When sports gets corrupted by the Palestinian Authority

Why condone terror against athletes wanting to play in Israel? The world should hold the P.A. accountable for its threats.

Anti-Israel protester demanding the cancelation of a friendly Argentinian soccer match in Jerusalem. Source: Facebook.
Anti-Israel protester demanding the cancelation of a friendly Argentinian soccer match in Jerusalem. Source: Facebook.
Farley Weiss
Farley Weiss is chairman of the Israel Heritage Foundation (IHF) and former president of the National Council of Young Israel.

The Argentinian national soccer team cancelled its scheduled game in Israel due to Palestinian Arab terrorist death threats against its members. Yet somehow, the Israeli government is being blamed because they wanted the match held in Jerusalem. Why isn’t the outrage being directed at those making these abhorrent threats of violence against soccer players?

The 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich were forever changed by the Palestinian Arab terrorist attack that tragically ended with the murder of 11 Israeli athletes. Astonishingly, the Palestinian Authority has been able to field an Olympic team for many years while honoring the terrorists as heroes and also blocking any memorial to the victims. International sports is now once again the venue for terroristic threats; the current intimidation of the Argentinian soccer teams shows yet again that civilized, peace-loving people should not remain silent in response to those threats. The president of the Palestinian Authority Football Association, Jibril Rajoub, called on the Argentina soccer team to cancel the game, and for “everyone to burn their [Lionel] Messi shirts and pictures, and to renounce him.” (This is the same Rajoub who led efforts to prevent any recognition in the Olympics of the Israeli athletes murdered in Munich.) The death threats against Messi and other members of the Argentinian team cannot be condoned, and it is another reason why the Palestinian Authority should not be allowed to have an Olympics team.

Ignoring (really, passively accepting) the reliably outrageous behavior of Palestinian Arabs needs to end. The Palestinian Authority, or “P.A.,” is the only government in the world that has a law that rewards those who commit murder—i.e., the more Jews and Americans you kill, the more money a terrorist and his or her family makes. The P.A. terror budget for this is now more than $350 million, or approximately 7 percent of its entire annual budget. The hatred is not just contained in this one law but is systematically embedded in its educational system, which holds up murderers of Jews as people to emulate to the point where schools and streets are named after terrorist murderers. Current P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas financed the Olympic Munich massacre, and his speeches to world forums includes anti-Semitic diatribes and Holocaust denial. It is therefore not surprising that an ADL study showed that more than 90 percent of Palestinian Arabs hold anti-Semitic views. The world needs to make it clear that such hatred is unacceptable; only then can we hope that such conduct would change.

A great example of standing up to the hideousness of the P.A. comes from American states that have addressed BDS efforts to penalize Israel. States have not only refused to comply with efforts to boycott, sanction and divest from Israel, but have passed laws that prohibit states from doing business with individuals and companies that do boycott Israel. As it relates to the Olympic Games, the National Council of Young Israel is launching a campaign—and hoping other organizations and people will join—to prevent the P.A. from fielding an Olympic team unless the P.A. first issues a formal apology for the Munich Olympics and pays reparations to families of the victims. This is the minimum requirement that should have been made before they were ever allowed to compete. Future Olympics should follow the example of the 2018 Winter Olympics (during which Russian athletes competed without a Russian team); if the P.A. is banned from competing, individual Palestinian Arabs could compete without an official team. However, in order to compete, the individual Palestinian Arabs would have to be compelled to sign a document condemning the Olympic Munich massacre (quite frankly, all Olympians should sign such a document to compete).

Blaming the Israeli prime minister or sports minister for moving the Argentinian soccer game to Jerusalem is wrong. Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, and the location of the game was planned in the western part of Jerusalem that Israel has controlled since 1949. Even Russia recognizes West Jerusalem as part of Israel’s capital. The opposition is not to Jerusalem; it is to Israel itself.

The fundamental issue remains that the P.A. does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and inculcates Palestinians that murdering Jews and Americans is not just condoned, but praiseworthy and lucrative. If steps are taken to make such abhorrent conduct unacceptable (as the Taylor Force Act has begun to do) and impose consequences on such conduct, only then will there be a chance for such conduct to change.

It’s as simple as standing up for what is right and to defeat those who advocate spread terror in the world, especially when such terror threats frighten sports team from playing in Israel.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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