Press Release 31 October 2006

Scottish Friends of Palestine expresses its repugnance at the impending presence of the Israeli football team, Maccabi Haifa, on Scottish soil.

That this UEFA Cup match is taking place, at all, raises serious questions for Glasgow Rangers FC, the SFA and UEFA.

  • The state of Israel denies the players representing the national Palestine football team the right to travel to their training venues and fixtures. Why then is Haifa Maccabi being allowed to compete in Glasgow?
  • The state of Israel destroys the very limited training facilities of the national Palestine football team in occupied Palestine. Why then is Haifa Maccabi being allowed to compete in Glasgow?
  • Football is the acknowledged premier leisure activity for young children throughout the world. It is second nature for children to kick a ball. It is also second nature for many Israeli soldiers and reservists to shoot at young children playing football in occupied Palestine. If the ball strays too close to Israel’s infamous concrete wall and razor wire fence, the young footballers are targeted – some have been killed. If youngsters decide to break a monotonous curfew by having a game of football, death is a near certainty for those infringing the rules of the occupier. Why then is Haifa Maccabi being allowed to compete in Glasgow?

Maccabi Haifa is one of the many Israeli institutions which seeks to put a civilised face on the state of Israel, a state which has just allowed one of its most racist and fascist politicians, Avigdor Lieberman, access to a position of power in the current Israeli coalition government. That Scotland is now about to host this illusion of a civilised Israel is a source of shame.

Maccabi Haifa is a representative of the Israeli state. It is representative of a state which represses, humiliates and brutalises the Palestinian people under military occupation. A state which denies the Palestinian people their rights, which steals their land and economic resources. A state which denies the Palestinian people, under occupation, their newly elected democracy and is increasingly imposing genocidal conditions on the Palestinian people.

Scottish Friends of Palestine is a firm advocate of the total boycott of all Israeli institutions, academic and cultural bodies and Israeli products – until as such times that the Israeli state ceases to boycott the rights of the Palestinian people, and international law as it pertains to the Palestinian people.

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