Following a global campaign, Adidas is no longer sponsoring football teams in illegal Israeli settlements. Palestinians call on new sponsor Puma to end complicity with Israel’s violations of international law.Â
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel welcomes theÂ newsÂ that Adidas is no longer sponsoring the Israel Football Association (IFA).
Last March, over 130 Palestinian football clubsÂ called onÂ the German sportswear manufacturer to end its sponsorship of the IFA over its complicity with the oppression of the Palestinian people. The IFAÂ includes six Israeli football teamsÂ based in illegal Israeli settlements that rob Palestinians of land and resources. Israeli settlements are considered aÂ war crimeÂ under international law.
A spirited global campaign followed, with human rights supporters around the world calling on Adidas to end its sponsorship of matches on stolen Palestinian land. In June, over 16,000 signatures on an international petition wereÂ deliveredÂ to Adidas satellite headquarters in Amsterdam.
In aÂ replyÂ to the Palestinian clubs, Adidas stated it had raised the issue of Israeli settlement teams with FIFA. Adidas, one of FIFAâ€™sÂ main partners, noted the need for the world governing body of football to “adjudicate on the question of the Israeli settlement teams, by following the tenets of international law and their human rights policy.â€ť
This is not the first time Adidas has ended sponsorship of complicit Israeli entities. Following widespreadÂ protests, calls forÂ boycottÂ andÂ government condemnations, Adidas stopped sponsoring the so-called â€śJerusalem marathon,â€ť whose route includes illegal Israeli settlements and encroaches on occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem.
Israelâ€™s brand has become increasingly toxic following its wide scale massacres of Palestinians in Gaza peacefully protesting for their UN-sanctioned rights. Israel hasÂ killedÂ nearly 150 Palestinians, including journalists, medics and over 20 children since the end of March.
More thanÂ 50 Palestinian athletesÂ are among the over ten thousand injured by Israelâ€™sÂ shoot-to-kill-or-maim policyÂ in Gaza, leaving many with live changing disabilities, cutting short promising sports careers.
A warning to Puma
Another German sportswear company, Puma, hasÂ replacedÂ Adidas as sponsor of the IFA under a four-year deal.
By sponsoring the IFA, Puma is associating its global brand with Israelâ€™s expanding settlement enterprise, whose illegal land grabs and home demolitions are driving out indigenous Palestinians through gradualÂ ethnic cleansing. The iconic leaping cat is sports-washing Israelâ€™s military occupation and violations of Palestinians rights.
Pumaâ€™sÂ Code of EthicsÂ maintains it has a commitment to human rights and pays â€śclose attention to the concerns expressed by international institutions, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and representatives of civil society.â€ť
As a signatory of the UN Global Compact, Puma also has anÂ obligationÂ to make sure that it is â€śnot complicit in human rights abuses.â€ť
International consensus is clear. Israeli settlements areÂ illegal. Puma is exposing itself to global boycott campaigns by conscientious consumers supporting human rights.
We call on Puma to end its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (IFA) as long as it is involved in Israelâ€™s grave violations of international law and oppression of Palestinians.
The cat should take a leap for Palestinian rights.
Human Interest 07/25/18Â Two Boys: Life and Death in Gaza
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.