratings are lower than ever, especially after the United States' reaction to Israeli military aggression in Gaza. Dissatisfaction with Biden also represents a broader discontent with the Democratic Party. 


The Super Bowl was a perfect way to get the attention of American citizens off of the negative repute the government has right now. By creating a spectacle for the human mind to appreciate, they manipulated people into losing focus on what they were fighting for. It displayed the most significant part of American culture: music, sports and togetherness, inculcating the 'proud American' mindset into citizens. The 'proud' American would associate this feeling with the current government.


This does not mean that the American government is wholly forgiven by its citizens, but even the slowdown in the dissemination of information can significantly impact the lives of those in Gaza. If people are not aware of the circumstances in Palestine, how would the movement to end Israeli occupation in the region maintain its momentum?


Further expanding on the idea of sports washing, it is clear that Israel capitalised on this tactic as well. Even while Israel was not apologetic for its actions in the Gaza Strip, it can be assumed that it knew that declaring a ground invasion in normal circumstances would result in significant domestic and worldwide criticism. Thus, taking advantage of the Super Bowl's diversionary effect was a deliberate move to divert attention.


Israel has already lost the support of nations such as Spain, which has refused to stop funding the UNRWA; South Africa, which lodged a case against it in the ICJ for genocide or Ireland, which relentlessly campaigns to punish those responsible for the deaths of thousands of Palestinians. Moreover, there are massive movements against Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank. Israel needs to use any chance for positive publicity that comes their way. However, hiding their military operations behind the social media frenzy of their biggest ally's pop culture and sports phenomenon is a clear depiction of how Israel needs some deflection from their actions.


This displays that even Israel and the rest of the world can acknowledge that Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip are not justified and, thus, need to be coaxed away from the rest of the public to ensure that they do not see the atrocities committed.


By carefully scheduling military offensives to coincide with major sporting events like the Super Bowl, governments can take advantage of the public's infatuation with sports and the media frenzy surrounding an event to deflect criticism and attention. Thus, it can be said that the Israeli offensive in Rafah was timed to coincide with Super Bowl LVIII, indicating a deliberate attempt to divert attention from the conflict and maybe mitigate its effects on other nations. The Super Bowl's excitement and distraction served as a helpful smokescreen. Consequently, the underlying realities of violence and injustice drove the show, even when touchdowns and halftime shows shifted global attention.


Edited by: Vidhi Dujodwala


Image Sources: The Intercept, Teen Vogue, Al Jazeera

Share This Post On


Leave a comment

You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in