Archive for the Sports Boycott Category

Pro-Palestine activists to protest at Ireland v Israel women’s football game in Bray

Posted in International BDS Actions, Sports Boycott on August 20, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Press Release, Thursday 19th August, 1pm

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) are to stage a demonstration on Wednesday August 25th in Bray, as the Irish Women’s soccer team play Israel in a FIFA World Cup Qualifier at the Carlisle Grounds (home of Bray Wanderers FC).

In line with the wishes of Palestinian civil society, the protest will call for a sporting boycott of Israel due to the racist and apartheid nature of the Israeli state. The in support of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) who have confirmed this match falls under their Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) guidelines.

The protest will take place at two locations. It will begin at 5.30PM outside the Bray Royal Hotel where the Israeli Embassy have arranged a pre-match dinner from 6PM. Following this, the protest will move to the Carlisle Grounds and will take place outside the stadium from 7PM, with the game kicking off at 7.30PM. The protest will make no attempt to interrupt the game.

Last month, the IPSC held a similar protest outside Tallaght Stadium as Shamrock Rovers hosted Israeli team Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv FC in a Europa League Qualifier. As on that occasion, the theme of the protest in Bray will be ‘Love Football, Hate Apartheid’. Banners bearing that slogan as well as ‘Boycott Israeli Apartheid’ and ‘Unity Against Occupation’ will be on display at the protests alongside Palestinian flags.

IPSC National Chairperson Freda Hughes said: “Israel is a racist apartheid state with a human rights record worse than that of Apartheid South Africa. It continues to defy United Nations Security Council Resolutions and breaches International law on a daily basis. It is long past time that Israel was shown that there is a heavy price to pay for its human rights abuses, war crimes and continued denial of freedom to the Palestinian people.”

Ms Hughes added: “While some may suggest that sports and politics shouldn’t mix, we believe there is no place in sport for racism or teams who act as ambassadors for racist or apartheid states.”

Ms Hughes continued: “Attempts by the Palestinian national soccer team to participate in International competitions are consistently hampered by Israel. Travel restrictions including refusing players exit visas as well as a complete ban on travel between the West Bank and Gaza makes training virtually impossible and has led to cancelled internationals. In 2006, Israel bombed their stadium in Gaza and three footballers were murdered during their month long attack on the strip last year.”

Ms Hughes concluded: “The IPSC are urging people to join the protests, to take a stand against Israeli apartheid and to show their solidarity with the people of Palestine. We are also urging Irish fans not to travel to Israel for the second leg of this tie. Similar to the International boycott of the Apartheid South African regime, Israel must be boycotted completely, including all sporting events such as this upcoming game. The Boycott helped end South African apartheid. It can be used again to help end Israeli apartheid and secure freedom for Palestine.”

Local Sinn Fein councillor John Brady, who will take part in the protest, said: “My party colleague Cllr Rossa Murray and I were shocked to receive official invitations to attend a pre-match function from the Embassy of the rogue state of Israel. Following the attack on the Gaza aid flotilla in May, we tabled a motion on Bray Town Council condemning the attack and calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador. We intend to deliver that message directly to the Ambassador at the pre-match reception in Bray. We will be dressed in the Palestinian football jerseys to highlight the hypocrisy of Israel taking part in international football but denying Palestinians these same rights.”

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Sports Illustrated assumes it’s a “Muslim” thing to boycott Israeli teams

Posted in Sports Boycott on August 20, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Sports Illustrated has found a new role in American mainstream media. No more sports analysis, no more demeaning swimsuit competitions, and no more college football predictions. Instead, they’ve decided to become a foreign policy website. And an ignorant one at that.

