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Who’s politicizing sports? Jibril Rajoub is
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Who's politicizing sports?
 
Palestinian Football Association head Rajoub complained 
Israel is "politicizing sports"
by hosting Argentina in "occupied" Jerusalem
for a friendly football match
 
But who is really politicizing sports?
 
Who called to "burn" shirts and photos 
of Argentinian player Messi
to prevent him from playing in Israel
and "beautifying the fascist occupation's image"?
- Rajoub did
 

Who prohibited Palestinian players and athletes 
from competing against Israelis? 
- Rajoub did
 
Who called a friendly match between Palestinian and Israeli kids 
"a crime against humanity"?
- Rajoub did
 
Who is speaking against "normalization in sports" with Israel?
- Rajoub is
 
Who sponsored a tennis tournament named after murderer of 2?
- Rajoub did
 
By Nan Jacques Zilberdik
 
Fatah Central Committee Secretary and Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub has complained over the fact that Argentina is to play a friendly football match against Israel in what he called "occupied" Jerusalem this coming Saturday.
 
In his official "protest letter" to the Argentine Football Association and other international football associations, Rajoub reportedly "expressed deep concern over the match being held in occupied Jerusalem" and stated that Israel has "politicized" sports:
 
"Israel, the occupying power, has politicized the sport in a way that contradicts the moral standards and international values that determine the principles of the sport."
[WAFA, official PA news agency, May 28, 2018]
 
But who is really politicizing sports?
The answer is: Rajoub himself.
 
In the case of Argentina, Rajoub has gone as far as "demanding" that Arab fans "burn" their Messi shirts as a way of intimidating Messi into not coming to Jerusalem to play later this week: 

 
"We gave a letter to the ambassador of Argentina... intended for the government of Argentina and the Argentine [Football] Association, but it is also intended for [Argentine football player Lionel] Messi - Messi, who is a symbol of love and peace, and who is a UNICEF ambassador for spreading love and tolerance. We demand that he not serve as a means to beautify the fascist occupation's image and its racist policy... We won't in any way agree that this game [between Argentina and Israel] take place. Starting from today we will begin a campaign against the Argentine [Football] Association, and we will personally target Messi, who has tens of millions of fans in Arab states, Islamic states, in Asia, in Africa, and in states that are friends of the Palestinian people. He is a symbol and a great thing for them. We will target Messi, and will demand that everyone burn their [Messi] shirts and pictures and renounce him - but we still hope that on Thursday (sic., Saturday), Messi will not come and will not be exploited to whitewash the occupation's crimes... I do not think that there is a difference between what is happening today and what happened in Europe in the 1930s."
[Facebook page of Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub,
June 3, 2018]

But Rajoub has a much longer record of politicizing sports, as Palestinian Media Watch has documented in numerous reports, including the Rajoub File. PMW sent this report to FIFA to show that Rajoub: Promotes hatred, glorifies terror, and incites murder; prohibits the use of sports as a vehicle for peacebuilding; and tried to use FIFA to achieve his anti-Israel agenda.

It was Rajoub who, after Palestinian and Israeli kids had played in a joint match, said that:
 
"Any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity."
[Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 8, 2014; Kooora.com,
Palestinian sports site, and Jibril Rajoub's official Facebook page, Sept. 6, 2014]
 
It was Rajoub who prohibited Palestinian football players and athletes in general from participating in any sports events with Israelis:
 
"Anyone who joins any joint [sports] activity with the Israelis -- I'll take him off the [Palestinian Football] Association's lists, whether he is a player, coach, judge or, God forbid, a team..."
[Official PA TV, July 1, 2013]
 
And it was Rajoub who, in his capacity as head of the Palestine Olympic Committee, sponsored a tennis tournament named after a terrorist murderer who stabbed 2 Israelis to death: 

Text in banner: "Under patronage of the leader Jibril Rajoub, 
head of the Palestine Olympic Committee. 
Palestine Cup - Martyr Muhannad Halabi Tennis Table Tournament 2015"
[Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, Dec. 19, 2015]
 
Following Rajoub's "protest" letter, which was sent to the Argentine Football Association, the South American Football Confederation [CONMEBOL], FIFA, UEFA, the Union of Arab Football Associations, and the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation, PMW submitted a complaint to FIFA against Rajoub and the Palestinian Football Association and the fact that Rajoub and the association he heads continues "to politicize football and drag FIFA, UEFA and CONMEBOL into that conflict."
 
