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Red Card Israeli Racism – Fair Play for Palestine

Palestinians are oppressed by severe Israeli racism – apartheid according to the UN/ICC definitions. Within Israel, Palestinian citizens of Israel are subject to over 60 discriminatory laws. In the Occupied West Bank, Palestinians live under Military Law while Israeli settlers live under Civil Law. Gaza is effectively a prison, under military siege from land, air and sea. The majority of Jewish Israelis now support these contraventions of international law.

It is nigh on impossible for Palestinian football leagues to operate under these restrictions, let alone play freely in international competitions. 

Sporting protests played a very significant role in ending Apartheid in South Africa. Inspired by these protests, this Red Card Israeli Racism – Fair Play for Palestine (RCIR) campaign is calling for FIFA to suspend the Israeli FA until Israel observes international law and respects the human rights of Palestinians.  We feel that FIFA, with its strong anti-discrimination statute, should never tolerate the fact that one FIFA member (in this case Israel) prevents another FIFA member (Palestine) from playing to its full potential  

In the Occupied Territories, Palestinian players face a range of physical and logistical obstacles: arbitrary arrest, imprisonment without charge, tear gas and live ammunition, being crippled and even killed; their teams can be randomly prevented from travelling to league matches, competitions, and training; their stadiums have been destroyed, pitches damaged, and construction of facilities delayed for years. The two-leg Palestine Cup between the top Gazan and West Bank teams has been impeded every single year since it started in 2015.,

When the Palestinian FA mounts a challenge, the Israeli FA says its hands are tied since the Israeli authorities control life in the OPT. However, the Israeli FA is not an independent body but a pillar of the Israeli state. In particular it is also responsible for allowing clubs from six Israeli settlements to play in the Israeli football leagues – another clear infringement of a FIFA statute and international law.

And what is FIFA doing about these outrages?  In 2005, President Sepp Blatter set up a ‘Monitoring Committee’ under former ANC minister Tokyo Sexwale to look into them. The settlement club issue dominated the discussion. Sexwale’s report recognised their illegality and incompatibility with FIFA statutes. However, when Infantino took over the FIFA presidency in  February 2016 the matter was deemed ‘political’ and shelved. Since then, progress has been negligible.

For RCIR, the issue of the illegality of settlement clubs and the general abuse of Palestinian football by Apartheid Israel remains the core of this campaign and we are committed to supporting the Palestinian Football Association’s determination see justice is done. RCIR aims to dent the Israeli government’s “Brand Israel” image, and its whitewashing of its footballing abuse to give the impression it is a normal European state.

Campaign Objectives.

Our campaign’s overarching objectives are:

  1. Suspension of the Israeli Football Association from UEFA and FIFA until Israel observes international law and respects the human rights of Palestinians.
  2. Support all the measures taken by the Palestinian Football Association to achieve justice

A number of immediate objectives have been established for campaigns in specific areas.  Currently the main campaigns are:   :

  1. Boycott of Puma. To ensure that the Puma company adheres to its principles of equality of opportunity and drops its sponsorship of the Israeli Football Association.  We are campaigning with PACBI and PSC.
  2. Ban on Settlement Clubs. To ensure that the six teams in settlement clubs are banned from playing in the Israeli leagues; currently these clubs flout FIFA statutes and international law. 
  3. Free movements of players. To help ensure that Palestinian players can move freely between the West Bank and Gaza and between those areas and other countries.  In particular, to call for the 2019 Palestine Cup to be completed.
  4. International games. To demonstrate at all games played in the UK against Israeli teams and to call for all international friendlies to be cancelled.

To achieve these we challenge football institutions (using our data base of all FIFA member associations), demonstrate at matches, and spread the message through the media and fan groups.  We work in partnership with all those in the football world and with activists across Europe who oppose racism and oppression wherever it occurs.  For further information see the Campaigns tab.

Campaign support

PSC (Palestinian Solidarity Campaign), FOA (Friends of Al-Aqsa), PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel), JBIG (Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods), BIN (Boycott Israel Network), and JFJFP (Jews For Justice For Palestinians) all support the campaign.  They see it as part of the wider BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) activity that was formally established by Palestinians in 2005.

The campaign is one of a number of several European national groups active in this area.

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