Today was their first attempt at providing FOX News-like political commentary:

Two more athletes became political victims at the Games when Mohammad Soleimani, an Iranian tae kwon do athlete pulled out of his gold-medal bout in the 48-kilogram class against Gili Haimovitz from Israel, claiming a leg injury. Athletes from Iran and some other Muslim countries often withdraw from competitions against Israeli athletes because they do not recognize Israel as a country. Rather than stand on an awards podium a step below Israel during the medal ceremony, Soleimani also claimed he was too sick to attend the ceremony in person. The great irony: The medals were presented by Alex Gilady, an IOC member from Israel who was actually born in Iran.
Political victims at Youth Olympics; more Olympic notes, Brian Cazeneuve

Dear Mr Cazeneuve, I’m sure you’re an expert political scientist and I’m sure that’s why you work for a sports magazine, but I’ll tell you one thing: It goes well beyond whether or not an athlete recognizes Israel as a country. It involves whether or not Israel recognizes non-Israelis as people worthy of human rights, self-autonomy, equality, and life.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to May 30, 2010, the day Israeli commandos stormed a civilian passenger aid boat en route to the Gaza Strip and left nine dead bodies in their wake. In the ensuing public outrage, Sweden and Turkey attempted to withdraw from upcoming football matches against Israel. It is important to note that Sweden is not a “Muslim countr[y]“, and just like Turkey, their respective governments actually do recognize Israel as a country. So what exactly prompted these two nations to be among the many that have boycotted or protested Israel on the playing field?

Like all human beings, we deplore violence and are shocked at what we saw.
Swedish Football Association President Lars-Ake Lagrell

Of course, there might exist a broad range of small-scale factors that encourage people to pull out of sporting events with Israel. But like Lagrell said, the driving force is Israel’s disregard for human life as witnessed during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, the attack on the Mavi Marmara, and the overall occupation of Palestine. It is an issue of humanity more than anything else.

Something that Sports Illustrated doesn’t mention is that Israeli sports teams face more pressure from crowds and spectators than from politically-motivated match cancellations. In June, Turkish spectators and civilians demonstrated against Israel’s national volleyball team as it faced Serbia in Ankara. A year and a half before that, Spanish fans rose from their seats and chanted in protest of Israeli policy during a basketball match between Barcelona and Maccabi Tel Aviv. (The YouTube video can be found below; I highly recommend watching it.) And in 2006, anti-war activists demonstrated at a football match in England between Liverpool and Maccabi Haifa.

But the protests aren’t only limited to fans. In 2009, professional footballer Freddy Kanoute scored a goal and revealed his support for Palestine with a shirt he wore underneath his jersey. BBC interpreted the move “as a response to Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza that have killed nearly 700 people [so far.]” Kanoute’s display of humanity, along with the countless worldwide protests, does not carry the label of “Islam” and has nothing to do with whether or not Israel is a recognized country. Once again, it’s an issue of humanity more than anything else.

There are many who argue that Israeli sports teams shouldn’t suffer the consequences of global outrage against Israeli policy. I’m of the opinion that it’s virtually impossible to separate politics from sports, especially when teams represent entire countries. The blue and white flag emblazoned on team jerseys is the very same flag that hangs from the backs of Israeli tanks and waves from the demolished rooftops of homes once belonging to Palestinian families. It all represents one entity and its policies, and if someone is critical of the flags on the tanks, the same person must be critical of the flags in the locker-rooms. The Nation‘s Dave Zirin provides a better response:

Should Israeli sport actually be a safe space from how its government conducts itself? In my mind, the answer is a simple one: hell no. [Regarding the Flotilla attack] Israel committed an act of state terror on an aid ship in international waters whose passengers included an 85-year-old holocaust survivor, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and hundreds of activists committed to delivering the most basic kinds of food and medicine to the Gaza Strip. It’s actually dangerous, in such a situation, to just “shut up and play” as if there is nothing to see behind the royal blue curtain.
Are Teams Right to Refuse to Play Israel?, Dave Zirin

I’m not sure why Sports Illustrated would attempt such an ignorant analysis of petty politics. Maybe they’re giving into growing Islamophobia and have decided to pin the blame on the Muslims. Maybe they think that boycotting Israeli teams is an integral part of Islam. Maybe. Or maybe they were too busy analyzing the speed of a curveball to even think twice about acknowledging why Israel is demonstrated against in almost every country in the world.

This is not a Muslim issue nor is it an Arab issue, and it definitely isn’t an Iranian issue. This is an issue concerning the safety and wellbeing of entire groups of people. So long as Palestinians are oppressed, the world will protest Israeli policy – even if that means bringing Palestinian flags to a tae kwan do match or simply not showing up at all.

