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Asian Football Confederation Backs Proposal to Suspend Israel From FIFA Amid War in Gaza

Soccer fans carrying an Israeli flag at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Photo: Reuters/Henry Romero.

Asia’s governing body for soccer on Thursday announced its support for a proposal by the Palestine Football Association (PFA) to suspend Israel from FIFA due to its military campaign targeting Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa made the announcement at the 34th AFC Congress in Bangkok, Thailand.

“The AFC is only as strong as its members and when one suffers, all its other members are affected,” Salman told delegates. “The AFC stands together with the Palestine FA, and we join them in seeking effective football-related solutions to the grievances raised by the Palestine FA in their proposal.”

AFC’s 47-member Congress includes Australia, Jordan, Lebanon, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. FIFA President Gianni Infantino also attended the gathering on Thursday.

“We, as a football community and as a governing body of the most popular sport in the world, have a statutory commitment to uphold the FIFA and AFC objectives and take appropriate steps to prevent infringements of FIFA and AFC statutes and regulations,” Salman added. “It is our duty to support the Palestine FA for a swift and effective resolution in line with the  rules, regulations, and statutes of the AFC and FIFA.”

AFC’s president additionally said the governing body is committed to standing in “solidarity and unity” with the PFA. “There is potential for us to play a dynamic role in standing up for human rights, including within our own sphere of operations,” he said.

During AFC’s Congress on Thursday, delegates stood for a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the Israel-Hamas war and were shown a video that drew attention to the destruction in the Gaza Strip caused by the conflict, which Hamas started with its deadly rampage across southern Israel on Oct. 7. The Israeli military has responded with a campaign aimed at freeing the hostages abducted by Hamas and destroying the Palestinian terrorist group, which rules Gaza.

The AFC Congress took place one day before the 74th FIFA Congress, where the governing body will address the PFA’s motion to ban Israel’s teams from international competitions. PFA’s President Jibril Rajoub thanked the AFC Congress for its stance and said he hopes to garner more support from the FIFA Congress on Friday.

“I hope that FIFA President Gianni Infantino realizes the meaning and content of what Sheikh Salman said, supporting the implementation of international laws to protect Palestinian sports,” Rajoub said. “Tomorrow, at the FIFA General Assembly meeting, our battle will be launched by the Asian Confederation in solidarity with us, and we hope to continue to align and support it in the International Congress in accordance with FIFA’s regulations and laws.” He also accused Israel of “racist practices” and “genocide” targeting Palestinians.

In March, PFA formally submitted a proposal to FIFA that called for Israel’s removal from the governing body in response to “grave human rights and humanitarian law violations committed by Israel.” The motion also accuses the Israel Football Association (IFA) of “providing moral, economic, and practical support to the occupation” of Palestinian territories, saying “the IFA is complicit in the Israeli government’s violations against Palestinian football.”

The motion has already garnered support from federations representing Algeria, Qatar, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. FIFA is expected to discuss and potentially vote on the proposal on Friday. Football Australia — the governing body of soccer, futsal, and beach soccer within Australia — has reportedly decided to abtain from any possible vote on the matter.

PFA similarly tried to push FIFA to boycott Israel in 2015 when it claimed that the Jewish state did not allow free movement of Palestinian or foreign players. The proposal was dropped by the Palestinians just before the vote.

In February, the 12-member West Asian Football Federations wrote a letter to FIFA, its national member associations, and its regional confederations, including European governing body UEFA, calling for Israel to be banned “from all football-related activities” and for soccer leaders to take “a decisive stand against the atrocities committed in Palestine and the war crimes in Gaza.”

Meanwhile, ticket sales have been suspended for a Belgium-Israel match in the UEFA Nations League that is set to take place on Sept. 6 in Brussels because of security concerns, likely attributed to anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrators who have repeatedly protested in Brussels since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas. The Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA) announced on Thursday that no tickets are currently on sale for the match at King Baudouin Stadium. The RBFA said it “is in permanent contact with the security services, the city of Brussels, and the federal government” and security concerns are “being analyzed.”

“We know that a sold-out King Baudouin stadium gives a huge boost to our Red Devils … For the match against Israel, we are in contact with the authorities,”said RBFA CEO Piet Vandendriessche. “But safety comes first, always.”

