Israel should learn from apartheid past
THE cancellation of the Israel-Argentina friendly in Jerusalem at the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, which was once home to a Palestinian village, comes not only as the World Cup is about to begin, but also as Israeli-Palestinian tensions have risen to a boiling point.
The World Cup is the most watched sporting event around the globe.
In recent weeks, Israeli soldiers have killed more than 100 Palestinian demonstrators protesting near the Gaza Strip border. This is a game-changer on so many levels.
We remember that the sports boycott of South Africa played a critical role in de-normalising apartheid by impacting the country where it would be felt most – teams and athletes refused to compete with the apartheid state in cricket, rugby, soccer, many other sports, and at the Olympics.
We are reminded of the cultural figures who, one after the other, announced proudly and publicly that they would not perform in South Africa, likewise garnering massive support for the anti-apartheid movement and speeding the fall of that regime.
The sports boycott forced many people who might not otherwise have done so to reckon with the issue of apartheid.
In the 1980s, the world was fed up with the apartheid regime and decided to initiate sanctions against South Africa, which helped to topple apartheid. It is time for the world to rally behind sanctions on Israel in a similar fashion, until it complies with international law.
The Israelis claim anti-Semitism is behind the boycott, but they don’t see the real reason: the occupation of Palestinian lands and the subjugation of the Palestinians over the years. Israel needs to learn to follow international law.
The boycott is a teaching tool, nothing more. ZAAKIR SAID