Sami Kishawi

Ban Israel from the London 2012 Olympics

Posted in International BDS Actions, Sports Boycott on August 1, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Please sign the petition now:

http://www.petitiononline.com/12101982/petition.html

To: International Olympics Committee

Dear International Olympics Committee (IOC)

We, the undersigned citizens of the world, call on the international Olympics
Committee to rescind Israel’s participation in the London 2012 Olympics.

Israel’s attack on a humanitarian aid fleet on Monday 31 May 2010, its murder
of 9 human rights activists in international waters, and wounding many more,
demonstrate that Israel rejects the structural tenets of our shared humanity,
manifested in a global moral consensus and international law.

Israel was established on the ruins of another country, Palestine. In 1948 more
than half the population of Palestine were uprooted from their cities and
villages, 400 of which were completely destroyed. The state of Israel has never
allowed Palestinian refugees to return and today their number has reached 7
million, many of whom are still stateless, living in refugee camps in Palestine
and other Arab countries

Since its establishment the state of Israel has consistently violated
international law. To date, it has defied 246 UN Security Council Resolutions.
As a direct consequence, seven million Palestinians are excluded from the right
to live on land internationally acknowledged to be theirs; and increasingly,
they are being excluded from their right to any future at all as a nation. The
4 million Palestinians in the occupied territories have endured over 40 years
of brutal occupation and denied even the most basic Human rights. The 1.4
million who remain in Israel are second class citizens.

The daily brutality of the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank continues;
Palestinian land continues to be stolen, houses demolished and crops destroyed.
For years now the state of Israel has been carrying out a slow genocide in the
Gaza Strip, maintaining a tight blockade over its inhabitants and repeated
bombing raids all of which are contrary to International Laws which prohibit
collective punishment.

The Israeli military used white phosphorus munitions in the 2008-2009 Gaza war.
The IDF acknowledged it’s use after the war ended.

Several reports from human right groups during the war indicated that white
phosphorus shells were being used by Israel in violation of international law.
Human Rights Watch said shells exploded over populated civilian areas,
including a crowded refugee camp, a UN compound where food was stored, and a
United Nations school where civilians were seeking refuge.

Human Rights Watch said its experts in the region had witnessed the use of
white phosphorus. Kenneth Roth, the organisation’s executive director, added:
“This is a chemical compound that burns structures and burns people. It should
not be used in populated areas.”

Amnesty International said a fact-finding team found “indisputable evidence of
the widespread use of white phosphorus” in crowded residential areas of Gaza
City and elsewhere in the territory. Donatella Rovera, the head of an Amnesty
fact-finding mission to southern Israel and Gaza, said: “Israeli forces used
white phosphorus and other weapons supplied by the USA to carry out serious
violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes.”

“Israel’s policy on settlements is not only unlawful, it also impacts severely
on the human rights of Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,
whose lives and livelihoods have been devastated by the constructions taking
place on occupied Palestinian land,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty
International’s Middle East and North Africa director.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other prominent South Africans have likened the
situation of the Palestinians to apartheid for which South Africa were banned
from international sporting events including the Olympic Games.

The challenge of apartheid was fought with the non-violent international
response of a campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions. Today Palestinian
artists, trade unionists, teachers, writers, film-makers and non-governmental
organisations have called for a comparable boycott of Israel, as offering
another path to a just peace, saying, “ At a time when the international
movement to isolate Israel is gaining ground in response to the escalation of
Israel’s violently colonial and racist policies, we respectfully urge
conscientious organisations, sportsmen, academics, artists and intellectuals
from around the world, including those who visit [or host Israeli’s from] the
occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), to refrain from visiting [or hosting]
Israel to participate in any event or encounter that is not explicitly
dedicated to ending Israel’s illegal occupation and other forms of oppression.
Regardless of intentions, such visits only contribute to the prolongation of
injustice by normalizing and thereby legitimizing it, and inadvertently support
Israel’s efforts to appear as a “normal” participant in the “civilized” world
of sport, science, scholarship and art while at the same time practising a
pernicious form of apartheid against Palestinians.” This call has been
endorsed by some brave Israeli dissidents and many prominent international
figures.

