This page is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
May 26, 2015
An Israeli NGO is seeking to place Israel back on the front foot, as a campaign by the Palestinian Authority to have the Israeli Football Association kicked out of world soccer federation FIFA forges on.
The PA has taken its diplomatic offensive to isolate Israel by seeking to have the Jewish state singled out for expulsion from FIFA on the basis of security measures the PA says unfairly limits its players’ movements.
FIFA’s congress is due to discuss the motion this Friday, and FIFA President Sepp Blatter – who recently met with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to discuss the Palestinian campaign – is reportedly working with other FIFA officials to strike down the motion.
But while Israeli political and sporting officials have sought to defend their country’s record in the face of the accusations, Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center has taken a decidedly more proactive approach.
The Tel Aviv-based legal NGO announced on Tuesday that it has petitioned FIFA to expel the President of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), senior PA official Jibril Rajoub, based on gross violations of FIFA’s code of conduct, including advocating the killing of Israeli civilians living in Judea and Samaria and the use of nuclear weapons against the State of Israel.
Aside from his role in the PFA, Rajoub serves as Deputy Secretary of the Central Committee of Fatah – the parent organization of the arch-terrorist group Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which is responsible for attacks causing countless deaths and injuries among Israelis, said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Founder and President of Shurat HaDin.
In a letter to FIFA President Joseph Blatter, Darshan-Leitner emphasized that Rajoub’s remarks constitute grave breaches of his obligation to comply with FIFA’s statutes and rules prohibiting discrimination, intimidation and violence against individuals and groups.
Rajoub has “promoted, supervised and glorified” a number of attacks by Fatah and by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades against Israel, Darshan-Leitner said.
Among other comments, Rajoub has declared that Israel is “our enemy and our battle is against them.” Worse, she noted that Rajoub has said that in the armed conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorist organizations should be fought by all means, and using all weapons, and that “if we had nuclear weapons, we’d be using them.”
More recently, after Israel’s summer 2014 war with Hamas in Gaza, he openly praised the efforts of terrorists who fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israeli civilian areas.
“To say that such violent, hateful, discriminatory conduct is beneath the high ideals of FIFA for peace, sportsmanship and collegiality is to massively understate the obvious,” Darshan-Leitner said in the letter.
“Rajoub has no place in FIFA because he has cynically and brazenly flouted FIFA’s standards for conduct in Article 3 of the FIFA Statutes (August 2014) and in Article 53 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (2011 ed.),” she said.
According to FIFA’s standards, violation of the nondiscrimination statute is punishable by suspension or expulsion.
In addition, inciting hatred and violence is punishable by fines of at least 5,000 Swiss francs. If that incitement is committed through the mass media or it takes place on a game day or near a stadium, the minimum fine is 20,000 Swiss francs.
“I urge you to preserve the impartiality and good name of FIFA” and to expel him from international football’s governing organization, she said.
This is not the first time Shurat HaDin has gone on the attack in the face of attempts by the PA and other hostile groups to attack, isolate or sanction the State of Israel.
The NGO’s major focus since its founding has been aggressively litigating against state sponsors of terrorism as well as terror groups themselves, and has won tens of millions of dollars in lawsuits lodged on behalf of victims of terror.
Darshan-Leitner’s group has also taken aim at the PA’s bid to have Israel tried for alleged “war crimes” at the International Criminal Court, by lodging counter-suits against the Palestinian Authority and Hamas over their support for terrorism.