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September 7, 2015 7:07 am

Wales Welcomes Israeli Football Team Despite BDS Protests

avatar by Alexander Apfel / Tazpit News Agency

Kiryat Eliezer Stadium in Haifa, Israel during a soccer match. Photo: wiki commons.

Kiryat Eliezer Stadium in Haifa, Israel during a soccer match. Photo: wiki commons.

The Israeli national soccer team played to a 0-0 tie on Sunday against Wales at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, U.K.

Israel’s presence, however, had enraged anti-Israel activists, who staged a protest against the arrival of the team.

Football Against Apartheid (FAA), which states that it aims to “bring together football and activists campaigning against Apartheid,” posted the itinerary of the protest and the demands it planned to make on soccer associations regarding Israel.

“We’ll deliver a letter and speech calling on Wales and the FAA to support the call to EXPEL apartheid Israel from FIFA. We’ll march to protest the presence of an apartheid Israeli football team in Britain and especially in Cardiff City.”

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In an interview last week with Tazpit, Guto Bebb, a British Conservative MP for the Welsh constituency of Aberconwy, described the organizers of the protest as “idiots.”

Denouncing the actions as “two-faced,” he went on to express regret about the reality that there are those “who will protest against a democracy in Israel, but will not lift a finger to protest about Iran or China participating in the London Olympics.”

When asked about the planned demonstration, a Welsh government spokesperson, requesting anonymity, contradicted the goals of FAA, telling Tazpit that soccer should serve as a powerful tool for bringing people together, while simultaneously expressing its respect for peaceful protest.

Addressing the Israeli team and fans, the spokesperson concluded by expressing the government’s commitment to the safety of all attending Sunday’s game. “We are sure that the Israeli football team and fans will receive a warm welcome to Wales,” he said.

 

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