Boycott is a tactic which allows people, as distinct from their elected
governments, to apply pressure on those wielding power in an unjust way. It is
directed not against people but against oppressive and unjust policies and
regimes in order to bring about change. I would also remind you that Principle
2 of the Olympic Charter declares the principles of Olympism to “place sport
at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a
peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity”. Also
principle 5 which states “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country
or a person on grounds of race, religion,

politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic
Movement.” Clearly the acts of genocide against Palestinians and the forcing
out by the illegal expansion of the settlements is a violation of this
principle. By your own words in Principle 6 “Belonging to the Olympic Movement
requires compliance with the Olympic Charter and recognition by the IOC.” As
Israel are not compliant how can they then participate under the current
conditions that Palestinians are faced with? Particularly considering that “The
name of an NOC must reflect the territorial extent and tradition of its
country…” However many Israelis are living on disputed land and therefore
Israeli athletes cannot be considered to be from the legitimate territorial
extent of their country.

Contrary to Olympic Charter bye-laws stating “No kind of demonstration or
political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites,
venues or other areas” you will; by allowing Israel to participate and not
taking a stand against their racist policies; be implicitly supporting war
crimes, ethnic cleansing, dispossession, and continued oppression of the
Palestinian people, a people seeking to end the silence of the international
community and achieve a just peace. The Israeli politicians and citizens see
every visit to and from Israel as an act of support for their policies. Every
cancellation is a reminder to them that all is not well and that there will be
a price for the ongoing oppression and the indifference for rights of
Palestinians.

If you require more information about the situation in Israel and the Occupied
Territories, organisations such as Amnesty International, the World Health
Organisation and the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem have
published detailed reports.

We feel sure that, in the light of the information available, you would not
wish to lend support – however indirect and implicit – to Israel’s
policies, by allowing them to attend and participate in such a high profile
event that aims to be “a force for good”.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Ban Israel from the London 2012 Olympics

Posted in Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Sports Boycott, Take Action on July 4, 2010 by Marcy Newman

View Current Signatures – Sign the Petition

To: International Olympics Committee

Dear International Olympics Committee (IOC)

We, the undersigned citizens of the world, call on the international Olympics Committee to rescind Israel’s participation in the London 2012 Olympics.

Israel’s attack on a humanitarian aid fleet on Monday 31 May 2010, its murder of 9 human rights activists in international waters, and wounding many more, demonstrate that Israel rejects the structural tenets of our shared humanity, manifested in a global moral consensus and international law.

Israel was established on the ruins of another country, Palestine. In 1948 more than half the population of Palestine were uprooted from their cities and villages, 400 of which were completely destroyed. The state of Israel has never allowed Palestinian refugees to return and today their number has reached 7 million, many of whom are still stateless, living in refugee camps in Palestine and other Arab countries

Since its establishment the state of Israel has consistently violated international law. To date, it has defied 246 UN Security Council Resolutions. As a direct consequence, seven million Palestinians are excluded from the right to live on land internationally acknowledged to be theirs; and increasingly, they are being excluded from their right to any future at all as a nation. The 4 million Palestinians in the occupied territories have endured over 40 years of brutal occupation and denied even the most basic Human rights. The 1.4 million who remain in Israel are second class citizens.

The daily brutality of the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank continues; Palestinian land continues to be stolen, houses demolished and crops destroyed. For years now the state of Israel has been carrying out a slow genocide in the Gaza Strip, maintaining a tight blockade over its inhabitants and repeated bombing raids all of which are contrary to International Laws which prohibit collective punishment.

The Israeli military used white phosphorus munitions in the 2008-2009 Gaza war. The IDF acknowledged it’s use after the war ended.

Several reports from human right groups during the war indicated that white phosphorus shells were being used by Israel in violation of international law. Human Rights Watch said shells exploded over populated civilian areas, including a crowded refugee camp, a UN compound where food was stored, and a United Nations school where civilians were seeking refuge.

Human Rights Watch said its experts in the region had witnessed the use of white phosphorus. Kenneth Roth, the organisation’s executive director, added: “This is a chemical compound that burns structures and burns people. It should not be used in populated areas.”

Amnesty International said a fact-finding team found “indisputable evidence of the widespread use of white phosphorus” in crowded residential areas of Gaza City and elsewhere in the territory. Donatella Rovera, the head of an Amnesty fact-finding mission to southern Israel and Gaza, said: “Israeli forces used white phosphorus and other weapons supplied by the USA to carry out serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes.”

