Football joins the growing international BDS movement against Israel

The world of football has joined the growing BDS movement against the apartheid state of Israel. Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo has donated 1.5 million euros to fund schools in Gaza following Israel’s recent military assault. The money was raised when Ronaldo auctioned the Golden Boot he was awarded for being Europe’s top goal scorer last season.

Earlier this year, Eric Cantona wrote to UEFA to protest Israel’s detention without trial Palestinian footballers, including  Mahmoud Al Sarsak, who spent 80 days on hunger strike before being released after an international campaign brought pressure to bear on Israel over its policy of administrative detention.

Cantona said: “Racism, human rights abuses and gross violations of international law are daily occurrences in that country. It is time to end Israel’s impunity and to insist on the same standards of equality, justice and respect for international law that we demand of other states.”

Now, a growing list of professional football players across the world have put their names to a statement calling on UEFA to move next year’s under 21 European Championships from Israel, where it is due to be held.

Full statement by footballers and list of those that signed and their clubs:

We, as European football players, express our solidarity with the people of Gaza who are living under siege and denied basic human dignity and freedom. The latest Israeli bombardment of Gaza, resulting in the death of over a hundred civilians, was yet another stain on the world’s conscience.

We are informed that on 10 November 2012 the Israeli army bombed a sports stadium in Gaza, resulting in the death of four young people playing football, Mohamed Harara and Ahmed Harara, 16 and 17 years old; Matar Rahman and Ahmed Al Dirdissawi, 18 years old.

We are also informed that since February 2012 two footballers with the club Al Amari, Omar Rowis, 23, and Mohammed Nemer, 22, have been detained in Israel without charge or trial.

It is unacceptable that children are killed while they play football. Israel hosting the UEFA Under-21 European Championship, in these circumstances, will be seen as a reward for actions that are contrary to sporting values.

Despite the recent ceasefire, Palestinians are still forced to endure a desperate existence under occupation, they must be protected by the international community. All people have the right to a life of dignity, freedom and security. We hope that a just settlement will finally emerge.

Signed by:

Gael Angoula, Bastia Sporting Club (France)
Karim Ait-Fana, Montpellier HSC (France)
André Ayew, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Jordan Ayew, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Demba Ba, Newcastle United (UK)
Abdoulaye Baldé, AC Lumezzane (Italia)
Chahir Belghazouani, AC Ajaccio (France)
Leon Best, Blackburn Rovers Football Club (UK)
Ryad Boudebouz, Football Club Sochaux Montbéliard (France)
Yacine Brahimi, Granada Football Club (Spain)
Jonathan Bru, Melbourne Victory (Australia)
Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle United (UK)
Aatif Chahechouche, Sivasspor Kulübü (Turkey)
Pascal Chimbonda, Doncaster Rovers Football Club (UK)
Papiss Cissé, Newcastle United (UK)
Omar Daf, Football Club Sochaux Montbéliard (France)
Issiar Dia, Lekhwiya (Qatar)
Abou Diaby, Arsenal Football Club (UK)
Alou Diarra, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Soulaymane Diawara, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Samba Diakité, Queens Park Rangers (UK)
Pape Diop, West Ham United (UK)
Abdoulaye Doucouré, Stade Rennais Football Club (France)
Didier Drogba, Shanghaï Shenhua (China)
Ibrahim Duplus, Football Club Sochaux Montbéliard (France)
Soudani El-Arabi Hilal, Vitoria Sport Club Guimares (Portugal)
Jires Kembo Ekoko, Al Ain Football Club (United Arab Emirates)
Nathan Ellington, Ipswich Town Football Club (UK)
Rod Fanni, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Doudou Jacques Faty, Sivassport Kulübü (Turkey)
Ricardo Faty, AC Ajaccio (France)
Chris Gadi, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Remi Gomis, FC Valenciennes (France)
Florent Hanin, SC Braga (Portugal)
Eden Hazard, Chelsea Football Club (UK)
Charles Kaboré, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Diomansy Kamara, Eskisehispor Kulübü (Turkey)
Frédéric Kanouté, Beijin Guoan (China)
Anthony Le Tallec, AJ Auxerre (France)
Djamal Mahamat, Sporting Braga (Portugal)
Steve Mandanda, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Kader Manganne, Al Hilal Riyad Football Club (Saudi Arabia)
Sylvain Marveaux, Newcastle United (UK)
Nicolas Maurice-Belay, FC Girondins de Bordeaux (France)
Cheikh M’bengué, Toulouse Football Club (France)
Jérémy Menez, Paris Saint-Germain Football Club (France)
Arnold Mvuemba, Olympique Lyonnais (France)
Laurent Nardol, Chartres Football Club (France)
Mahamadou N’diaye, Vitoria Sport Club Guimares (Portugal)
Mamadou Niang, Al-Sadd SC (Qatar)
Mbaye Niang, SM Caen (France)
Fabrice Numeric, FK Slovan Duslo Sala (Slovakia)
Billel Omrani, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Lamine Sané, FC Girondins de Bordeaux (France)
Mamady Sidibé, Stoke City Football Club (UK)
Momo Sissoko, Paris Saint-Germain Football Club (France)
Cheikh Tioté, Newcastle United (UK)
AdamaTraoré, Melbourne Victory (Australia)
Armand Traoré, Queen Park Rangers FC (UK)
Djimi Traore, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Moussa Sow, Fenerbahçe Spor Kulübü (Turkey)
Hassan Yebda, Granada Football Club (Spain)

