Socialist Worker

Fair Play for Palestine demo in Wales shows solidarity movement is growing

by Nick Clark, in Cardiff
Issue No. 2470

On the march last Sunday

On the march last Sunday (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Up to 1,500 Palestine solidarity campaigners marched through Cardiff last Saturday as the Israeli football team played Wales in the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Red Card Israeli Racism, among others, called the protest to demand that football body Uefa suspends Israel. 

Many of the protesters were Wales fans—but had joined the protest to say the match should not go ahead.

Some Wales fans were hostile, but others said they would chant for Palestinians inside the stadium.

Many had mixed feelings. One fan told Socialist Worker, “The protesters are right, but I think you should keep politics and football separate.”

But Israel uses football to present itself as a legitimate state. Many protesters pointed to Israeli abuses of Palestinian footballers. 

Isabel O’Hagan from the Bristol football team Easton Cowgirls told Socialist Worker, “The idea of sport as separate from politics is wrong.

Roadblocks

“We went over on a football tour to Palestine and saw how difficult it is for them to train because of the roadblocks and checkpoints.

“It’s wrong for Israel to come here as if it is a normal state.”

The Israeli embassy tried to put on an exhibition in Cardiff Central Library to coincide with the march. 

Protest organiser Jeff Hurford told Socialist Worker, “It was a clear piece of propaganda about how Israeli Arabs have access to sports facilities.

“We organised a demonstration for the following Saturday—then Labour councillors got involved and shut it down. 

“It was the quickest victory we’ve ever had.” These are signs of a growing Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign aimed at isolating Israel.

BDS scored a victory last week as fizzy drinks firm Sodastream announced it was pulling out of the occupied West Bank. Meanwhile the United Electrical Workers union in the US voted to back BDS. 

Palestine solidarity campaigners in Britain were set to protest outside Downing Street at 11am on Wednesday of this week against a visit by Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.


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News
Tue 8 Sep 2015, 17:50 BST
Issue No. 2470
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