IHRC calls upon all campaigners to contact Arsenal FC to protest against their decision to sign a sponsorship deal to promote Israel as a tourist destination. The campaign is supported by the Palestinian Return Centre, Innovative Minds, Friends of al Aqsa, the British Muslim Initiative, the Muslim Association of Britain, the Palestinian Forum in Britain and the Scottish-Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.
Arsenal Football Club has just signed a sponsorship deal to promote Israel as a tourist destination from next season. The £350,000 agreement makes Israel Arsenal's "official and exclusive travel destination." Below are just some of the benefits Israel will receive from this deal:
- Israel will be featured on digital perimeter boards and 450 high-definition LCD screens at the stadium on game days;
- Israel will feature on the team's website, Arsenal.com; and in its magazine.
- The televised ads will reach audiences in an estimated 198 countries.
- The Israeli Tourism Ministry will receive intellectual property rights, the use of the team logo and the right to use photos of the team and its players in ads.
- The Israeli Tourism Minister will be allowed use the stadium banqueting hall twice a year and organize an exhibition at the end of the playing season
- The stadium will hold permanent sale tables for Israel t-shirts
The financial advisers Ernst & Young were employed to draft this proposal with the aim of bringing an extra 2 million tourists to Israel annually.
Israel is a racist apartheid state built upon the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Arab population from Palestine. Anti-apartheid campaigners such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu have stated as much and called for a complete boycott of Israel similar to that used against apartheid South Africa.
Israel’s apartheid policies include the segregation of West Bank roads by the military and the construction of a vast steel and concrete barrier through the West Bank and Jerusalem. Dubbed the "apartheid wall" by human rights activists, because it forces communities apart and grabs land, it was held to be in violation of international law by the International Court of Justice. Israel’s plan to carve up the West Bank, apportioning pieces of territory to the Palestinians is also comparable with South Africa's "bantustans" - the nominally independent homelands into which millions of black men and women were herded.
Israel's racial discrimination is daily life of most Palestinian Arabs who have no place in a "Jewish" state. Since Israel is a Jewish state, Israeli Jews are given special rights which non-Jews do not have. Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians of their liberty and property and has waged a war against a civilian population, in particular children.
As regards football, Israeli human rights groups have documented how Israeli soldiers routinely shoot Palestinian children playing football outside their refugee camps. Furthermore, Israeli authorities regularly prevent Palestinian players from attending international games. In September 2004, five players were prevented from traveling to the World Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan. Unable to play in Palestine, the team travels to Doha, Qatar, for "home" games and trains in Ismailia, Egypt, more than 100 miles from the local Gaza players' homes.
For a full detailed analysis of the apartheid in Israel and its parallels with apartheid South Africa, please read Chris McGreal’s excellent 2-part report in the Guardian at the links below:
For Arsenal to sign a deal to promote such a state is to go against the very principles of ‘Kicking Racism out of Football’. Amazingly, Arsenal’s Managing Director who signed the deal, Keith Edelman stated after the deal was signed, “We are in the forefront of the anti-racism campaign in England”. This deal will no doubt put this reputation into serious question.
For additional information about Arsenal’s links to Israel and Israel’s treatment of Palestinian footballers, please visit.
IHRC urges all campaigners to:
a) Contact Arsenal Football Club reminding them that Israel is a racist apartheid state which is consistently in breach of international law in its human rights abuses; that it routinely shoots Palestinian children playing football; and that such a deal endangers Arsenal’s anti-racist reputation:
Commercial and Marketing Department
Arsenal Football Club
London N5 1BU
Tel. 020 7704 4170
Fax. 020 7704 4171
b) Contact the Football Association’s ‘Kick Racism out of Football’ Campaign reminding them that Israel is a racist apartheid state which is consistently in breach of international law in its human rights abuses; that it routinely shoots Palestinian children playing football; that such a deal endangers the FA’s anti-racist reputation and the Kick it Out campaign itself. Ask the FA to use its influence to prevent the deal going ahead:
Kick It Out
PO Box 29544
T: 020 7684 4884
F: 020 7684 4885
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For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below.
Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183