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November 2, 2016 1:40 pm

British University Rugby Team ‘Excited’ to Openly Support BDS With Palestinian Flag on New Uniform

avatar by Lea Speyer

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Goldsmith rugby players wearing uniforms with the Palestinian flag. Photo: Goldsmiths RCF Facebook.

Goldsmiths rugby players wearing uniforms bearing the Palestinian flag. Photo: Goldsmiths RCF Facebook.

A British university rugby team said it is “excited” to show support for the anti-Israel boycott movement by wearing the Palestinian flag on its uniform, the UK’s Jewish News reported on Tuesday. 

The rugby team of Goldsmiths, University of London announced the addition of the flag to its newest uniform on Facebook last week, calling it “part of our Student Union’s continued commitments to supporting BDS.”

“We’re hoping through our work with Goldsmiths Palestine Society this year we can encourage more societies and clubs to endorse and raise awareness about BDS,” the team stated.

Jewish and pro-Israel organizations in the UK were quick to speak out against the team’s decision to use sports as a platform to promote an anti-Jewish-state position.

A spokesperson for the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) told Jewish News that “sport is not an area where political acts should be welcomed and this inherently political act is likely to alienate many Jewish students.”

“It is an unfair and unsporting tactic that is being used to push the students’ unions divisive political agenda,” the UJS spokesperson stated.

The Zionist Federation said in a statement that “sport is a wonderful medium for bringing people together, but this disappointing move will simply drive them apart.”

Simon Johnson, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, called the rugby team’s decision “astounding” and said it “makes me question how they think this can possibly help towards a two-state solution.”

Such open support by the team for BDS “will alienate Jewish students at the university,” he added.

A spokesperson for Goldsmiths told the Jewish News that while the university is “rightly proud of our diverse, inclusive and respectful community…it’s disappointing that the rugby club has taken this decision.”

“Sports should be unifying and should be played without borders and by all. No one should feel alienated or excluded,” the spokesperson stated. “We are working with everyone across campus to ensure that all groups feel safe and supported at Goldsmiths.”

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