20 comments on “Football joins the growing international BDS movement against Israel

  1. There is also a great photo circulating of Messi holding up a “FreePalestine” t-shirt. It would be nice to see some more British footballers follow suit.

  2. wayne muldoon on said:

    What an incredible list of footballing talent! In the light of the UN vote on Palestinian recognition and the wake of Israel’s announcement of settlement expansion we need the international boycott and solidarity campaigns to expand as far as possible as soon as possible.

  3. Steve R on said:

    why is Israel zionist state referred to as “apartheid”? obviously it is not apartheid, but maybe use of this term gives more cause for hope of victory….. but I think the Marikana strikers: particularly the widows, should be asked about that

  4. #8 So do you believe that getting rid of apartheid was not something worth fighting for in and of itself? Do you believe that the situation in South Africa today is evidence that it would have been better to keep apartheid?

    If so you need to ask yourself some pretty fundamental questions. If not, you should express yourself a little bit more carefully,

  5. I heard, as a member of the British delegation to the world festival of youth and students held in South Africa in 2010, veterans of the struggle against apartheid compare the situation to Israel. This comparison had also been made by south africa’s parliament.

    Its one comparison, I think, that it is acceptable to make, the other one doesn’t sit well with me at all and shouldn’t be made in my opinion.

  6. I’ve just read the news about the vote in the UN on Israel’s nuclear weapons. Does anyone know which the 6 countries that abstained are?

  7. Vanya,

    I believe one of them was Panama though it’s hard to find out much on-line as to the others.Was the UK also one of the abstainees?

  8. #15 I don’t know. That’s one of the reasons I asked.

    Personally I see this vote as being as (and on some levels more) significant than the one on Palestinian status. Particularly when it comes to the US position.

  9. Vanya,

    Yes, I would agree with that and it hopefully marks the beginning of Israel being held to something like the same standard as other nations. Still, their propagandists are skilled and I’m sure they’re working on which angle they can exploit to wriggle out of this one.

  10. Shuggy LP on said:

    Good to see a few NUFC players on the list. Almost makes up for the Wonga sponsorship deal……………or maybe not!

  11. Footballers have never set themselves up as intellectuals. There minds were and are wholly focused on football. The 50 plus footballers who signed have contractual constraints that few other workers have in their contracts of employment, like not upsetting rich sponsors etc. Many got themselves into trouble for signing. Footballers like most people can see injustice, especially when Palestine National team players have been jailed for years without trial and have to go on hunger strike to have their case heard, but Red Card Israeli Apartheid does help to bring a bit of politics to it. We need more “red” football fans to help, as you can see from some comments that the Zionists are busy, probably with state support to oppose us, with their dirty tricks.

  12. For readers who need to know why Israel is an apartheid state, please Google the question. Also 58% of Israeli Citizens believe it is apartheid. Most Israelis also believe Israel is merely an Imperialist puppet, and without Imperialist self interest there would be no Zionist or Apartheid state.