Argentina's Lionel Messi

“We’ve stopped this before. We can stop it again,” declared the Palestinian anti-Israel boycott group that shut down a previous Argentina match in Israel by threatening superstar Lionel Messi.

By United With Israel Staff

Anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) activists are again pressuring Argentina’s national team, led by superstar Lionel Messi, to stay away from playing in Israel.

An exhibition (‘friendly’) match between Argentina and Uruguay has been scheduled to take place on November 19 in Tel Aviv.

In a statement from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel posted by an extreme anti-Israel website, the boycott organizers boast, “Last year, letters from Palestine, a huge outpouring on social media and actions on the ground in Buenos Aires and Barcelona convinced Argentina to cancel a planned friendly match in Jerusalem.”

It was a reference to a match scheduled for June 2018 between Argentina and Israel’s national team set to take place in Jerusalem just before the World Cup in Russia. The match in Israel was canceled due to threats made to Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi and pressure from the BDS movement.

The campaign was directed at Messi’s professional team, FC Barcelona, as well as the Argentinian capital. Messi captains the Barcelona soccer team, current champions of the Spanish premier league, in addition to his leading role on his own country’s national team.

“Israel uses the prestige of championship teams like Argentina and Uruguay and star players Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez to sports-wash its regime of oppression, apartheid and occupation,” charges the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

“We’ve stopped this before. We can stop it again,” it declared.

However, there was backlash to the incitement campaign waged against the Argentinian team, in general, and Messi, in particular.

In August 2018, FIFA, the international soccer federation, banned Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub from attending matches for a year and fined him about $20,000 for “inciting hatred and violence” after he called on fans to burn posters and shirts of Messi if the soccer star played in the game against Israel in Jerusalem in June.

A few months ago, an international sports arbitration court rejected an appeal by Jibril against the ban.

Undeterred, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott says that “groups in Argentina and Uruguay are mobilizing on the ground to convince the teams to stand with Palestinian footballers” by boycotting Israel and canceling the match scheduled for later this month.

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Source: United with Israel