"Racism, human rights abuses and gross violations of international law are daily occurrences in Israel…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." Eric Cantona and others, 12 June 2012
We are respectfully appealing to the South African Minister of Sport and Recreation, Comrade Fikile Mbalula, to join us in calling on UEFA to reverse its decision to host the 2013 U21 Championships in Israel. We are also appealing directly to the president of UEFA, Mr Michael Platini, to heed our call.
The Honourable Comrade Minister was himself part of the United Democratic Front and other structures of the South African liberation movement that championed the slogan "no normal sport in an abnormal society". In 2009, the South African Human Sciences Research Council found that Israel practices "colonialism" and "Apartheid". To play sport in Israel, is indeed, playing in an abnormal society.
• The infamous Israeli permit system, which has been used to deny so many Palestinians the right to travel, is reminiscent of the “pass laws” of Apartheid South Africa, and is used to deny Palestinian footballers the right to travel to international tournaments, or even participate in local practices. Philippe Piat, FIFPro’s vice-president has said: "Freedom of movement is a fundamental right of every citizen...but actually for [Palestinian] footballers it is impossible to defend the colours of their country. They cannot cross the border. They cannot visit their family. They are locked up. This is an injustice."
• The use of overwhelming force by Israel in Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09 was responsible for leveling large swathes of Gaza including the Rafah National Stadium, and killing football players Ayman Alkurd, Shadi Sbakhe and Wajeh Moshate, as well as over 1400 other Palestinians.
• Israel’s Apartheid Wall, ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004, makes Palestinian life unbearable and in fact runs less than 100 meters away from the Faisal Al Husseini Stadium in Al-Ram, the current national stadium of Palestine.
• The arbitrary arrest of thousands of Palestinians, including Gazan Palestinian National Team member Mahmoud Sarsak, held without trial, is a routine tool of Israeli occupation.
In 2005 Palestinian civil society issued a call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it abides by international law.
Most recently, on the 14th of June 2012, a close aide of Yasser Arafat, Fatah Central Committee member and chairman of the Palestinian Football Federation, Jibril Rajoub, publicly appealed to the UEFA President, Michel Platini, to "not give Israel the honour of hosting the UEFA U21 Championship in 2013."
The Honourable Comrade Minster has been to Palestine and has witnessed first-hand Israel's atrocities, in fact, in 2006 he said:"International laws must be respected. We are witnessing severe violations of human rights in Palestine…an injury to one is an injury to all." We are hopeful and look forward to receiving the Minister's solidarity...
Minister Mbalula, join us in appealing to UEFA to not award Israeli racism.
Mr Michel Platini, reverse the decision to have the 2013 UEFA U21 Championships in Israel.