A friendly football match between Argentina and Israel that had been scheduled to take place in Jerusalem this Saturday, June 9, has been cancelled, according to Argentinean and Israeli media. The match which was to take place in Jerusalem’s Teddy Kollek Stadium was to be Argentina’s final game before they kicked off their World Cup campaign against Iceland on June 16 in Russia.
The match faced calls for a boycott from various groups following Israel’s brutal repression of Palestinian demonstrators along the Gaza border fence during the past two months.
Last week, Hadash MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List), sent a letter to Argentina’s ambassador to Israel and asked that his country cancel its participation in the match. “I stressed that holding the match, in the wake of the killing of the Palestinians in Gaza and the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem, sends a dangerous message to the Israeli government that the world ignores its gross human rights violations. [Lionel] Messi cannot turn his back on the Palestinian victims.”
Responding to the annoucement that Argentina decided to cancel its partcipation in the match, Joint List leader MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) said that “the Israeli government might win over Trump, but it is losing the rest of the world… It is impossible to enjoy games when millions of Palestinians don’t enjoy human rights.” Odeh continued: “There is only one way to win – ending the occupation and having a real peace treaty, which is still possible.”
The Argentinean branch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel ran a campaign to cancel the match which included sending letters to Argentinean sports figures. A letter from the Argentinean Committee of Solidarity with Palestine to the Argentinean National Secretary of Sports and the Argentine Football Association last month said that canceling the match “would represent the value of solidarity of the Argentine people towards another people’s victimhood to oppression, apartheid and colonialism.”