By Palestine Chronicle Staff
The national football team of Argentina has generated official backlash and grassroots anger on social media as it is scheduled to play a friendly match against Israel in occupied Jerusalem on June 9th.
Activists staged a twitter storm using the hashtag #NothingFriendly to protest Argentina’s participation in the match.
Tell @Argentina and Lionel Messi: There is #NothingFriendly about Israel shooting Palestinian footballers. Support Palestinian rights. Cancel your friendly match with Apartheid Israel. #BDS#ArgentinaNoVayashttps://t.co/DUGTnaoQkp
— Miguel Serra (@fugetao) May 18, 2018
Palestinian footballer Mohammed Khalil, shot in the knee by Israeli forces while taking part in the Great March of Return, appealed to the Argentinian team to boycott the scheduled game.
This Palestinian footballer was shot in the knee by Israeli forces during the Great March of Return protests in Gaza and now calls on Argentina's national football team to cancel their friendly match against Israel in Jerusalem pic.twitter.com/eOgF0s5pPG
— TRT World (@trtworld) May 26, 2018
Sulaiman el-Sallag, a Gaza resident, tweeted:
“Argentina is going to play on an occupied land of Palestine, so it should bear the diplomatic and sporting consequences; the occupying state has hundreds of stadiums but choosing one in the (Palestinian) village of al-Malha with Messi participating is a propaganda work to demonstrate Israeli right to Jerusalem.”
انتماءنا لبرشلونة تشجيعا ولميسي احتراما ، غير عن انتماءنا للقضية فعليا الارجنتين تلعب على اراضي دولة فلسطين المحتلة ، وعلى ذلك يجب ان تتحمل عواقب ذلك ديبلوماسيا ورياضيا ، دولة الاحتلال تمتلك مئات الملاعب ولكن اختيارها ملعب المالحة مع وجود ميسي هو دعاية لامتلاكها الحق في القدس https://t.co/ihiYR0JowW
— أبو آسر (@sulimanelsallag) June 3, 2018
Arch Yahye said in a tweet:
#Nothingfriendly Dear Lionel Messi and Argentina National Football Team, We urge you to cancel your friendly match with Israel, scheduled for June 9, 2018, due to Israel’s long record of human rights abuses, on and off the field.
Israel arrests, harasses and kills Palestines. pic.twitter.com/a0bdPShdoJ
— Arch Yahye Diinqale (@YDiinqale) May 27, 2018
The Arab League joined the Palestinian calls on Argentina to cancel the match.
“Israel is using the match for political purposes that have nothing to do with sports and is harming the rights of Palestinians guaranteed by international conventions,” a statement said.
🇵🇸: FF officials protested in front of 🇦🇷's ref office in Ramallah to protest against Argentina's friendly vs Israel in Jerusalem. Was with children displaced from village of Al Malha where the game is being played at (Teddy Stadium). Game was moved from Haifa to Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/XafRLuvOC9
— Shuaib Ahmed (@footynions) June 3, 2018
Dimitri Lasacaris, from Montréal, tweeted:
If Lionel Messi plays in #Jerusalem, then all of his greatness as a footballer will be sullied by his moral cowardice – https://t.co/NCVDBotlg5 @Lionel_Messi #LionelMessi @TeamMessi @FCBarcelona #Argentina #FifaWorldCup2018 #ApartheidIsrael #palestine #bds @FutbolPalestine #gaza
— Dimitri Lascaris (@dimitrilascaris) June 4, 2018
“The Israeli government has turned a regular sports match into a political tool. As was widely covered in Argentinian media, the match now is being played in order to celebrate the ‘70th anniversary of the State of Israel’,” read part of a letter written by Jibreel Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian Football Association, to Claudio Tapia, the head of the Argentinian FA, last week.
Sarah, from the UK, highlighted the fact that the match is being held on an ethnically cleansed Palestinian village.
Football Association urges Argentina to cancel Israel game to be played on the ruins of an ethnically-cleansed village https://t.co/2RiGmMXEm9
— Sarah Wilkinson (@swilkinsonbc) May 29, 2018
According to TRT World, the match was previously planned to be held in Haifa but the Israelis raised funds for its moving to Jerusalem.
Nobody wants Argentina to play in Jerusalem, which should be half Palestinian btw.
And I'm pretty sure nobody wants Argentina to play vs Israel except for Israel players who'll meet Messi lmao
— Tomi Roman (@TomasRoman18) June 4, 2018
On May 14, which marks the Nakba (Catastrophe) for Palestinians, the United States, officially moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following a December 2017 recognition by President Donald Trump of the city as Israel’s capital.
The day witnessed a massacre by Israeli forces of over 60 people in Gaza who demonstrated against the move.
Argentina! There is #NothingFriendly about killing children. #Israel deliberately targets Palestinian children in its brutal and illegal occupation of #Palestine. Cancel the 'friendly' match in #Jerusalem pic.twitter.com/rzykIQWjUr
— Yas (@Yas_star) May 29, 2018
(PC, Social Media)