Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA
Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) said on Tuesday it was “appalled” by a Palestinian Football Association initiative to suspend Israel from FIFA, calling it another “front waged in the context of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign.”
“We are appalled at the temerity of the Palestinan Football Association (PFA) demand that FIFA suspend Israel at your forthcoming Congress in Zurich,” wrote the group’s international relations director, Dr. Shimon Samuels, in a letter to FIFA President Joseph Sepp Blatter.
The center said the initiative was “redolent of the ‘Kaufen nicht bei Juden’ boycott of Jewish stores across Nazi Germany in the 1930’s.”
The group slammed Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub, saying “he has recruited one more arm against Israel, abusing FIFA as collateral damage … and vilifying the beautiful game.”
“The PFA itself constantly glorifies terrorism, naming teams and clubs for their most notorious murderers of civilians and even a soccer pitch after Alah Khalaf, responsible for the death of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich 1972 Olympics,” read the SWC letter.
Meawhile, Blatter met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Tuesday attempting to mitigate the fraught situation, calling the issue “very serious and very unusual.”
Blatter said that while he opposed the PFA move, he could not prevent the 209-member football organization from voting on the motion.
If passed, Israel would be suspended from FIFA, which is one step above expulsion. The only other countries to be suspended from FIFA were Apartheid-era South Africa and Yugoslavia.
Blatter said Netanyahu had agreed to a “peace match” between Palestinians and Israelis, according to The Guardian.
The vote is scheduled for May 29.