Category Archives: france

PROTEST FORCES PLATINI TO DEFEND UEFA UNDER-21 FINALS IN ISRAEL

RED CARD ISRAELI RACISM NEWS RELEASE
See also Ali Abunimah’s report on Electronic Intifada
(Pictures courtesy of Euro-Palestine)
Michel Platini obliged to share the limelight with a Palestinian football shirt held by French campaigner Olivia Zemor

Michel Platini obliged to share the limelight with a Palestinian football shirt held by French campaigner Olivia Zemor

Campaigners occupy the reception area at the headquarters of European football's governing body UEFA

Campaigners occupy the reception area at the headquarters of
European football’s governing body UEFA

A protester's poster highlights Israel's detention of football players

A protester’s poster highlights Israel’s detention of football players

PROTEST FORCES PLATINI TO DEFEND UEFA UNDER-21 FINALS IN ISRAEL
  • Pro-Palestinian campaigners occupy entrance to UEFA’s Swiss HQ
  • Platini says he will “think about” Israel hosting Euro 2013
  • 6,000 signature petition handed over, more protests planned
Dozens of pro-Palestinian campaigners brought growing anger over Israel hosting this year’s European under-21 football finals right to UEFA’s door on Friday (January 25), forcing the organisation’s president Michel Platini to grant them a hearing at his headquarters in Nyon , Switzerland.
Platini had previously spurned calls from sources as diverse as the president of the Palestinian Football Association, internationally renowned film-maker Ken Loach and a list of more than 50 football stars including Frederic Kanoute and Didier Drogba, not to reward Israel for its flouting of Palestinian human rights.
On Friday he gave the first hint that he was listening to the protests, saying in a televised news conference after a meeting of UEFA’s Executive Committee  that he would “think about it and take a decision in the current year”.
Olivia Zemor of French campaign group Euro-Palestine, leading the activists who crowded into UEFA’s reception area in Nyon, charged Platini with ignoring Israel ’s active discrimination against Palestinians – not only restrictions on movement but destruction of facilities, detention without trial of players and the killing of young boys playing football.
Campaigners also noted that of the grounds likely to be used for the men’s junior tournament on June 5-18, one is on land seized from two Palestinian villages, one is beside a largely destroyed village and a third is a stadium from which a Palestinian club was expelled in 1948.
The protests shamed Platini into pledging to “see what he could do” about the detention for almost a year of Palestinian Olympic squad goalkeeper Omar Abu Rois and Ramallah player Mohammed Nimr.
Last May, as a mounting international campaign forced Israel to release hunger striking Palestinian national team player Mahmoud Sarsak after three years in detention, Platini rebuffed calls to relocate Euro 2013 claiming Israel would host a “beautiful games”.
Since then support has grown around Europe for the Red Card Israeli Racism campaign which is calling on football enthusiasts who care about human rights to take the following actions in the months leading up to the June finals.
  • Continue adding signatures to the almost 6000 names already on the Red Card petitiion
  • Join protests at the next ExCom meeting in March (venue to be announced)
  • Mobilise for protests at UEFA’s Congress in London on May 24
  • Organise anti-racist football tournaments to draw attention to the plight of the game in Palestine

Contact:  info@rcir.org.uk

FURTHER INFORMATION
1. Full report of Nyon protests including still photos
 2.Video from Nyon plus links to media reports.
3.   Israel ’s U-21 championship venues:
a)  Bloomfield  – before Israeli forces occupied  Jaffa  in 1948, the ground was known as Basa (swamp) Stadium, home to local  Jaffa  team Shabab el-Arab. They were expelled and later formed Shabab el-Nassera in  Nazareth . In January 1949 the Basa stadium was given to the Hapoel Tel Aviv team by the Israeli “custodian of absentee property”.
b) Teddy Stadium, named after former  Jerusalem  mayor Teddy Kollek, is beside an almost entirely destroyed village, al-Maliha.
c) Reserve stadium at  Ramat Gan  was built on land seized under the Absentee Property Owners Law of 1950 from the Palestinian villages of Jarisha and al-Jammasin al-Sharqi.
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BUILD PRESSURE ON UEFA TO “RED CARD ISRAELI APARTHEID”

Six months have passed since the 2011 UEFA Under-21s competition in Denmark and the launch of a campaign to persuade European football’s governing body to reverse its decision granting Israel the junior final in 2013.

