By Al Qalam Reporter
BDS-South Africa has warmly welcomed Argentina’s cancellation of a football World Cup warm-up match with Israel after soldiers of the Zionist state cold bloodedly mowed down over 100 Palestinian protesters at the Gaza border fence two weeks ago.
Kwara-Kekana, spokesperson for the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement (BDS-South Africa) said in a press statement this week that her organization “salutes BDS Argentina, the BDS counterparts in Spain and those from across the world who called on and rallied against the match.”
“The game was scheduled to take place this coming weekend (June 9) at Israel’s Teddy stadium – a stadium built on the ruins of an Israeli-destroyed Palestinian village,” Kekana said.
“BDS South Africa joins Palestinians, our progressive Jewish Israeli allies, fellow South Africans and peace loving peoples of the world in welcoming the cancellation by the Argentinian football team – led by Barcelona FC’s Lionel Messi – of their World Cup warm-up match with Israel. Argentinian player, Gonzalo “El Pipa” Higuaín, who is also a striker for the Italian football-club Juventus told ESPN: “the right thing was not to go to Israel.” As a people who experienced Apartheid, we agree – no normal sport with an abnormal regime!
Kekana added: “This boycott victory comes amid a wave of new support for BDS since Israel’s killing of more than 110 Palestinians in Gaza. This includes cancellations of Israeli events by Hollywood’s Natalie Portman, musician Shakira, Brazilian artist Gilberto Gil and Portugal’s national theatre director Tiago Rodrigues. In addition several UK bands have proactively endorsed the BDS cultural boycott of Israel. The South African government has recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv “until further notice”.
Messi has previously expressed support for the Palestinian cause. In 2014, the then UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, shared on his Facebook a picture of an injured Palestinian child and pleaded for the violence to stop.
Palestinian footballer, Mahmoud Obeid, who was recently shot by Israeli snipers in both of his knees (ending a promising football career) was one of the many Palestinians who participated in the campaign.
But Israel’s defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman was fuming. He tweeted. “too bad” Argentina’s footballers did not “withstand the pressure of the Israeli-hating inciters”.
“We will not yield before a pack of anti-Semitic terrorist supporters.”
In Gaza, the news was met with much jubilation.
BBC reported that in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Football Association issued a statement thanking Argentina striker Lionel Messi and his teammates.
“What happened… is a red card from the rest of the world to Israelis,” the association’s president, Jibril Rajoub, told a news conference.
The Israel Football Association said it viewed “with severity the physical and brutal threats, which crossed every red line”, made by Rajoub.
It vowed to “do everything in its power in the world football institutions to make Rajoub and the Palestinian FA accountable”.
The campaign group Avaaz, which had called for the game to be cancelled, praised Argentina’s football team for what it called a “brave ethical decision”.