Activists mobilise to knock out Davis Cup tourney between SA and Israel

By Al Qalam Reporter

The Palestinian Solidarity Alliance together with sister solidarity organisations have planned a major protest action to stop the Davis Cup tennis tournament between South African and Israel from going ahead. It is scheduled to take place at the Irene Country Club in Johannesburg on February 2-5.

The Proposed Protest Action is in support of the International BDS Movement’s call for the isolation of Apartheid Israel.

The Davis Cup is the premier international team event in men’s tennis. It is run by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and is contested annually between teams from competing countries in a knockout format. The South African men’s team has earned a Davis Cup home tie.

In a statement, Cde Firoza Mayet, spokesperson of the Palestinian Solidarity Alliance, said: “As South Africans, we know that a significant part of our resistance against apartheid was the international sports boycott as it rallied anti-apartheid activists worldwide. The slogan ‘no normal sport in an abnormal society’ encapsulated the conviction that as long as the racist, apartheid regime excluded the majority of its people from participating in society as equals, it would also be excluded from participating in international sports competitions as equals. The sports boycott thus contributed towards the complete isolation of South Africa, which in turn contributed towards the unbanning of black political organisations and ultimately towards the first democratic elections in 1994.

“For white South Africans, sporting isolation was a bitter pill to swallow. Similarly, for Israeli citizens, sport is closely tied to their national identity. The symbolic effects of sporting sanctions would send a message that denying Palestinians with privileges that would enable them to compete internationally on an equal basis is not acceptable and that all Israeli sports events would be forced to withdraw from the International community of sports.

“Occupied Palestine, like apartheid South Africa, is an abnormal society that favours particularly ‘White’ Jews over all others. Palestinians are governed through a draconian military occupation and suffer from increasing brutality, mass imprisonment and poverty. Daily, Palestinians basic human rights are being eroded, their land and homes occupied, their children are murdered, maimed or imprisoned, while nearly 3 million Gazans experience the genocide of a 12 year siege on the enclave.

“As people who stand in solidarity against colonial occupation, oppression and injustice we must mobilise for a full sports boycott of Israel. This can be a very powerful tool that could prove crucial in the Palestinian case, forcing a much broader conversation about the Israeli occupation and potentially representing one of the most significant threats yet to the status quo.

“The Palestinian Solidarity Alliance has called on organization to join the planned protest action.

“Please discuss amongst your members and confirm your participation and the support we can expect as well as what support may be needed. Through our united and combined efforts we can strike a significant blow against the racist Israelis”.

For more information, please contact: Firoza on 0836346093; Irfaan on 0729108483 or Mitchelon 0716253179

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