Photo: Agence-France Presse

So far UEFA President Michel Platini has stubbornly refused to respond  to the appeal last June from 42 football clubs in besieged Gaza, not to reward Israel for its persistent infringements of Palestinian rights.

This is despite a steady stream of protests including a pitch invasion by French protesters,  a “Love Football, Hate Apartheid” action in Ireland and publication of a letter signed by high-profile individuals in two leading European newspapers.

The letter, over the names of renowned diplomat Stephane Hessel,  film-maker Ken Loach and Nobel Peace Prizewinner  Mairead Maguire among others, appeared in both the Irish Times and the UK Guardian.

“A state that uses military might to hold sway over land it illegally occupies and exploits, flouts international law and ignores UN resolutions surely forfeits the right to be treated as a member of the community of nations,” the letter said.

It called on UEFA to “respond positively” to the appeal from the 42 Gazan football clubs, backed by many sporting bodies.

Supporters of  the Red Card Israeli Apartheid campaign are now preparing to ratchet up the action with direct approaches to national football association presidents, supporters clubs and fans.

“UEFA is faced with serious ethical and moral problems by the choice of an Israeli venue for the finals,” said London-based campaign coordinator Geoff Lee. “With all the concern about racism in and around the game at the moment, it’s time to wake up to the fact that Israel’s entrenched discrimination against Palestinians amounts to systematic racism affecting football along with  the rest of society.”

Add your voice to the campaign by using this e-tool set up by the  Palestine Solidarity Campaign and following it on the BDSmovement website.

http://www.bdsmovement.net/2011/red-card-uefa-campaign-8178#.TvNpdOXoyTx

Irish Times publishes UEFA Under-21 protest letter

The Irish Times has published a protest letter challenging UEFA’s decision to let Israel host the Under 21 finals in 2013 Irish Times.

The letter (appearing under the headline “Israel to host tournament”), mirrors one published in the UK Guardian a month ago, with the addition of prominent Irish names including that of  1976 Nobel Peace Prizewinner  Mairead Maguire.

This marks another step in the Red Card Israeli Apartheid campaign after a recent pitch invasion by French protesters and a “Love Football, Hate Apartheid” action in Ireland.

Photo: Agence-France Presse

European football’s governing body has yet to reply to an appeal from Palestinian football clubs in June not to reward Israel for its persistent infringements of Palestinian rights.

Red Card Israeli Apartheid campaign scores in France and Ireland

Pitch invasions by French protesters and a “Love Football, Hate Apartheid” action in Ireland last week expressed growing outrage at  UEFA’s decision to let Israel host the Under 21 football final in 2013.

Photo: Agence-France Presse

European football’s governing body has yet to reply to an appeal from Palestinian football clubs in June not to reward Israel for its persistent infringements of Palestinian rights. This is despite a deluge of protest messages to UEFA president Michel Platini and a direct challenge from prominent Europeans published in a UK national newspaper.

French protesters invaded the pitch five times when Israel’s national women’s team played at Troyes on October 26. Irish campaigners used leaflets and banners to get their message across at another women’s European Cup qualifier at Tallaght stadium on October 22.

Photo: Irish PSC

Martin O’Quigley of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: “Some say that sport and politics should not mix, however we say that sport and racism should never mix.”

He drew a comparison with the sporting boycott against South Africa, which was one of the most effective tools employed in ostracising that state and revealing to the world its Apartheid regime and disregard for human rights.

O’Quigley said that while Israeli teams can travel and play freely,  Israeli authorities regularly refuse visas to Palestinian female and male footballers alike.

According to Stephane Mahon, an organiser for the French campaigning group EuroPalestine, five girls and boys wearing green boycott Israel T-shirts or carrying Palestinian flags ran onto the pitch during the second half of the France-Israel match at Troyes. The last young woman suffered a cracked rib while being roughly handled by ground staff.

This is not shown on the video because the camera operator and other activists were ejected from the ground while the protest was going on.

Go to the BDS website for information on how to support the Red Card campaign.