The post Asian Football Confederation Backs Proposal to Suspend Israel From FIFA Amid War in Gaza first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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University of Toronto seeks injunction to end protest encampment over ‘harmful, discriminatory’ speech outlined in court filing

The University of Toronto is now seeking a court injunction to put and end to the encampment in King’s College Circle after the 8 a.m. deadline passed Monday morning—while unionized workers joined students, faculty and other protesters at a rainy morning rally. Shortly after the ultimatum hour, the university announced in a statement from UofT […]

The post University of Toronto seeks injunction to end protest encampment over ‘harmful, discriminatory’ speech outlined in court filing appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Monday morning saw the Toronto community and politicians showing support for the Chabad girls’ school struck by weekend gunfire

Mayor Olivia Chow was among those who addressed the crowd.

The post Monday morning saw the Toronto community and politicians showing support for the Chabad girls’ school struck by weekend gunfire appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘A Call for Genocide’: South African Jews Blast Country’s President for Chanting ‘From the River to the Sea’

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Chatsworth, South Africa, May 18, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

South African Jewish leaders castigated their country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, for what they described as him calling for a “genocide” against Jews in Israel over the weekend.

Ramaphosa was speaking at an election rally in Johannesburg on Saturday when he deviated from his prepared speech to lead the crowd in in a chant of “From the River to the Sea, Palestine shall be free” — a popular slogan among anti-Israel activists that has been widely interpreted as a call for the destruction of the Jewish state, which is located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The address took place at FNB Stadium, where South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) held its final rally before South African elections on Wednesday. According to Politicsweb, a news website focused on South Africa, a call for the release of the “hostages held in Gaza” who Hamas terrorists kidnapped from southern Israel on Oct. 7 appeared in Ramaphosa’s prepared remarks but not in his final speech.

The South African Jewish community lambasted Ramaphosa for his remarks in a statement shared with The Algemeiner, expressing “its revulsion at the introduction of a call to exterminate Jews from their homeland” by the president.

“The president of the ruling ANC party and the head of state of a democratic country has called for the elimination of the only Jewish state in the culmination of the ANC president’s election speech made to thousands of ANC members and on national television,” said Wendy Kahn, national director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD). “He uses the populist slogan ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be Free,’ which is widely regarded as a call to genocide of the Jewish people. The call to remove all Jews from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea equates to removing all Jews from Israel.”

Kahn compared the slogan with Hamas’ goal to “see Israel as ‘Judenfrei,’ or Jew free,” before noting that such an endpoint contradicts the South African government’s stated policy of supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The chanting of this slogan by a head of state of a government that recurrently tries to express their commitment to a ‘two-state Solution’ as their policy on Israel and Palestine is hypocritical to the full,” the SAJBD said. “How does a sitting president reject his own government and own party’s international relations policy? This reconfirms our understanding that President Ramaphosa and his government are not looking for a peaceful solution to the tragic conflict, but rather to cause discord among fellow South Africans against its Jewish community.”

Kahn added, “The president’s contempt for South African Jewry is evident in this unscripted outburst at the rally which amounts to nothing more than Jew hatred. The SAJBD is reviewing its options for holding the president accountable for these hateful words.”

South Africa’s ANC government has been one of the harshest critics of Israel since Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists launched the ongoing war in Gaza with their invasion of and massacre across southern Israeli communities.

South Africa temporarily withdrew its diplomats from Israel and shuttered its embassy in Tel Aviv shortly after the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom, saying that the Pretoria government was “extremely concerned at the continued killing of children and innocent civilians” in Gaza.

In December, South Africa hosted two Hamas officials who attended a government-sponsored conference in solidarity with the Palestinians. One of the officials had been sanctioned by the US government for his role with the terrorist organization.

Earlier this month, members of South Africa’s Jewish community protested Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor’s recent call for students and university leaders to intensify the anti-Israel demonstrations that have engulfed college campuses across the US.

In January, the South African government failed in its bid to argue before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Israel’s defensive war in Gaza constituted a “genocide.” However, the top UN court last week ordered Israel to halt its military operations against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. The emergency ruling was part of South Africa’s ongoing case at the ICJ.

The post ‘A Call for Genocide’: South African Jews Blast Country’s President for Chanting ‘From the River to the Sea’ first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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