Israelis and Australian Zionists target Palestinian footballers and officials

Israelis and Australian Zionists target Palestinian footballers and officials


On Monday 7 January 2019 the Palestinian FA’s Vice President for International Affairs, Ms Susan Shalabi, was returning to Palestine after the first game in the Asian Cup tournament when the Israeli authorities arrested her at the Allenby bridge crossing from Jordan.  Her phone was withheld for examination.  No reason was given for Ms Shalabi’s arrest and once bail had been paid she was released.  This incident forms part of the series of detentions, arrests and denial of travel to footballers, staff and officials that we have noted previously

It seems now that the Israelis are stepping up their harassment of Palestinian footballers and officials both at the border and also through proposals to FIFA’s Disciplinary and Ethics committees.  In the latter cases we believe that an Israeli-Argentinean settler is the originator of the harassment.  And they now appear to be active in Australia through surrogates in the Jewish community – see below.


On 9 January 2019 the Australian Jewish Association (AJA) made the rather pathetic demand that the Football Federation Australia (FFA) take immediate action to boycott Friday’s Asian Cup group match against Palestine.  It accused the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) of using football as a political tool by admitting Palestine as a member, and even placed the country’s name in inverted commas.

Our campaign has commented on this outrageous intervention, rejecting the intended suppression of Palestinian national culture and the evident racism fuelling it. The AJA should know better

The AJA statement included several tropes and accusations, for example that the AFC’s expulsion of Israel in 1974 could be “characterised as antisemitic”. It also labelled Hamas “a proscribed terrorist organisation” and claimed that “the Palestinian Authority… incites and rewards the murder of Jews in Israel”. RCIR rejects this lurid description of Palestine’s civil authorities, neither do we accept that the national football team is party to their actual shortcomings. It should also be clear that Israel’s ejection from the AFC was the direct consequence of its conquest and illegal settlement of Arab land.”

A Haaretz article has described the AJA as “a newly formed conservative group”.  We are confident that their extreme views do not reflect those of most Australian Jews, and will not influence the outcome of tomorrow’s fixture.

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