On September 11, a friendly match between the Israeli and Northern Ireland soccer teams is scheduled to take place in Belfast, Ireland, but Lev HaOlam founder, attorney Nati Rom has sent us an email warning that BDS groups have turned their cross hairs on the match and are working to get it cancelled.
BDS groups in Ireland and the ISPC group, which works to spread the boycott across Ireland, have begun a campaign calling on the Northern Irish Football Association (IFA), which is part of the United Kingdom, to cancel the friendly match between the two national teams. As part of the campaign, the BDS groups have released photos of Gazan Arabs with missing limbs playing soccer, and suggested that “nearly 90 per cent of its players lost limbs due to Israel’s violent military attacks on the civilian population.”
There is a soccer team in the Gaza Strip whose members are all amputees, much like many other countries whose clubs for disabled athletes compete in the Paralympic Games, which are organized in parallel with the Olympic Games. Back in July, Managing Director of the Palestine Amputee Football Association Mahmoud Al-Naouq announced (Amputee football: Gaza’s first squad kicks in to action): “This is the first football team of amputees in Palestine, and it was formed as part of personal efforts to emphasize the right of people with special needs to play any sport, and show how they love life just like anyone else in the world.”
Al-Naouq said nothing about his players’ amputations resulting from injuries sustained during clashes at the border with Israel (see his quote at the end of the clip below).
The BDS groups also noted that the previously scheduled match between Argentina and Israel was cancelled and urged Northern Ireland to do the same. “Israel uses international sporting events to advance its failed image, while in truth it becomes more and more isolated,” the campaign argues.
They added slanderous statements against Israel, such as, “Israel kidnaps Palestinian Children in frightening night-time raids,” and “Israel is massacring Palestinians without discrimination.”
Irish political party Sinn Féin supports the BDS call for the cancellation. Culture Arts and Sport spokesperson Sinéad Ennis called on the IFA to cancel the game, saying that she had made the request on “the back of the recent massacre of over 100 demonstrators and the maiming of thousands more by the Israeli army.”
“Sinn Féin support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel under which cultural, academic and sporting links fall,” Ennis said, following her meeting with the IFA.