Thousands of football supporters at three UK grounds heard the message “Show Israel the Red Card” on Wednesday February 22, when campaigners handed out leaflets at UEFA under-21 matches at Middlesborough, Wrexham and Paisley.
Their call for Europe’s football governing body to withdraw the under-21 finals from Israel in 2013 attracted friendly attention from fans.
At Wrexham, a banner proclaimed the message “No to Israeli apartheid” and campaigners raised the cry: “Change the finals toWales”.
As part of the run-up to UEFA’s Annual Open Congress, due to be held in Istanbul on March 22, leaflets were delivered for Welsh manager Brian Flynn and the head of the Welsh Football Association Phil Pritchard.
“The Palestinian people are treated worse than black people were during South African apartheid or in the segregated southern states ofAmerica,” the leaflets said.
“We are urging all the European football associations to support the 42 Palestinian clubs in the Gaza Strip who have called on UEFA President Michel Platini not to reward Israel for its racist discrimination against Palestinians,” said Geoff Lee, UK coordinator of Red Card Israeli Apartheid.
In Middlesborough the campaign team included members of the Northumberland County UNISON trade union branch. Leaflets were snapped up by receptive fans, said Mick Bowman of Newcastle Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
The Red Card Israeli Apartheid campaign began a year ago, after UEFA announced its decision to award Israel the 2013 under-21 finals. See here for a report on campaign action to date.