It’s time to intervene against racism in Israeli soccer The State of Israel cannot allow a situation in which a sport avidly followed by hundreds of thousands of people, among them many youngsters, turns into an untreatable abscess of racism and violence. In March alone, there were four recorded violent incidents linked to Israeli soccer. …

Thousands of football supporters at three UK grounds heard the message “Show Israel the Red Card”  on Wednesday February 22, when campaigners handed out leaflets at UEFA under-21 matches at Middlesborough, Wrexham and Paisley. Their call for Europe’s football governing body to withdraw the under-21 finals from Israel in 2013 attracted friendly attention from fans. …

The banner proclaimed the message “No to Israeli apartheid” and campaigners raised the cry: “Change the finals to Wales”. Leaflets were delivered for Welsh manager Brian Flynn and the head of the Welsh Football Association Phil Pritchard.

Activists ran out of leaflets after 45 minutes as the crowd was large (22,000) There was no hostility and  amongst those whom we were able to engage in  a bit of conversation as to what the campaign was about, the response was supportive.

Six months have passed since the 2011 UEFA Under-21s competition in Denmark and the launch of a campaign to persuade European football’s governing body to reverse its decision granting Israel the junior final in 2013. So far UEFA President Michel Platini has stubbornly refused to respond  to the appeal last June from 42 football clubs in besieged Gaza, …

Pitch invasions by French protesters and a “Love Football, Hate Apartheid” action in Ireland last week expressed growing outrage at  UEFA’s decision to let Israel host the Under 21 football final in 2013. European football’s governing body has yet to reply to an appeal from Palestinian football clubs in June not to reward Israel for its persistent …

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