In advance of a forthcoming publication from Human Rights Watch, joining the Palestinian campaign calling on FIFA to take punitive measures against Israel, NGO Monitor released the following statement:

It is disturbing, but not surprising, to see that Human Rights Watch (HRW) has joined Jibril Rajoub and the Palestinian Authority’s political warfare against Israel, this time in the campaign targeting Israel within FIFA. HRW has long supported BDS campaigns against Israel.

As is often the case, other political NGOs are also using FIFA to target Israel. The European Council for Foreign Relations has pushed for sanctions against Israeli football teams as a part of its “differentiation” approach, trying to frame BDS as consistent with existing rules, as opposed to creating new policy and targeting Israel in a discriminatory manner. Avaaz is also involved in this initiative, as is the Palestinian BDS National Committee (a coalition of dozens of NGOs).

HRW’s support for the PA’s diplomatic attacks, using demonization rhetoric of “stolen land” and false claims of “discrimination,” further identify it as an anti-Israel political advocacy organization that exploits human rights. HRW’s publications reflect the absence of professional standards, research methodologies, and military and legal expertise, and contain a deep-seated ideological bias against Israel. There is no reason that tomorrow’s expected report will be any different from the usual anti-Israel advocacy that we have become accustomed to from HRW.

Last week, Human Rights Watch officials were in Gaza, meeting with Hamas and purportedly discussing rockets and torture. Such engagement with terror groups in no way “balances” false allegations and invented versions of international law, which HRW wield as weapons in its attacks against Israel.

To expect a sporting organization such as FIFA to draw borders regarding the most contested geo-political conflict of the modern era is absurd. FIFA should not allow external anti-Israel advocacy and BDS groups, such as HRW, to determine the rules of the game.