Wiesenthal Centre to FIFA: Suspension of Israel would go down in Jewish sports history as a direct time-line from the 1936 Berlin Olympics to 1972 Munich to 2015 Zurich

SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTRE-EUROPE
Tel: +33(0)1 47 23 76 37
Fax: +33(0)1 47 20 84 01
Mail: csweurope@gmail.com

''Palestinian Football Association President, Jibril Rajoub, on the other hand, has no concern for racism or discrimination nor the values of football. He has recruited one more arm against Israel, abusing FIFA as collateral damage and vilifying the beautiful game''

Paris, 19 May 2015

In a letter to FIFA President,Joseph Sepp Blatter, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, stated, "We are appalled at the temerity of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) demand that FIFA suspend Israel at your forthcoming Congress in Zurich."

The letter viewed this as "one more front waged in the context of the Palestinian BDS
(Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign,so redolent of the ''Kaufen nicht bei Juden" boycott of Jewish stores across Nazi Germany in the 1930's", adding, "As political football, BDS is the direct antithesis of sport being the arena of fairplay."

Samuels stressed, ''As a human rights organization, we are deeply involved in campaigns against racism in football, in cooperation with both UEFA and FIFA ... 'The PFA President, Jibril Rajoub, on the other hand, has no concern for racism or
discrimination nor the values of football. He has recruited one more arm against Israel, abusing FIFA as collateral damage,impugning your good name and vilifying the beautiful game.'"

The Centre noted, ''The PFA itself constantly glorifies terrorism, naming teams and clubs for their most notorious murderers of civilians and,even a soccer pitch after Alah Khalaf, responsible for the death of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich 1972 Olympics." Samuels continued, ''Rajoub was himself, reportedly, arrested for hurling a grenade at an Israeli bus. He was also accused by the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group of torturing his own people as Fatah Security chief on the West Bank.''

Samuels clarified, ''The PFA'a egregious arguments for Israel’s suspension from FIFA are based on so-called 'restrictions against Palestinian football players','' concluding, ''Israel is thereby facing a Catch 22 situation: to fight terrorism while exempting footballers from normal security measures - an unacceptable situation for any FIFA  member-state."

The letter stressed, ''Rajoub could have taken his case to Israel’s Supreme Court for a fair hearing. That was clearly not his objective. He seeks personal self-aggrandizement at the cost of FIFA''...''Mr.President, you have publicly stated that suspending a member 'is always something which harms the whole organization'  and that Rajoub's charges are irrelevant to FIFA's Statutes."

The Centre argued,''the Palestinian demand is listed as point 15.1 on the agenda of the FIFA 29 May Congress. It immediately precedes the election or re-election of the President, thus embroiling it directly in the politics of the organization. That might be called 'football terrorism'."

''Suspension of Israel by FIFA would go down in Jewish sports history as a direct time-line from the 1936 Berlin Olympics to 1972 Munich to 2015 Zurich. ...We count on you, Mr.President, following your current talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah, to ensure that this third currently blank page will remain blank," concluded Samuels.

For further information please call Shimon Samuels on +33609770158,

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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).