“Israel’s policy on settlements is not only unlawful, it also impacts severely on the human rights of Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, whose lives and livelihoods have been devastated by the constructions taking place on occupied Palestinian land,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa director.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other prominent South Africans have likened the situation of the Palestinians to apartheid for which South Africa were banned from international sporting events including the Olympic Games.

The challenge of apartheid was fought with the non-violent international response of a campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions. Today Palestinian artists, trade unionists, teachers, writers, film-makers and non-governmental organisations have called for a comparable boycott of Israel, as offering another path to a just peace, saying, “ At a time when the international movement to isolate Israel is gaining ground in response to the escalation of Israel’s violently colonial and racist policies, we respectfully urge conscientious organisations, sportsmen, academics, artists and intellectuals from around the world, including those who visit [or host Israeli’s from] the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT), to refrain from visiting [or hosting] Israel to participate in any event or encounter that is not explicitly dedicated to ending Israel’s illegal occupation and other forms of oppression. Regardless of intentions, such visits only contribute to the prolongation of injustice by normalizing and thereby legitimizing it, and inadvertently support Israel’s efforts to appear as a “normal” participant in the “civilized” world of sport, science, scholarship and art while at the same time practising a pernicious form of apartheid against Palestinians.” This call has been endorsed by some brave Israeli dissidents and many prominent international figures.

Boycott is a tactic which allows people, as distinct from their elected governments, to apply pressure on those wielding power in an unjust way. It is directed not against people but against oppressive and unjust policies and regimes in order to bring about change. I would also remind you that Principle 2 of the Olympic Charter declares the principles of Olympism to “place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity”. Also principle 5 which states “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion,
politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.” Clearly the acts of genocide against Palestinians and the forcing out by the illegal expansion of the settlements is a violation of this principle. By your own words in Principle 6 “Belonging to the Olympic Movement requires compliance with the Olympic Charter and recognition by the IOC.” As Israel are not compliant how can they then participate under the current conditions that Palestinians are faced with? Particularly considering that “The name of an NOC must reflect the territorial extent and tradition of its country…” However many Israelis are living on disputed land and therefore Israeli athletes cannot be considered to be from the legitimate territorial extent of their country.

Contrary to Olympic Charter bye-laws stating “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas” you will; by allowing Israel to participate and not taking a stand against their racist policies; be implicitly supporting war crimes, ethnic cleansing, dispossession, and continued oppression of the Palestinian people, a people seeking to end the silence of the international community and achieve a just peace. The Israeli politicians and citizens see every visit to and from Israel as an act of support for their policies. Every cancellation is a reminder to them that all is not well and that there will be a price for the ongoing oppression and the indifference for rights of Palestinians.

If you require more information about the situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories, organisations such as Amnesty International, the World Health Organisation and the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem have published detailed reports.

We feel sure that, in the light of the information available, you would not wish to lend support – however indirect and implicit – to Israel’s policies, by allowing them to attend and participate in such a high profile event that aims to be “a force for good”.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Are Teams Right to Refuse to Play Israel?

Posted in Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Sports Boycott on June 4, 2010 by Marcy Newman

Dave Zirin
June 2, 2010

“[We are] saddened by the mixture of politics and sports.” So said a spokesperson for the Israeli Football Association in response to Monday’s news that the Turkish U-19 (under 19) soccer team canceled its match in Israel. Turkey’s team made the move following the Israeli Navy’s attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla that left at least 10 dead and scores injured. Then on Tuesday, the Swedish Football Association announced that it would formally request European soccer’s governing body to cancel Sweden’s U-21 game in Israel later this week.

The SFA said that they felt morally compelled to make the move following the flotilla attack and “the harsh responses to those events in Sweden and around the world.” SFA President Lars-Ake Lagrell said, “Like all human beings, we deplore violence and are shocked at what we saw…It’s not pleasant to play in Israel at this juncture.” On Wednesday it appeared that the game would in fact go forward as planned, with Lagrell saying, “Since the United Nations has not decided on any sanctions against Israel we are obliged to go ahead with the match under [European football association] rules.”

