Over 100 organizations call for sports boycott of Maccabi Haifa in Minnesota

Via Minnesota Break the Bonds:

On October 12, 2012, the Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign, along with over 100 organizations from around the world, sent the following letter to each of the Minnesota Timberwolves players.

With a sense of urgency, we ask you to boycott the exhibition game against Maccabi-Haifa, the Israeli team that you are scheduled to play next Tuesday, October 16. Israel is committing grave human rights abuses involving an elaborate system of racial apartheid which discriminates against the native Palestinians in violation of international law. Israel’s abuses have been confirmed by the United Nations Security Council and the International Court of Justice. Israel has been convicted by the Russell Tribunal of the crime of apartheid. Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu has described Israel’s apartheid system as worse than the apartheid that existed in South Africa. Yet, despite worldwide condemnation, Israel not only refuses to dismantle its apartheid system, but it continues to expand and reinforce it.

Join the worldwide cultural boycott of Israel. Join musicians, such as Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd), writers like Alice Walker (author of The Color Purple), academics like Gérard Toulouse (a member of the French Academy of Sciences), and many others who have all agreed to boycott Israel until Israel complies with international law and ends its human rights abuses against the Palestinians. Don’t play against Maccabi-Haifa. A sports boycott of Israel sends a powerful message to Israel that its policy of occupation, expulsion and racism against Palestinians is unacceptable.

Israel has a vast propaganda machine which wages a constant public relations campaign to gloss over its crimes against humanity. One of Israel’s tactics is to send athletic teams abroad as “cultural ambassadors,” to give the impression that all is “normal” in Israel. We say apartheid should not be normalized! If you play against the Maccabi-Haifa team, you are being used by this propaganda machine.

History has shown that what ended apartheid in South Africa was not so much the economic boycotts leveled against the country, but the sporting and cultural boycotts, which focused the world’s attention on South Africa’s inhuman and racist system of apartheid designed to subjugate its own black citizens.  Recently reflecting on the actions that brought apartheid to an end in South Africa, Reverend Tutu identified the sports boycott as essential in “conveying to the sport-crazy South Africans that our society had placed itself beyond the pale by continuing to organize its life on the basis of racial discrimination.”

Palestinians living within the Israeli borders are discriminated against by a variety of Israeli laws that include the Law of Return (1950 – allowing Jews from anywhere in the world to immigrate to Israel, yet disallowing non-Jews that opportunity), the Absentee Property Law (1950 – allowing the State of Israel to confiscate the property of Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed from their homes in 1948), and the Citizenship & Entry into Israel Law (2012 – barring Palestinian Israeli citizens from living with their non-Israeli spouses). These laws and many others discriminate against an entire segment of the population based only on ethnicity.

Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza are ruled by Israel under “Military Order” while Jewish Israeli settlers, who are living in the West Bank (illegally, according to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention) are ruled under Israeli civil law. Examples of the obscene differences between the two systems of laws are Military Order number 132, which declares Palestinians under military jurisdiction from age 12 and the age of majority age 16, while an Israeli is a minor until age 18; and the Administrative Detention policy, which allows a Palestinian to be held without charge or trial for an extendable 180 days, while an Israeli may be held for only 48 hours without charge or trial. Israel allocates 48 times more water to illegal Israeli settlers in the West Bank, per person, than the Palestinians who must pay twice as much for water and electricity,  which is regularly cut off. Israel operates a modern apartheid highway system throughout the West Bank that Palestinians are prohibited from using, leaving mostly long and rugged side roads and dirt paths as the only means of transportation. Palestinian villages are cut off from one another, dividing families, and are surrounded by walls and checkpoints requiring special identification and passes to enter and exit.

Israel has made it impossible with its blockades, checkpoints and travel restrictions for Palestinian sportsmen and women to even meet together to practice as a team. In addition, Israel destroys or prevents access to the very limited training facilities available in the occupied territories. In 2006 FIFA condemned the Israeli direct strike on Gaza Stadium which it deemed was “without any reason.” Israel routinely prevents Palestinian sportsmen from attending international sports competitions.

Palestinians and their descendants who were ethnically cleansed from Israel and Palestine in 1948 have been languishing since that time in refugee camps. They have never been allowed to return home, even though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which Israel signed and ratified), insists that all people must be allowed to return to their homes regardless of the reason that they left.

