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May 29, 2015 5:29 pm

FIFA = ‘Federation International for Football Antisemitism’ or ‘Football International Felony Association’

avatar by Shimon Samuels

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The SWC presented a counter-protest to a pro-Palestinian demonstration outside the FIFA Congress Hall in Zurich. Photo: Shimon Samuels.

Facing a pro-Palestinian demonstration of some 150 people outside the FIFA Congress Hall in Zurich, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre was the only Jewish organization to present a counter-protest.

Supported by a few Christian friends of Israel, we sang Hatikva and “Am Israel Chaï.” The pro-Palestinians lunged forward, smashing my IPAD screen. Glass may crack but our position was unassailable.

The police ran between us, snatching our handkerchief-size Israeli pennants and fining an evangelical lady for wearing a tiny Star of David necklace.

We few Zionists were, apparently, the “provocateurs,” while, to background screams of “Zionism is Racism,” “Apartheid Israel,” the world’s television cameras focusedon “Blattergate,” oblivious to the genocidal display behind them of terrorist wannabes.

The several associations combating racism in football – with which we have cooperated for years – sat out this new threshold of antisemitism in football. I felt as safe at FIFA as if I were sitting on the terraces of a recent Netherlands match to the cries of “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas!”

Samuels on right of podium. Photo: Shimon Samuels.

Luckily, the Wiesenthal Centre, as a human rights agency, was spontaneously invited by Solidar – the Swiss international workers’ rights lobby – to join their demonstration against Qatar’s abuse of foreign labor.

For the 209 Football Association delegates inside the Congress Hall, “Blattergate” and Palestinian mayhem were to take their course. At one moment, however, the turmoil outside invaded the proceedings as two screaming women rioters unfurled a Palestinian banner.

Finally, the law went after real “provocateurs,” politely escorting them to the exit.

Pro-Palestinian demonstration outside the FIFA congress in Zurich. Photo: Shimon Samuels.

The Palestinians may have withdrawn their demand for a vote to suspend Israel.  This was a face-saving gesture as so many countries feared that such a vote would be a dangerous precedent for themselves.

At the end of the day, the hanging question remained: whether FIFA stood for “Football International Felony Association” or “Federation International for Football Antisemitism.” Either way, football has been tainted and now requires a root-canal treatment against both Mafia and racism.

Shimon Samuels is Director for International Relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.

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  • Paul

    I fear this may be another example of Israeli callous stupidity in handling a difficult situation.
    The fact is that the world is hostile to Israel and anti-semitic. Another fact is that Israel, through arrogant callousness, very stupidly supplies enough justification to convince objective bystanders that the anti-semites are right.
    Football is one example: The reason the Palestinians tried to evict Israel from FIFA is, because Israel very stupidly hindered Palestinians soccer players, preventing them from participating in sports or moving their equipment. Not because of a planned strategy, simply out of stupid, arrogant Israeli callousness. The situation was defused by Israel simply agreeing to meet the apparently legitimate demands to stop hampering their players and to let them play football. Which we shrug and say we never objected to in the first place. SO WHY DID WE DO IT !?!?!
    Another example ? The Gaza blockade. Israel is justified (and unsuccessful) in trying to block delivery of materials that could help the Hamas war effort from reaching Gaza. So how did the sensitive, caring, wise Israeli authorities go about it ? By making a list of what CAN be imported, rather than a list of banned materials. The result is, that Israel was banning the import to Gaza of children s toys, peanut butter – you name it. Not with any intention – but damaging enough to justify the claim that Israel was punishing the civilian population.
    Because of Israel’s west Bank policy, unsupported by ANYONE in the world, including Israel’s staunchest supporters, Israel cannot speak out against the true nature of the Palestinian Authority – legal honor killing, death sentence for selling land to Jews, the refusal to have jews in their future state – name it. Real atrocious actions that are totally non democratic, non-respecting of human life and liberties and rights – but the practise of colonialism by Israel – a country that tries to say it is democratic – gets everyone to demonise US.
    We should be wiser than that.

  • Fritz Kohlhaas

    Good name for corrupt FIFA!

  • Leo Toystory

    Football is THE ANSWER to the Palestinkian perpetual war against Jews and Israel. Five million soccer balls ought to be donated to the West Bank and Gaza free of charge – free of charge but filled with plenty of C4 and dropped from airplanes. End of conflict.