This certainly won’t be the last time we hear about countries, teams, or players holding up the flotilla killings as reason to ostracize Israel in the realm of international sport. The question, to pick up the ball from the Israeli Football Association, is whether it should “sadden” us to see politics and sports so brazenly intertwined? Should Israeli sport actually be a safe space from how its government conducts itself? In my mind, the answer is a simple one: hell no. Israel committed an act of state terror on an aid ship in international waters whose passengers included an 85-year-old holocaust survivor, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and hundreds of activists committed to delivering the most basic kinds of food and medicine to the Gaza Strip. It’s actually dangerous, in such a situation, to just “shut up and play” as if there is nothing to see behind the royal blue curtain.

International sport, to awkwardly paraphrase Carl von Clausewitz, is politics by other means. It’s used explicitly by all nations as a tool to demonstrate diplomatic goodwill. But in the context of such a visceral crime, international diplomacy morphs into little more than international propaganda and sporting Stratego. If a team refuses to play Israel because they don’t want to be party to the public relations objectives of a state engorged with violence, then that is nothing to be “saddened” about.

But this raises another question: if one supports the boycotting of Israeli teams, then where do we draw the line? Would we praise teams refusing to play the United States because of the civilian death tolls in Afghanistan and Iraq? What about rejecting China as an opponent because of their labor practices or treatment of the people of Tibet? Should teams refuse to play any countries directly involved in what they perceive as injustice? Once again, I will say hell yes. These particular games that pit country against country – whether in the Olympics, the World Cup or other avenues of international competition – are exercises in what George Orwell famously called “war minus the shooting.” In his essay, titled The Sporting Spirit, Orwell wrote, ”I am always amazed when I hear people saying that sport creates goodwill between the nations, and that if only the common peoples of the world could meet one another at football or cricket, they would have no inclination to meet on the battlefield. Even if one didn’t know from concrete examples (the 1936 Olympic Games, for instance) that international sporting contests lead to orgies of hatred, one could deduce it from general principles.”

This quote still holds the ring of truth but needs to be updated for the 21st century. Sports are still used at the service of nationalism. But in our globalized world of savage inequalities and dwindling resources, they are also used to present the poisonous relations between countries as somehow normal and even harmonious. And if it is business as usual between nations on the field of play, then surely everything must be A-OK when our heroes shower off the sweat and the cheering throngs wander home. But things are, as Marcellus Wallace said, “pretty f–king far from ok.” If a team wants to stand up and say “hell no” to business-as-usual in international sport, we shouldn’t ask why they are doing it. We should ask why more teams don’t.

Where’s BDS? Israeli firms to secure World Cup

Posted in Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Sports Boycott, Take Action on February 27, 2010 by Marcy Newman

by Bruce Wolman on February 25, 2010

For readers active in the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Movement, here is an obvious target that has been overlooked. According to today’s Jerusalem Post,

“Over 30 Israeli companies are set to help South Africa secure this summer’s Soccer World Cup, via hi-tech security products ranging from rocket-proof shields to cameras that can climb up poles and broadcast panoramic pictures to control shelters.

Israeli companies are already playing a huge role in South Africa,” Marc Kahlberg, managing director of M.K. International Security Consulting, which represents several of the companies, said on Wednesday.

“They will help secure the stadiums, airport and parking lots, and their products will be used by private security firms and government in South Africa…”

Evidently, this fruitful relationship between the country that ended apartheid and the country accused by its own leaders of heading towards apartheid has been budding for several years,

“Kahlberg said the fruitful trade was underpinned by a relationship that began in 2007 between his own company; former South African ambassador to Israel Fumi Gjabi, a former general in the South African Defense Force; and Moshe Leder, head of Global Business Development for the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute, as well as Israel’s Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry.”

Maybe BDS can get Nelson Mandela and the Congress of South African Trade Unions to use their influence.

Vancouver 2010: The IOC, Israel, Canada, and Apartheid

Posted in Apartheid, Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions, Sports Boycott, Why Boycott?! on February 20, 2010 by Marcy Newman

by Kim Petersen / February 19th, 2010

The Winter Olympics is taking place in the unceded territory of the Skwxwú7mesh, Xwméthkwyiem and Tsleil-Waututh peoples – what has been colonially designated Vancouver – and the unceded territory of the St’at’imc people – Whistler.

Israel has sent an ice dancing pair to the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Of Vancouver, the Israeli Consul-General, Amir Gissin, gushed, “We find a Zionist, warm, loving community for whom Israel is a second home.”1

Vancouver a Zionist community? Zionism warm? Undoubtedly Zionism is molten warm when you happen to be a Palestinian who has had white phosphorus dropped on him by the warm Zionists of the Israeli military.

