Over 130 Palestinian football clubs urged Adidas to end its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (IFA) over its inclusion of teams based in illegal Israeli settlements across Palestinian land in the West Bank.
In a letter published Tuesday by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the Palestinian clubs told Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted “Adidas is lending its brand to cover up and whitewash Israel’s human rights abuses (giving) international cover to Israel’s illegal settlements.”
Currently there are at least 250 Israeli settlements in the West Bank. They are normally accompanied by the expulsion of Palestinians from their land, increased restrictions on Palestinians’ right to movement due to roadblocks and checkpoints, resource grabbing, increased presence of Israeli occupation forces to provide security, and settler-related violence.
The clubs also warned the sportswear company that the United Nations has labeled Israeli Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem a violation of international law and that its sponsorship of the IFA “may expose it to consumer-led boycott campaigns.”
The letter also warns that Adidas could be eligible for inclusion in the U.N. database of complicit companies doing business with Israel’s illegal settlements. The database is a major victory for the pro-Palestinian Boycott movement.
In 2005 Palestinians launched the BDS campaign, a nonviolent initiative to pressure Israel to end its illegal occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights, to respect the human rights of Palestinians under occupation, and to recognize Palestinian refugees’ right to return.
The letter also notes a previous victory of the BDS campaign, when it successfully pressured Adidas to cancel its sponsorship of the “Jerusalem marathon, which illegally passed through occupied East Jerusalem.”
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel has also launched a petition, “No Fair Play on Stolen Land,” calling on Adidas to end its sponsorship of the IFA.