FIFA should ban PA Football Association for boycotting Israelis, watchdog says

"The International Judo Federation showed its clear moral fiber by suspending the Iran Judo Federation," says Palestinian Media Watch, demanding the international football body to do the same.

A poster of Palestinian FA chief Jibril Rajoub with Argentina's soccer player Lionel Messi is seen during Rajoub's news conference, in Ramallah in the West Bank June 6, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)
A poster of Palestinian FA chief Jibril Rajoub with Argentina's soccer player Lionel Messi is seen during Rajoub's news conference, in Ramallah in the West Bank June 6, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)
The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) and its president Jibril Rajoub have been consistently boycotting and calling for the boycott of Israeli athletes, as well as promoting incitement. Yet, although these behaviors represent a violation of FIFA rules, neither of them has faced appropriate consequences, the Israeli watchdog Palestinian Media Watch said on Sunday.
"On October 22, the International Judo Federation showed its clear moral fiber by suspending the Iran Judo Federation 'from all competitions, administrative and social activities organized or authorized by the IJF and its Unions, until the Iran Judo Federation gives strong guarantees and proves that they will respect the IJF Statutes and accept that their athletes fight against Israeli athletes.'" Thus said Itamar Marcus, PMW's founder and director, and Maurice Hirsch, the organization's head of legal strategies, in a statement comparing the attitude of the two international sports bodies.
Marcus and Hirsch recalled that for years, the PFA had prohibited Palestinian athletes from taking part in any sporting event with Israel. 
"Rajoub has also used Palestinian football to support and glorify terrorism; incite hatred and violence; and promote racism," they noted. The official also presides over the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports.
Among the examples presented, the watchdog group pointed out that after a match between Palestinian and Israeli children organized by the Peres Center for Peace in the aftermath of the 2014 Gaza war, Rajoub said that any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity.
Last month, according to the statement – only a few days before the IJF suspended the Iranian Judo Federation – Rajoub reaffirmed his support for the policies established by the Council of Arab Ministers for Youth and Sports. In order to avoid "normalization with the occupation," these policies provide that "no Arab will participate in any sports activity in Israel – in other words, one that Israel hosts," that no Arab or Islamic state should host "any championship with the participation of Israelis," and that "any athlete who advances a stage and an Israeli [will be] competing against him will not meet him."
A probe against Rajoub for breaching FIFA's ethics code based on evidence provided by the PMW to the body's Disciplinary Committee was only opened in June, two years after the watchdog submitted the complaint in the first place. 
In the meantime, in August 2018, FIFA suspended Rajoub for a year after he invited fans to burn Argentinian champion Lionel Messi's jerseys and pictures before Buenos Aires' national team was due to play a warm-up game in Israel prior to the 2018 World Cup, as reported by the Associated Press. Argentina eventually decided to call off the game.
Argentina is scheduled to play an exhibition match against Uruguay in Israel on Monday night, a first after the 2018 game was canceled.
Among others, Article 22, Section 1 of FIFA's code reads that "persons bound by this Code shall not offend the dignity or integrity of a country, private person or group of people through contemptuous, discriminatory or denigratory words or actions on account of race, skin colour, ethnicity, nationality, social origin, gender, disability, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, wealth, birth or any other status, sexual orientation or any other reason."
"Considering that Rajoub has now reiterated the PFA policy of prohibiting and boycotting sports with Israelis, PMW once again calls on FIFA to stop ignoring the continued blatant breach of its rules and regulations by Rajoub and the Palestinian Football Association – and to adopt the steps taken by the International Judo Federation against Iran, and suspend the PFA from FIFA and discipline Rajoub to the full extent of FIFA's rules," Marcus and Hirsch highlighted.
In 2017, Rajoub and the PFA called on FIFA to oust six West Bank settlement teams, but their bid was rejected.