Wiesenthal Center: Argentina Caves To Threats And Intimidation And Cancels Friendly Match With Israel
June 5, 2018
The past few days have seen escalating threats against Argentina’s National Football team, led by Palestinian Football Association President, Jibril Rajoub--including burning Argentina’s global football icon Lionel Messi’s jerseys--if a friendly match against Israel in Jerusalem was not canceled. Rajoub called any match between Jews and Arabs “a crime against humanity”.
Intimidated by the mounting boycott (BDS) campaign, leading to such acts as being burning Argentine flags and blood red tee shirts being waved throughout Buenos Aires, Ramallah and Barcelona, the Argentina Football Association canceled the match.
“By kow-towing to terror, Argentine football has set a dangerous precedent and politized the beautiful game,” lamented Dr. Ariel Gelblung, the Simon Wiesenthal Center`s, Buenos Aires-based Latin American Representative. “Boycott isn’t appropriate for the football pitch and nor is ethnic, religious, and gender defamation,” he added.
In Paris, the Center’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, added that, “The Wiesenthal Center's 11 Points Plan Against Racism in Football in Latin America was initiated with strong support from the Argentine Football Association. Samuels continued, “We have long identified that the same Jibril Rajoub has named football clubs, tournaments and stadiums in honor to Palestinian terrorists.”
In Los Angeles at the Wiesenthal Center’s international headquarters, Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper, added, “It is tragic that Argentina caved to terrorist-supporting bullies. They have now opened to door wide-open for escalating intimidation and blackmail as the sports world gears up for the World Cup."
Center officials concluded, that “the world should be horrified that in this game, threats, intimidation, and terror are the winners.”
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).