Star Online reports a robust defence of boycott by the Malaysian BDS group when local opposition was raised to a government ban on Israeli participation in an international sailing competition. The text of Star’s report is as follows:
PETALING JAYA: A pro-Palestinian group expressed concern over an opposition politician’s remarks in support of two Israeli athletes who were denied visas to enter Malaysia for a sailing competition. Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Malaysia said there was a growing global movement against ethnic cleansing, racial apartheid and military occupation of Palestine by Israel. “Sports have not been spared by the Israeli authorities”.
“Palestinian footballers have been killed, stadiums bombed and players refused permission to travel to matches,” BDS Malaysia chairman Prof Mohd Nazari Ismail said in a statement in response to Perak DAP economic development bureau chief Chong Zhemin’s criticism of the government in denying the athletes visas to enter the country.
Israeli windsurfers, Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan, were to compete at the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) world youth championships in Langkawi. Chong later retracted his statement and expressed support for the Palestinian struggle against Israel’s Zionist regime. Perak DAP chief Nga Kor Ming has also issued a statement distancing the party from Chong’s remarks, saying that DAP stood firm in rejecting the violence against Palestinians.
Mohd Nazari said there was an active worldwide boycott against Israel in sports, citing the Union of European Football Associations’ (UEFA) decision to reject an Israeli bid to host games during the 2020 European Championships.
“World soccer superstars, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldo (Brazil), and Eric Cantona are active campaigners for boycotting Israel, calling it a racist state, which violates human rights.
“BDS campaign “Adidas: Don’t run with Israeli Apartheid” finally ended Adidas’ sponsorship of the Jerusalem marathon,” Mohd Nazari said, reiterating BDS’s call for all Malaysians to stand in solidarity with Palestine and boycott Israel until it complies with international laws.