Soccer: Anti-Israel protest causes concern in London

The UK-based Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, in association with the Friends of Al-Aqsa, will set up a vigil on the road leading up to Wembley Stadium.

September 7, 2007 07:53
1 minute read.

A planned anti-Israel protest to be held directly outside London's Wembley Stadium in the hours before the start of the England versus Israel Euro 2008 qualifier has caused controversy among organizations aiming to bridge the Arab-Jewish divide. The UK-based Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC), in association with the Friends of Al-Aqsa, will set up a vigil on Olympic Way, the road leading up to the stadium, from 3-5 p.m. Saturday afternoon, under the title "Kick Israeli Apartheid out of Football." Dozens of protesters are expected to join the vigil, which the PSC says is needed to highlight the "daily abuses by Israel in its occupation of Palestine." However, an antiracism campaign launched in Israel last year was also called Kick it Out, and Itzik Shannan from the New Israel Fund (NIF) has said the PSC was going about its task the wrong way. The NIF was the main instigator of the Kick it Out campaign, which was launched in conjunction with the English Football Association with the support of Israeli international Abbas Suan and former England star John Barnes. "I don't have enough words to condemn this, especially when they are using this title which is trying to bring solidarity between Jews and Arabs, fight racism, and fight for coexistence and patience," Shannan told The Jerusalem Post. "I think this is the most inappropriate way to run a campaign. They used the wrong term, the wrong way to bash Israel. The name of Kick it Out has only good values connected to it, with the fight against racism in Israeli and global society. It was poor judgment and a poor criticism." PSC spokesman Marcel Kurt said the NIF had been doing good work in bringing Jews and Arabs together in Israel, but said his organization wanted "to highlight the not so positive aspects of the situation of the Palestinians." "These are good developments and they show how some issues can be resolved, but they are not going to help the majority of the Arab minority," Kurt said.

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