Letter: Don’t support racism against Palestinians

European Red Card Israeli Racism Campaign

PO Box BM PSA, London, WC1N 3KK

5 December 2012

Mr Michel Platini, President,

European Football Association,

Nyon,

Switzerland

Dear Mr Platini,

 

Don’t support racism against Palestinians 

You will have read the careful statement by Frederic Kanoute and about 60 other European footballers on 29 November 2012.  This strongly condemned the latest Israeli “stain on the world’s conscience”.  It unambiguously identified Israel’s hosting of the June 2013 UEFA U21 finals as an apparent reward for contravening sporting values.  Many readers deduced that UEFA must take corrective action.

Also on 29 November Roger Waters, on behalf of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, made a powerful address to the United Nations on the occasion of the annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.  He highlighted how successive Israeli governments have been guilty of international crimes in three main areas:

  • §  Apartheid.  Israel has institutionalised racism in its laws.  No European country has such laws. The UN itself has identified the system as Apartheid.
  • §  Ethnic Cleansing.  This peaked in 1948 when three quarters of a million Palestinians were displaced but has continued ever since, particularly after 1967 in the Jordan valley and currently in the Negev. . 
  • §  Collective Punishment.  Israeli authorities limit Palestinian access to water supplies, educational and health facilities, freedom of movement and kill civilians with impunity – as witnessed recently in Gaza.

This underlines clearly the need for UEFA to stop appearing to condone these crimes by holding a tournament in Israel.

You are obviously aware of how footballers have suffered their part of the Israeli discrimination and aggression.  Players have been killed and injured, imprisoned for years without trial, had their facilities destroyed, and domestic matches and internationals have been difficult or impossible to play.  As you must know, these constraints have continued even after your warning of September 2010.

These factors all emphasise the need to move the June 2013 UEFA U21 finals to a European country for the good name of European football.

Our campaign to move the U21 finals is fundamentally aimed at the Israeli government, which uses sport politically to improve its image, and not the Israeli Football Association.

Petitions across Europe to move these finals have gained several thousand signatures and we will present those to you as soon as is appropriate.

Yours sincerely,

Geoff Lee, Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

cc members of the UEFA Executive Committee.

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