Wednesday, July 14, 2010

'Love Football Hate Apartheid' Protest at Europa Cup Qualifier in Tallaght

('Palestinian Solidarity in Sligo' article follows)

Tomorrow evening in the Tallaght Stadium, Shamrock Rovers kick off their Europa League campaign. Their opponents in this, the second round of qualifiers, are Israeli side Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv FC. 

In support of the Boycott Divestment &Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, a protest is to be held outside the stadium tomorrow evening before the game. The demonstration, which has been organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) and supported by éirígí, the Palestinian Rights Institute (PRI) and the Irish Anti War Movement (IAWM), will commence at 7pm, with the game kicking off at 8pm.

Expressing his support for the protest, éirígí Sligeach activist Gerry Casey said that Israel must be boycotted completely, including in areas such as sports and culture.

Casey said: “Israel is a rogue apartheid state with a worse human rights record than apartheid era South Africa. The zionist regime must learn that there is a heavy price to pay for their war crimes, human rights abuses and continual denial of freedom and sovereignty to the people of Palestine.”

He added: "Just as with the South African regime, Israel must be must be treated like the pariah state that it is.  It must be shunned and boycotted completely.  This includes football teams such as Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv FC and other sports sides from the zionist state.”

Referring to the fact that Israeli teams rarely visit Ireland IPSC National Chairperson Freda Hughes said that “we are taking this opportunity to raise awareness of the Apartheid nature of the Israeli State and the need for a sporting boycott of teams that act as ambassadors for that rogue state. We are also calling on Shamrock Rovers fans not to travel to Israel for the return leg of the game as an act of solidarity with the Palestinian people."

Ms Hughes continued: "Some people say that sport and politics should not mix, however we say that sport and racism should never mix - hence the theme of our protest, 'Love Football, Hate Apartheid'. The IPSC would point to 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. We believe that this tactic can also be used to help force the Israeli state to comply fully with its obligations under international law and show respect for Palestinian human rights."

Ms Hughes concluded: "Palestinian teams have consistently been refused visas to travel to competitions, and aren't afforded the same training facilities and funding as Israeli teams. Restrictions on movement both within the West Bank and between the West Bank and Gaza further compound the difficulties that Palestinian footballers face. In 2006 the football stadium in Gaza was bombed by the IDF. We will use this protest to raise awareness amongst football fans of these issues and hope that Shamrock Rovers and their fans will support the boycott as an effective form of direct action in future."

The protest will commence at 7PM outside Tallaght Stadium.  Bígí Linn 

Palestinian Solidarity in Sligo

As previous reported here, the IPSC launched a nationwide petition last Friday (July 9) calling on Dunnes Stores to cease stocking Israeli goods.  This was launched as part of International Boycott Sanctions & Divestment (BDS) Weekend against Israel.

On Saturday IPSC activists and supporters braved an afternoon of torrential rain to hold an information stall, distribute leaflets and gather signatures for the petition on O'Connell Street in Sligo.  

Despite the heavy rain, hundreds of people took the time to stop, sign the petition and express support for the IPSC's boycott campaign.  

Activists will be continuing to gather signatures for the petition over the next couple of weeks before they will be handed into Dunnes Stores.  If you want copies of the petition to sign or distribute e mail or download it here.

The IPSC are also setting up a branch in the Sligo region.  The first meeting takes place this Saturday at 7PM in McGarrigles Bar, Sligo.  All those interested in joining the IPSC and supporting the people of Palestine in their struggle for justice and freedom are more than welcome to attend.  Contact or click here for more information.

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