Pro-Palestine activists to protest at Ireland v Israel women’s football game in Bray

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Press Release, Thursday 19th August, 1pm

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) are to stage a demonstration on Wednesday August 25th in Bray, as the Irish Women’s soccer team play Israel in a FIFA World Cup Qualifier at the Carlisle Grounds (home of Bray Wanderers FC).

In line with the wishes of Palestinian civil society, the protest will call for a sporting boycott of Israel due to the racist and apartheid nature of the Israeli state. The in support of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) who have confirmed this match falls under their Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) guidelines.

The protest will take place at two locations. It will begin at 5.30PM outside the Bray Royal Hotel where the Israeli Embassy have arranged a pre-match dinner from 6PM. Following this, the protest will move to the Carlisle Grounds and will take place outside the stadium from 7PM, with the game kicking off at 7.30PM. The protest will make no attempt to interrupt the game.

Last month, the IPSC held a similar protest outside Tallaght Stadium as Shamrock Rovers hosted Israeli team Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv FC in a Europa League Qualifier. As on that occasion, the theme of the protest in Bray will be ‘Love Football, Hate Apartheid’. Banners bearing that slogan as well as ‘Boycott Israeli Apartheid’ and ‘Unity Against Occupation’ will be on display at the protests alongside Palestinian flags.

IPSC National Chairperson Freda Hughes said: “Israel is a racist apartheid state with a human rights record worse than that of Apartheid South Africa. It continues to defy United Nations Security Council Resolutions and breaches International law on a daily basis. It is long past time that Israel was shown that there is a heavy price to pay for its human rights abuses, war crimes and continued denial of freedom to the Palestinian people.”

Ms Hughes added: “While some may suggest that sports and politics shouldn’t mix, we believe there is no place in sport for racism or teams who act as ambassadors for racist or apartheid states.”

Ms Hughes continued: “Attempts by the Palestinian national soccer team to participate in International competitions are consistently hampered by Israel. Travel restrictions including refusing players exit visas as well as a complete ban on travel between the West Bank and Gaza makes training virtually impossible and has led to cancelled internationals. In 2006, Israel bombed their stadium in Gaza and three footballers were murdered during their month long attack on the strip last year.”

Ms Hughes concluded: “The IPSC are urging people to join the protests, to take a stand against Israeli apartheid and to show their solidarity with the people of Palestine. We are also urging Irish fans not to travel to Israel for the second leg of this tie. Similar to the International boycott of the Apartheid South African regime, Israel must be boycotted completely, including all sporting events such as this upcoming game. The Boycott helped end South African apartheid. It can be used again to help end Israeli apartheid and secure freedom for Palestine.”

Local Sinn Fein councillor John Brady, who will take part in the protest, said: “My party colleague Cllr Rossa Murray and I were shocked to receive official invitations to attend a pre-match function from the Embassy of the rogue state of Israel. Following the attack on the Gaza aid flotilla in May, we tabled a motion on Bray Town Council condemning the attack and calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador. We intend to deliver that message directly to the Ambassador at the pre-match reception in Bray. We will be dressed in the Palestinian football jerseys to highlight the hypocrisy of Israel taking part in international football but denying Palestinians these same rights.”

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