Be on the right side of history! Don’t normalize apartheid! Boycott Israel!

Signed,

Organization State/Country
The Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign MN
St Cloud State University Students for a Free Palestine MN
Minnesota Coalition for Palestinian Rights MN
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network – Twin Cities MN
Middle East Peace Now MN
Northfielders for Justice in Palestine MN
Women Against Military Madness – Mideast Committee MN
Melbourne Students for Justice in Palestine Australia
Women in Black – Vienna Austria
Students for Justice in Palestine at Arizona State University AZ
Coordination Boycott Israel Belgium
Palestina Solidariteit Belgium
Birthright Unplugged CA
South Bay Mobilization CA
BDS-LA for justice in Palestine CA
San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice CA
Davis Committee for Palestinian Rights CA
North Coast Coalition for Palestine CA
Buena Vista United Methodist Church – Committee on Church and Society CA
International Solidarity Movement – Northern California CA
San Diego BDS Committee CA
Palestine-Israel Working Group of Nevada County CA
Culture and Conflict Forum CA
Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights CA
Al-Awda San Diego, Palestine Right to Return Coalition CA
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition CA
Al-Awda New York – Palestine Right to Return Coalition NY
Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign Vancouver Canada
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network Canada
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights Canada
Palestine Solidarity Network-Edmonton Canada
CU-Divest! CO
DC Riders for Peace DC
Sabeel DC Metro DC
Way to Jerusalem Mission Group DC
WeAreWideAwake.org FL
EuroPalestine France
Campagne Civile Internationale pour la Protection du Peuple France
Collectif Judeo-Arabe et Citoyen Pour La Paix France
France Palestine Solidarité France
BDS Group Berlin Germany
Stichting Diensten en Onderzoek Centrum Palestina Germany
Palestina Komite Germany Germany
Hawaii Peace and Justice HI
Holy Land Peace HI
AWARE IL
US Palestinian Community Network IL
Palestine Solidarity Group – Chicago IL
Students for Justice in Palestine of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville IL
BDS Earlham IN
Indian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel India
Don’t Play Apartheid Israel International
Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods International
Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign Ireland
Boycott from Within Israel
Citizens for Justice in the Middle East–Kansas City KS
Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights MA
Committee for Palestinian Rights – Howard County, MD MD
Committee for Palestinian Rights MD
Maine BDS Coalition for Palestinian Rights ME
Maine Voices for Palestinian Rights ME
InterDenominational Advocates for Peace MI
St Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee MO
Citizens for Palestinian Self Determination NE
Netherlands Palestine Committee Netherlands
Stop the Occupation Netherlands
Utrecht for Palestine Netherlands
Breed Platform Palestina Netherlands
NH Veterans for Peace NH
Heart of Palestine NJ
Philly BDS NJ
Students for Justice in Palestine- University of New Mexico NM
Labor for Palestine NY
New York City Labor Against the War NY
Jews Say No! NY
Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel NY
Hunter College Students for Justice in Palestine NY
Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine NY
John Jay College Students for Justice in Palestine NY
Jews For Palestinian Right Of Return NY
International Socialist Organization NY
Students for Justice in Palestine at Brooklyn College NY
Al-Nakba Awareness Project OR
The Philadelphia Coalition for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction PA
Veterans For Peace PA
RESCOP-Red Solidaria Contra la Ocupacion de Palestina SC
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign Scotland
Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign – Dundee Scotland
North Plains Friends of Palestine SD
Gerrak Gelditu Spain
Urgence Palestine Switzerland
Students for a Democratic Society at University of Houston TX
Boycott Israel Network, UK United Kingdom
Innovative Minds Inminds.com United Kingdom
Palestine Education Initiative United Kingdom
Leeds Palestine Solidarity Campaign United Kingdom
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network United States
National Lawyers Guild – Free Palestine Subcommittee United States
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel United States
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation United States
American Muslims for Palestine United States
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions USA United States
Veterans for Peace National Palestine and Middle East Working Group United States
West Hills Friends WA
Vancouver For Peace WA
Christ’s Way Church WA
Palestine Solidarity Campaign – Aberystwyth Wales
Friends of Palestine Wisconsin WI
Wisconsin Middle East Lobby Group WI

 

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