November 16, 2019 / Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) / Argentina,Â Uruguay,Â Spanish state
(Palestinians inspect damaged house destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis, Gaza, November 14, 2019. Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)
November 16, 2019â€”The Argentina and Uruguay national football teams are planning to go ahead with a â€śfriendlyâ€ť match in Israel, despite Israelâ€™s recent attack on Gaza that killed at least 34 Palestinians.
The match is set to take place Monday, November 18, at Bloomfield Stadium in the ethnically cleansed Palestinian city of Jaffa.
Stephanie Adam of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) said: As the latest episode of Israelâ€™s criminal bombing campaign is put on hold and Palestinians in Gaza again mourn the dead, Argentina and Uruguay plan to go ahead with a â€śfriendlyâ€ť football match.
In 2018, ArgentinaÂ canceledÂ a â€śfriendlyâ€ť match in Jerusalem following months of BDS campaigning.
Israelâ€™s Comtec Group, which hasÂ clientsÂ in illegal Israeli settlements, was the organizer of the failed Argentina friendly as well as the Argentina vsÂ Uruguay match.
Sylvan Adams, a Canadian billionaire real-estate magnate and self-proclaimedÂ ambassadorÂ for Israel, is reportedlyÂ coveringÂ a significant sum toward the costs of organizing the Argentina vs Uruguay match. Adams hasÂ statedÂ that he is dedicating the current chapter of his life to â€śthe promotion of what I call ‘normal Israel,’â€ť to deflect attention from Israelâ€™s violations of Palestinian human rights and international law.
Adams and Comtec have teamed up to bring events to Israel before, includingÂ MadonnaÂ to the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, the 2018 Big Start of the Giro dâ€™Italia cycling race and aÂ failedÂ attempt to bring the 2019 Miss Universe Pageant to Israel.
Stephanie Adam from PACBI added:
Top Gaza Premier League club Khadamat RafahÂ wroteÂ to Argentina and Uruguay urging both teams â€śnot to allow the beautiful game to be used as cover for gross human rights violations.â€ť Israel denied Khadamat Rafah permits to travel for the 2019 Palestine Cup, forcing cancellation of the Palestinian football championship.
Balata Football Club, from the occupied West Bank refugee camp of the same name, alsoÂ urgedÂ Argentina and Uruguay to cancel the match in Israel, recalling the crucial role that sports boycotts played in ending apartheid rule in South Africa.
At a Barcelona FC training session, Catalan civil society groupsÂ made personal appealsÂ to players Lionel Messi and Luis SuĂˇrez, who play for Argentina and Uruguay respectively, not to join the match, recalling Maradonaâ€™s famous phrase, â€śthe ball canâ€™t be tarnishedâ€ť (â€śLa pelota no se manchaâ€ť). They asked, â€śWould you have gone to play in apartheid South Africa?â€ť Protests at the football associations inÂ MontevideoÂ andÂ Buenos AiresÂ received widespread media attention.
Dozens of civil society groups, trade unions, human rights organizations and sports fan clubs in Argentina and UruguayÂ called onÂ their national teams to cancel the match in Israel.
– Gaza is home to theÂ Palestinian Amputee Football Association, founded in March 2018. It now has seven teams and 80 players, most of whom lost limbs due to Israeli army sniper fire at peaceful protesters participating in the Great Return March demanding basic human rights. For the amputees, playing football is a form of resistance and a way to continue to play their beloved game.
– Argentina was initially scheduled to play against Paraguay in Bangladesh on November 18. When talk of the match in Israel on November 19 surfaced, the president of the Paraguay Football AssociationÂ stated, â€śWhen you sign a contract, you validate the contract. That contract must be respected. In the event it is not respected, we will take appropriate action.â€ť Days later, on October 28, ParaguayÂ announcedÂ the match with Argentina had been canceled.
– The date for the Argentina vs Uruguay match in Israel was confirmed by both national teams for November 19. The Israel Football Association, which includes teams in illegal Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land in violation of international law,Â complainedÂ that the date coincided with Israeli national team matches. The Argentina Uruguay match date was thenÂ changedÂ to November 18.
– The Argentina vs Uruguay match is set to be played in Bloomfield Stadium inÂ JaffaÂ (Yafa), a once prosperous and cosmopolitan Palestinian port city and one of more than 500 Palestinian villages and cities ethnically cleansed of its indigenous Palestinian residents during Israelâ€™s establishment in 1948 on the ruins of the Palestinian homeland.
TheÂ Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)Â was initiated in 2004 to contribute to the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. A key part of the BDS movement, PACBI advocates for the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, given their deep and persistent complicity in Israelâ€™s denial of Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law. Visit PACBI atÂ https://bdsmovement.net/pacbiÂ and follow us on TwitterÂ @PACBI
Human Interest 11/11/19 Argentina and Uruguay Players Need to Hear From You: Cancel â€śFriendlyâ€ť Match in Apartheid IsraelÂ