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PMW sends complaint to the International Olympic Committee against PA

Nan Jacques Zilberdik, and Maurice Hirsch, Adv.  |

PA Olympic Committee violates Olympic principles by condemning Arab-Israeli normalization in sports and calling for sports boycott of Israel

Following the recent peace agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, the Palestine Olympic Committee has announced its condemnation of Arab normalization with Israel in sports.

Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee Jibril Rajoub – who is also the secretary of the Central Committee of Abbas’ Fatah Movement – posted the committee’s condemnation of “the crime of normalization” after the UAE Pro League signed a cooperation agreement with Israel’s Professional Football League, and called instead for “boycotting” and “isolating” Israel :

“A number of our Arab brothers are making light of the crime of normalization with the fascist occupation state in the field of sports, in a blatant violation of all the treaties, commitments, and decisions of the Council of Arab Ministers of Youth and Sports…
The Palestine Olympic Committee… expresses its strong condemnation of these steps, and views them as encouraging the occupation with all its elements so that it will continue the most despicable crimes against our Arab and Muslim people and against the sports system in Palestine, and this is instead of putting it on trial, boycotting it, and isolating it.”

[Facebook page of Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee Jibril Rajoub, Nov. 1, 2020]

 
The announcement from the Palestine Olympic Committee (left),
posted by its chairman Jibril Rajoub, on Palestine Olympic Committee stationary with the POC logo that includes the five Olympic rings.

The Palestinian Olympic Committee's statement violates several of the principles set in the Olympic Charter, among them the principle that “sports organisations within the Olympic Movement shall apply political neutrality.” This same principle is also expressed in the International Olympic Committee's Code of Ethics, Article 1.2, which demands "respect of the principle of the universality and political neutrality of the Olympic Movement." In addition, the publication of the statement using the Olympic emblem further breaches the IOC Charter bye law, which requires that the emblem only be used in a manner  that contributes “to the development of the Olympic Movement and must not detract from its dignity”. The POC statement clearly violates both of these standards. Accordingly, Palestinian Media Watch has submitted a complaint to the International Olympic Committee. The Palestine Olympic Committee has been a member of the Olympic Council of Asia since 1986 and of the International Olympic Committee since 1995.

Promoting a universal Arab boycott of Israeli sports has been official PA policy for years. Earlier this year, Rajoub “conveyed blessings to all the Arab athletes who have refused to compete with Israeli athletes” and demanded the implementation of a boycott of Israel in sports defined by Council of Arab Ministers for Youth and Sports:

“Rajoub… demanded to implement the clauses of the Executive Office's [of the Council of Arab Ministers for Youth and Sports] decision that are relevant to normalization in the field of sports and that were approved in advance: To refuse to participate in any event that the occupation state hosts; To refuse to host any event in which Israeli groups participate; and for every Arab athlete to refuse to compete against an Israeli athlete. He conveyed blessings to all of the Arab athletes who have refused to compete with Israeli athletes."

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 5, 2020]

Jibril Rajoub is known for his adamant opposition to any joint sports activities between Arabs and particularly Palestinians with Israel. Palestinian Media Watch has exposed numerous statements by Rajoub condemning such normalization in the report The Rajoub File, which also details his support for Palestinian terror and admiration for Palestinian murderers. PMW’s exposure of Rajoub, who is also the chairman of the Palestinian Football Association, and complaints to FIFA that he was in breach of FIFA’s Disciplinary Code led to FIFA fining him and suspending him for a year.

The week FIFA announced his fine and suspension, Rajoub held a press conference in which he attacked PMW for “waging this war on all fronts” against him, and attacked PMW’s director Itamar Marcus, saying, “he is the Goebbels of the 21st century”:

"They are waging this war on all fronts. There's Palestinian Media Watch, whose director is Goebbels - Goebbels, Hitler's ideological theorist... He is the Goebbels of the 21st century. He prepared an indictment against me... I traveled to Latin America, and every place I go, believe me, he spreads these accusations. He submitted a complaint to the Olympic Committee, he submitted a complaint to FIFA, and when I traveled to the US - he also spread [his accusations] in the US. The only thing he does is to deal with me."

[Official PA TV Live, Sept. 3, 2018]

Among Rajoub’s fervent statements against normalization with Israel in sports that violate Olympic and FIFA principles was his condemnation of a football match between Palestinian and Israeli boys after the Gaza war in 2014 – and any other “activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy” - as “a crime against humanity” and his threat to fire any Palestinian player, coach, or referee who engages in sports with Israel:

Rajoub: "This state [Israel] is a state of bullies. Fascists can learn a lesson from this state. This government -- there is none more brazen in human history... Anyone who joins any joint [sports] activity with the Israelis -- I'll take him off the [Palestinian Football] Association's lists, whether he is a player, coach, referee or, God forbid, a team... Did we act correctly and convince [FIFA's] General Assembly? Yes. Yes, we'll suspend their [Israel's] membership [in FIFA] and this way we'll screw them... I won't allow and won't agree to any joint game between Arabs and Israel... "

[Official PA TV, July 1, 2013]

Rajoub’s overall comment to the recent normalization agreements between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain was that these Arab leaders are “worms that have become exposed to the sun.”

The following is a longer excerpt of the announcement by the Palestine Olympic Committee:

Text: “An announcement from the Palestine Olympic Committee condemning the Arab normalization with the occupation in the field of sports
At a time when the occupation’s crimes in their various forms are escalating against Palestinian sports and athletes… a number of our Arab brothers are making light of the crime of normalization with the fascist occupation state in the field of sports, in a blatant violation of all the treaties, commitments, and decisions of the Council of Arab Ministers of Youth and Sports…
The unjust thronging [towards Israel] has pained us greatly, and especially what the UAE Pro League did on Oct. 27, 2020, when its Chairman Mr. Abdullah Al Junaibi signed a comprehensive cooperation agreement in the field of sports with his Israeli counterpart [Israel Professional Football League Chairman] Erez Halfon. This was like a reward for the occupation and a whitewashing of its fascist record…
The Palestine Olympic Committee… expresses its strong condemnation of these steps, and views them as encouraging the occupation with all its elements so that it will continue the most despicable crimes against our Arab and Muslim people and against the sports system in Palestine, and this is instead of putting it on trial, boycotting it, and isolating it.”

[Facebook page of Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee Jibril Rajoub, Nov. 1, 2020]

Jibril Rajoub also serves as Head of the PLO Supreme Council for Youth and Sports, Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association, Chairman of the Palestine Olympic Committee, and Chairman of the Palestinian Scout Association (PSA).

Israeli peace agreements with the UAE and Bahrain – an agreement normalizing diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), called the Abraham Accords, was announced on Aug. 13, 2020, under the mediation of US President Donald Trump. Following the UAE, Bahrain signed a similar peace agreement with Israel, as was announced on Sept. 11, 2020. Pursuant to the Abraham Accords, Israel and the UAE will discuss bilateral cooperation on a number of topics. In exchange for the agreement, Israel agreed to suspend its previously announced plans to apply Israel's civilian law to parts of Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley as per the Trump peace plan. The US announced that “Muslims throughout the world who wish to come in peace to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque, will now be able to fly to Tel Aviv through Abu Dhabi to do so and will be welcomed.”