This past October, The Lawfare Project (LP) sent a letter — co-authored with UK Lawyers for Israel and signed by dozens of leading international attorneys — to Tokyo Sexwale, Chairman of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Monitoring Committee for Israel and Palestine, informing him of glaring and continuous violations of the FIFA statutes and codes by the Palestinian Football Association (PFA).
Yesterday, the LP’s efforts were covered by Inside World Football, in an article also reporting on a “detailed and highly damning file on Palestinian football leader Jibril Rajoub,” prepared for FIFA by Palestinian Media Watch.
LP Director Brooke Goldstein opined, “For too long, the PFA has used the sport to promote terrorism in a most egregious manner, unabashedly celebrating acts of terror and naming teams after mass murderers. By punishing Muslims who play with Jews, the PFA is actively and intentionally preventing normalization between Israelis and Arabs. As usual, innocent Muslim children are among the primary victims of the Palestinians’ abuses of FIFA — indeed, the PFA directly encourages children (and others) to commit suicide-homicide bombings. Now that FIFA has been informed of the PFA’s nefarious doings, it can no longer remain silent. Inaction will only send the message that FIFA condones such overt abuse of its institution.”
According to Jonathan Turner, Chair of UK Lawyers for Israel, “There is overwhelming evidence that Jibril Rajoub and the PFA are misusing football to promote hatred, racism, and terrorism, in flagrant violation of FIFA’s principles, statutes and code of ethics. The Lawfare Project’s letter, which I co-signed, sets out numerous examples in the last few years. Now that this evidence has been provided to FIFA’s monitoring committee on Israel and Palestine, as well as its Ethics Committee, FIFA must insist that this misconduct cease. Football should be used to promote peace not violence. Everyone should be allowed to play football in a spirit of fair play without being used as a tool for furthering a political agenda.”
The first portion of the article begins below:
Palestine’s Rajoub Under Fire From Media Watchdog
As Israeli Supporters Up the Ante
By Andrew Warshaw
An Israeli-based media watchdog has sent a detailed and highly damning file on Palestine football leader Jibril Rajoub to FIFA in the latest tit-for-tat exchange over the sensitive issue over Israel’s treatment of Palestinian players and officials in the occupied territories.
. . .
[The aggressively-worded, 21-page dossier] is backed by an equally strident letter sent . . . by The Lawfare Project, a non-profit international think tank based in New York with a network of 350 legal experts worldwide.
Entitled Violations of FIFA Statutes and Codes by the Palestinian Football Association, the letter accuses the PFA of itself operating a policy of preventing any contact between Palestinian and Israeli footballers “and penalizing any Palestinians who participate in football games with Israelis.”
It provides numerous examples of this including a match in September 2014 involving some 80 Palestinian and Israeli boys between the ages of 6 and 16 as part of a programme organised by the Peres Centre for Peace. Rajoub is accused of responding by stating: “Any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity” and demanding that “all individuals and institutions distance themselves from such activities”.
In its submission to Sexwale, the group of lawyers cites a series of FIFA statutes it claims have been breached by the PFA and accuses Rajoub of personally using football “to promote a divisive and hateful political campaign, contrary to the spirit and principles of FIFA and of international sport generally.”