Implicit in the straightforward declaration of Zionism is racism and separation. The ineluctable corrupting force of Zionism leads to apartheid.

Zionist communities in Canada? Why not? Canada is an apartheid country just as Israel is. The First Nations have been pushed onto small reserves. Canada is based on the dispossession of the Indigenous population as is Israel. The European-cum Canadians colonialists displaced the spirituality and culture of the Indigenous peoples as did the European Jews-cum Israelis to the indigenous Palestinians. The Original Peoples in Canada are impoverished as are the Palestinians under Israeli oppression. The racist residue of apartheid politics and practices are clear in both Canada and Israel.

The supremacist attitudes held by many Canadians to the Original Peoples were verbalized by Canadian Richard Pound, board member of the Vancouver Olympics and former vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Pound said, “We must not forget that 400 years ago, Canada was a land of savages, with scarcely 10,000 inhabitants of European descent…”2

Olympics and Apartheid

In 1964 the IOC banned South Africa from the Olympics for not renouncing apartheid. Apartheid state Rhodesia would also be banned from the Olympics in 1972. South Africa’s ban lasted until 1992. Yet somehow Israel has escaped IOC condemnation for its apartheid… as has Canada.

Danielle Gavon, an organizer with the Vancouver Jewish Community Centre, said that the Israeli athletes “feel that they represent Israel and the Jews to the outside world. It’s important to them that Israel and the Jews outside Israel support them.”1

Apartheid is clear from the comments. They emphasize that Israel is a Jewish state, oblivious to the fact that approximately a fifth of the population is Palestinian.

South Africans who lived under apartheid are unmistaken about Israeli apartheid. Archbishop Desmond Tutu stated, “I’ve been very distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us blacks in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about….”3 South African Trade Unions were certain about the apartheid in Israel, and they had a solution: sanctions and boycotts.4

Former US president Jimmy Carter spoke of witnessing an apartheid “even worse” than in South Africa.5

Many Jews recognize the prima facie apartheid.6

Even Israeli arch-Zionist Ehud Barak is speaking to the apartheid.7

So why isn’t Israel banned as an apartheid state by the IOC? Why is a de facto apartheid nation such as Canada “honored” as a host nation for the Olympics?

The Olympic sport of tennis offers a conjecture. One Israeli tennis player, Shahar Peer, has been plagued by anti-apartheid, anti-occupation protests at various tennis venues around the world. The Women’s Tennis Association and its former chief officer Larry Scott fought on behalf of Peer who was barred from competition last year in the UAE.8 This year Peer is playing in Dubai. Tennis.com reported, “It was also a triumph for the publicity machines of both Dubai and Doha, which have labored for years to show off the world’s top Western athletes… The UAE, as well as Qatar, had invested too much” in tennis and sport. In other words, money wins.9

1. Quoted in Hilary Leila Krieger, “Vancouver Jews give Israeli team standing ovation,” Jerusalem Post, 16 February 2010.
2. CTV.ca News Staff, “Pound Urged to Resign Over ‘Savages’ Comment,” CTV, 22 October 2008.
3. Desmond Tutu, “How can the victims of oppression oppress another people?,” Church Times, 26 April 2002.
4. Zwelinzima Vavi, “COSATU leader Zwelinzima Vavi: Sanction and boycott apartheid Israel!,” LabourNet UK, 14 January 2009.
5. Excerpt cited by Haaretz Service, “Jimmy Carter: Israel’s ‘apartheid’ policies worse than South Africa’s,” Haaretz, 11 December 2006.
6. Diverse voices oppose apartheid policies, Zionism, “An Open Letter from Jewish Youth in Canada,” The Dominion, 5 January 2009.
7. Rory McCarthy, “Barak: make peace with Palestinians or face apartheid,” Guardian, 3 February 2010.
8. See Kim Petersen, “When Sports Trump Human Rights: The Fundamental Principles of Tennis,” Dissident Voice, 17 February 2009.
9. Steve Tignor, “Cinderella Goes to Dubai,” Tennis.com, 17 February 2010.

Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at: kim[at]dissidentvoice.org.

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