Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
التضامن الإيرلندي الفلسطيني

[Dublin] Love Football, Hate Apartheid: Protest at Ireland v Israel women’s match

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), will hold a peaceful protest at the Irish Women’s soccer team European Cup qualifier with Israel in Tallaght on Saturday 22nd October 2011.

The match itself kicks-off at 3pm. Our protest starts at 2pm and will take place outside the stadium.

Banners reading, ‘Love Football, Hate Apartheid’, ‘Boycott Israeli Apartheid’ and ‘Unity against Occupation’ will be displayed alongside Palestinian flags. We certainly don’t want to “hijack” this game are asking our supporters not to interrupt the game under any circumstances. The protest will take place outside and will be a peaceful act of solidarity with the people of Palestine.

The protest will call for a sporting boycott of Israeli football teams due to the Apartheid nature of the Israeli State. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) have confirmed that this game falls under their Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) guidelines.

This will be the third visit of an Israeli to Ireland in two years so 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 state.

Some 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 points 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.

While the Israeli team can travel and play freely, the Israeli government denies such basic everyday freedoms to the Palestinian women’s football team . The Palestinian women’s team needs to practice on concrete soccer pitches, since the only real soccer field in the West Bank is in Jericho, semi-inaccessible because of stringent Israeli military checkpoints. Women players from Gaza have not been able to leave the strip and play with the rest of the team for many years now. Travelling abroad is fraught with difficulties, with Israeli authorities regularly refusing visas to Palestinian female and male footballers alike. In 2005 the coach of the Palestinian women’s team resigned after being detained and interrogated for hours at the border by Israeli authorities; he found the experience too traumatic to repeat. Furthermore, iIn 2006 the football stadium in Gaza was bombed by the IDF.

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