Friday, May 29, 2015

FIFA soccer: 1972 Munich Olympic tragedy redux?

     How many young Israeli athletes were mercilessly gunned down and slaughtered by Palestinians at the 1972 Munich Olympics?  Shot down in their prime simply because they were Israeli athletes?  Eleven were killed.

     The entire world reacted in grief to this terrible tragedy and to the senseless slaughter of these heroic youth -- pouring out its sympathy and grief for these eleven innocent victims of a violence they had never created.

     And now this same tragedy of young athletes being mercilessly gunned down and slaughtered in their prime is also being played out on the world stage all over again.

     Except that this time nobody in the world seems to notice -- or care.

    Eleven athletes were gunned down in cold blood in Munich in 1972.

     And, according to Independent Jewish Voices of Canada, four Palestinian soccer players have also been mercilessly slaughtered by Israeli neo-colonialist occupation gunmen, two Palestinian soccer players have been deliberately knee-capped by Israeli neo-colonial terrorists' bullets, numerous Palestinian soccer players have been deliberately jailed or detained simply because they were Palestinian soccer players, and every time a Palestinian or Arab-Israeli soccer player takes the field in Jerusalem today, Beitar's fans chant "Death to Arabs".

     Apparently the lives of Palestinian and Arab-Israeli athletes don't even matter.

     Right now, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is being asked to sanction Israel for its blatant apartheid attitude toward Palestinian soccer players -- to say nothing of their blatant displays of terrorism toward these innocent young athletes who do not deserve to be dead simply because of their country of origin and their love of the game.

     Let us hope that FIFA makes the right call and "red cards" this slaughter.

     No athlete, anywhere, ever, should have to put their lives in danger because of their love of sports.


IJV joins with Israelis and Palestinians demanding FIFA show Israel the red card

      This Friday, the World Congress of FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, will be making a crucial decision – whether to suspend Israel’s football association from the sports body.  The complaint was brought by the Palestinian Football Federation after years of harassment, intimidation, racist incitement, and even physical attacks by Israelis on Palestinian players.

     Independent Jewish Voices – Canada (IJV) joins Israeli peace groups and Palestinians in urging FIFA to “show Israel the red card” (like referees do in soccer, suspending a player when their conduct is unacceptable.)  Jeff Halper, a Jewish Israeli peace activist (who spoke across Canada last winter) met with FIFA head Sepp Blatter in Ramallah and told him of the many slights and injuries that Palestinian players have suffered over the years:
  • The Israeli government has regularly detained members of the Palestinian team from traveling to international bouts.  Last week, not hours after Israeli leaders promised Blatter to facilitate travel, they detained a leading player, Sameh Maraabah.
  • The Israeli Football Association has refused to take even the smallest steps to curb racism in Israeli football.  The most egregious behaviour is by the team Beitar Jerusalem, which has an open policy of not hiring Arab or Muslim players, even from abroad.  Its fans are sadistic and insulting to Palestinian players on other teams and regularly chant “Death to Arabs” after Beitar goals.
  • The Israeli government regularly prevents players from Gaza from joining team-mates on the West Bank, and has deliberately jailed others, holding one player incommunicado and without charges or trial for three years.
  • Two teenaged Palestinian players were shot in the legs and feet by the Israeli Defence Forces, a particularly targeted punishment for soccer players.  Needless to say, they will never play serious soccer again. 
  • Three team members were killed in the 2012 Operation Cast Lead and the team’s soccer stadium in Rafah, Gaza and the federation’s headquarters were bombed during that incursion.
  •  A teenaged Palestinian soccer star, Mohammed al-Qatari received an IDF bullet straight to the chest while protesting Israel’s last war in Gaza.