The following press release was issued on 7 October 2009:
FIFA’s declared mission to use football to bring about “a better world” requires that clear signals be given to the apartheid state, Israel. The undersigned organizations call on FIFA to tell Israel it is off-side and to show it a red card for the World Cup.
Three Palestinian football players from the national team were killed during the Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip earlier this year. Because of the Israeli blockade and travel restrictions, the Palestinian national team there cannot practice with their teammates in the West Bank in their native land. They can only rarely take part in international competitions.
Palestinian athletes suffer constant discrimination and violent assaults. This is part of Israel’s decades-long refusal to guarantee the Palestinians their rights, freedom, dignity and their physical and spiritual integrity. This policy should be called apartheid. It is not only a violation of international law, but also of FIFA’s regulations against discrimination, and of the Olympic Charter.
South Africa’s exclusion from the world sports community until 1991 helped to bring about the end of racial separation in that country. Now, almost 20 years later, the World Cup will be hosted by South Africa in 2010. Decency, dignity and sporting fair play towards the hosts and the participating teams demand that Israel be subjected to the same sanctions. Numerous organizations and personalities in Israel and world-wide hope that increased pressure on Israel will induce it to respect the rights of the Palestinians. This is a prerequisite for peace.
We challenge FIFA to live up to the letter and the spirit of its statutes and to seize this opportunity to prove to the world that it stands for a more just world by sending Israel an unmistakeable threat of exclusion. This would be an important victory for human rights — not only for the Palestinian people, but also for the international football community.
No to apartheid!
Undersigned organizations: Basler Frauenvereinigung fuer Frieden und Fortschritt (BFFF), Bewegung fuer den Sozialismus (BFS/MPS), Collectif Judeo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Paix de Strasbourg, Collectif Urgence Palestine Vaud, Collectif Urgence Palestine Neuchatel, Frauen fuer den Frieden Region Basel, Frauen fuer den Frieden Region Biel, Gerechtigkeit und Frieden in Palaestina (GFP) Bern, Gesellschaft Schweiz-Palaestina (GSP/ASP), International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) France, Juedische Stimme fuer gerechten Frieden in Nahost (EJJP Deutschland), Kampagne Olivenoel, Neue PdA Basel, Mahnwache Bern, Palaestina-Solidaritaet Basel, Palaestina-Solidaritaet Zuerich, Sozialistische Alternative (SoAL) Basel, Union Juive Francaise pour la Paix (UJFP)