BDS pressures Northern Ireland to cancel soccer match with Israel on 9/11

A September 11 football match in Belfast may not take place if anti-Israel organizations have their way, though chances are slim that they will succeed.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Supporters of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement, such as the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, are putting pressure on the Irish Football Association (IFA) to cancel the “friendly” between Northern Ireland and Israel as a way to “take a stand for justice.”

Their rhetoric includes allegations that Israel is an apartheid state that “violently oppresses” Palestinians.

Sources that contacted WIN doubted the BDS activists would succeed. They said that unlike the Republic of Ireland, where there is a strong pro-Palestinian lobby, there was little chance the team of Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, has a large Protestant population and a strong pro-Israel lobby, would cave in to BDS.

Another group, the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), claimed that the amputees on a disabled Gazan football team had lost their limbs during “peaceful protests against Israel on the Gaza border.”

The months-long violent clashes at the border, however, were well-documented in the media, with many showing demonstrators trying to rush the border in order to destroy the security apparatus and/or kill Israeli soldiers and civilians.

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The anti-Israel groups asked the IFA to follow in the footsteps of the Argentinean national team, which abruptly called off a pre-World Cup exhibition match that was supposed to have been played in Israel, caving to pressure and threats.

The players confirmed that this was the reason for their pull-out, with striker Gonzalo Higuain saying in June, “Good health and common sense come first and we think the right thing was not to go.”

The IFA, the football league for Northern Ireland, has already rejected calls by Irish party Sinn Fein in June to cancel the match. At the time, Irish lawmakers heavily criticized the party for dragging politics into sports.