Israeli Anger is Growing at Palestinian Sports as a Way to Silence the Truth

Tunisian fans waive a massive Palestinian flag in the FIFA World Cup match between Tunisia and Australia. (Photo: video grab)

By Issam Khalidi

Whenever the West preaches democracy and human rights, but acts in a way that violates them, it is hypocritical, especially when it comes to US and Europe’s relations with Israel.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz threatened to revoke Palestine Football Association President Jibril Rjoub’s travel pass after he demanded Israel be banned from international competitions over Gaza. Rjoub is working around the clock to remove Israel from FIFA, according to Katz.

“We will work to thwart his plans, and if he doesn’t stop—we will imprison him in the Muqata’a (presidential compound in Ramallah), where he will be left to play Stanga by himself between the walls,” wrote Katz, referring to a soccer-like game popular with Israeli children.

This is yet another example of Israel demonstrating the ability to remain invincible to any setbacks or obstacles that would hinder the arrogance and genocide that it has carried out in Gaza. As a result of the blind support of the international community and the inaction of the Arab world, Israel remains impeachable by any means at all.

Last month, in a letter to FIFA, the Palestine Football Association (PFA) demanded that (May) Congress consider appropriate sanctions against the Israeli Football Association (IFA) and its clubs because of unprecedented international human rights and humanitarian law violations in the war on Gaza, such as killing football players, destroying sports infrastructure in Gaza, and failing to combat anti-Palestinian discrimination and racism in football.

So far, the motion is expected to be discussed at the FIFA Congress in Bangkok on May 17 and has already received the support of the football associations of Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Yemen.

It’s worth noting Israel’s rage at Rjoub is not new, it started when Rjoub asked the FIFA Congress in 2015 to suspend Israel Football Association from international competition for having six clubs from settlements on the West Bank play in the Israeli league.

The anger toward Rjoub increased when he put forth an honest stance on October 7th that differed from the PA’s. “The events of October 7 were a natural reaction to oppression; those who rule Israel are neo-Nazis. The fascist occupation sinks in its own swamp. Oct. 7 should mark a turning point for our treatment of the occupation,” he told MBC News

Of course, it will be a challenge for Rjoub to go up against Israel and the Zionist lobby that supports it and to influence FIFA to take any action against Israeli behavior. However, we are witnessing a change in the global reaction now, which challenges Israel in this regard. Consequently, this reaction may reach the FIFA itself, as well as other international organizations.

FIFA’s position does no different from that in the West in general. Whenever the West preaches democracy and human rights, but acts in a way that violates them, it is hypocritical, especially when it comes to US and Europe’s relations with Israel. In general, double standards refer to a discriminatory behavior that arises when one group is treated differently from the other. In spite of the fact that the Palestinian situation differs from the Ukrainian situation, the West continues to treat the Ukrainian issue as a human issue, while ignoring the long-standing Palestinian issue.

As a “civilized” Western nation, Ukraine has more privileges than the “backward” Arab and Middle Eastern nations. FIFA used its influence to pressure Iran (to allow women to watch men’s soccer matches) and Russia for its Ukraine’s invasion but failed to sanction Israel for its genocide. This double standard is due to the fact that the West will only take a moral stand when its fundamental interests are not at risk. There is nothing more important to the West than its own interests.

In the Guinness Book of World Records, Israel will be listed as the top country in the world for its theft of human organs, exhumation of dead bodies from graves, and murder of the sick, disabled, journalists, aid workers, doctors, paramedics, and captives.

Israel will top the list of countries that bomb schools, universities, hospitals, bakeries, aid centers, mosques, and churches. It will break every world record for atrocities, massacres, and mass killings recorded in modern history. If you attended all the funerals of all the kids who have been killed during this ongoing genocide in Palestine, it would take you over 33 years.

Currently, what is taking place in Gaza has transcended everyone’s expectations and imaginations. This has never happened in other wars in such a short period of time. There are thousands of evidences that prove that Israel has violated international law during the Gaza war and ever since the beginning of the war. Israel and the West portray Gaza’s genocide as a war.

The Gaza war, if it is considered a war, is a war of facts that do not cease to exist because they are ignored. It is a war between people under occupation and their persecutor. It is a war between sorrow and arrogance, a war between honesty and hypocrisy, a war between dignity and indignity.

In today’s world, the Palestinian issue has become a moral standard and to be neutral would mean to stand by the occupation.

– Issam Khalidi is an independent scholar, is the author of History of Sports in Palestine 1900-1948 (in Arabic), One Hundred Years of Football in Palestine (in Arabic and English), co-edited  Soccer in the Middle East, as well as articles and essays on the subject of sports included at He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
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