My op-ed: FIFA, let Israel play

By supporting Rajoub’s call to punish Israel, FIFA would be taking its first major political position by aligning itself with the anti-Israel, anti-peace and anti-democratic forces.

My latest op-ed is about the Palestinian initiative to kick Israel out of FIFA. The double standard of only targeting Israel for exclusion is nothing short of a modern form of antisemitism: anti-Zionism.

Jerusalem Post (7 May) — The chairman of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), Jibril Rajoub, a convicted terrorist who continuously encourages terrorism against Israel, is calling for FIFA to punish and possibly expel Israel from FIFA. The stated reason for Rajoub’s initiative is that Israel allows five amateur teams that are located in disputed territories beyond the Green Line to be a part of the Israeli Football Association. The decision will be made during the FIFA Congress in Bahrain on May 11, 2017.

The call for the exclusion of Jewish sports teams is, to the Jewish people and their state, a painful reminder of a dark past. Throughout modern history, whenever antisemitism spreads and manifests, the calls for boycotting Jewish businesses and banning Jews from certain professions, including sports, are inevitable.

While criticism of Israel is not necessarily antisemitic, the double standard of singling out and only punishing Israel certainly is. There are over 200 disputed territories in the world, but only the disputed territory that involves the world’s only Jewish state is used as a reason for potential expulsion from FIFA.

Furthermore, when global conflicts since 1950 are ranked by the number of casualties, the Israeli- Arab conflict is in 49th place, yet the parties to the other 48 conflicts have not been considered for expulsion from FIFA. This irrefutable and astounding double standard is nothing short of a modern form of antisemitism: anti-Zionism.

… The World Jewish Congress has therefore initiated a campaign that calls for FIFA to stay out of politics, vote against this discriminatory initiative, and let Israel play. FIFA, which represents football for millions of people, must not allow itself to become a political battleground in one of the world’s most complex and charged conflicts. FIFA should use the power of sports to bring people together instead of falling into Rajoub’s cynical, self-promotional trap that would harm Israelis as well as Palestinians.

Read the full article in the Jerusalem Post here.

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