[Opinion] Human Rights Watch takes its campaign against Israel to Fifa
In November 2016, Fifa met to discuss the Palestinian effort to evict Israel from the international football federation, using the excuse that a few lower league teams are located across the 1949 “Green Line”.
Sari Bashi, HRW’s “Israel and Palestine Advocacy Director,” published an opinion piece (‘Fifa must take strong stance against Israeli settlement club’, International Business Times, January 10, 2017). In it, Ms Bashi recycled the standard anti-Israel slogans, alleging, “West Bank Palestinians are not allowed to enter the settlements to play, coach or even watch the matches.” In this, she totally erased the context of terror, and the fact that Israelis are not allowed to “play, coach, or even watch the matches” in areas under Palestinian control.
With regards to Israel, the organisation has long lobbied the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, and other international frameworks such as Fifa, promoting false, distorted, and unverifiable allegations against Israel. HRW also played a major role in the creation of the discredited Goldstone report and submitted numerous statements to the commission equating Israel to Hamas, and falsely accusing Israel of “wilfully” killing civilians.
On the football issue, despite the numerous conflicts and “settlements” in occupied territories throughout the world, including Cyprus and Morocco, HRW has never campaigned on these issues. HRW has no problem working with repressive regimes and rights abusers (such as the ones mentioned above) and will choose to look the other way to further the biased agenda.