The IFA welcomes teams from illegal settlements into its leagues and competitions. It has racially segregated part of its national children’s league, incurring legal action. It has never once disciplined Beitar Jerusalem FC for that club’s longstanding apparent ban on the hiring of Arab players, or taken serious action to curb the notorious anti-Arab violence of its supporters. Two years of diplomacy have failed to secure change, and Fifa must now take punitive action in defence of its humanitarian ethos. Its 30-year exclusion of South Africa from its ranks provides a precedent for the action that is required. The lesson, surely, is that there can be no “positive engagement” with apartheid – only principled opposition.
Fifa owes it to all Palestinians to uphold their right to fully access football by supporting the call from the Palestinian FA for suspension of the IFA.
John Berger, Rodney Bickerstaffe, Breyten Breytenbach, Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Pat Gaffney, Rev Garth Hewitt, Ronnie Kasrils, Aki Kaurismaki, Bruce Kent, Ken Loach, Michael Mansfield, Miriam Margolyes, John Pilger, Bob Russell, Salman Abu Sita, Ahdaf Soueif, Jenny Tonge, Benjamin Zephaniah