The following are longer excerpts of Rajoub's statements:
 
Fatah Central Committee Secretary and Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub: "The match that will be held between the Argentinian national team and Israeli national team [on June 9, 2018] clearly has turned from a sports meet into a political instrument, in an attempt by the Israeli government to give a political tone to this sports event. This is because it insists on holding the game in Jerusalem... We gave a letter to the ambassador of Argentina... intended for the government of Argentina and the Argentine [Football] Association, but it is also intended for [Argentine football player Lionel] Messi - Messi, who is a symbol of love and peace, and who is a UNICEF ambassador for spreading love and tolerance. We demand that he not serve as a means to beautify the fascist occupation's image and its racist policy... We won't in any way agree that this game [between Argentina and Israel] take place. Starting from today we will begin a campaign against the Argentine [Football] Association, and we will personally target Messi, who has tens of millions of fans in Arab states, Islamic states, in Asia, in Africa, and in states that are friends of the Palestinian people. He is a symbol and a great thing for them. We will target Messi, and will demand that everyone burn their [Messi] shirts and pictures and renounce him - but we still hope that on Thursday (sic., Saturday), Messi will not come and will not be exploited to whitewash the occupation's crimes... I do not think that there is a difference between what is happening today and what happened in Europe in the 1930s."
[Facebook page of Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub,
June 3, 2018]
 
Headline: "Rajoub calls on Argentina to avoid participating in a football match on Jerusalem's soil"
"Chairman of the [PLO] Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs and the Palestinian Football Association Jibril Rajoub called on Argentina to avoid participating in the friendly football match [with Israel] that is expected to take place on June 9 [2018] in occupied Jerusalem, as part of the Argentinian national team's preparations for the World Cup.
Rajoub expressed his opposition and condemnation of the Israeli occupation government's decision to hold the match. He emphasized that Israel is politicizing the sport...
This was said in an official protest letter that Rajoub sent to the Argentine Football Association, the South American Football Confederation [CONMEBOL], and also to FIFA and UEFA - both of which Israel belongs to, to the Union of Arab Football Associations, and the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation...
Rajoub expressed deep concern over the match being held in occupied Jerusalem, which constitutes clear submission 'to the heavy political pressures that the government of Israel and its ministers have exerted, as Israeli Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev openly boasted.'
He added: 'Israel, the occupying power, has politicized the sport in a way that contradicts the moral standards and international values that determine the principles of the sport. This match has been covered in the Argentinian media as being held in honor of 'the 70th anniversary celebrations of the State of Israel,' while the match will take place at a sports field that was built on the land of the village Al-Maliha, one of 500 Palestinian villages that Israel, the occupying power, destroyed during the great Nakba (i.e., "the catastrophe," the Palestinian term for the establishment of the State of Israel) that it caused our people in 1948, 70 years ago.'
He added: 'As senior Israeli officials have explained in statements they gave regarding the change in the match's location, the Israeli authorities are planning to take the Argentinian national team to the Old City of Jerusalem, which is occupied Palestinian land according to international law. In this way the occupation government has violated these international values and exploited the Israel Football Association as a political tool in order to normalize the illegal annexation of occupied East Jerusalem, and to mislead the Argentinian public opinion by presenting the city as "united Jerusalem of the Jewish people."'"
[WAFA, official PA news agency, May 28, 2018]
 


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