Arsenal Football Club has just signed a sponsorship deal to promote Israel as a tourist destination from next season. The 350,000 agreement makes Israel Arsenal's "official and exclusive travel destination." Below are just some of the benefits Israel will receive from this deal:
- Israel will be featured on digital perimeter boards and 450 high-definition LCD screens at the stadium on game days;
- Israel will feature on the team's website, Arsenal.com; and in its magazine.
- The televised ads will reach audiences in an estimated 198 countries.
- The Israeli Tourism Ministry will receive intellectual property rights, the use of the team logo and the right to use photos of the team and its players in ads.
- The Israeli Tourism Minister will be allowed use the stadium banqueting hall twice a year and organize an exhibition at the end of the playing season
- The stadium will hold permanent sale tables for Israel t-shirts
The financial advisers Ernst & Young were employed to draft this proposal with the aim of bringing an extra 2 million tourists to Israel annually.
Israel is a racist apartheid state built upon the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian Arab population. Anti-apartheid campaigners such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu have called for a complete boycott of Israel similar to that which ultimately resulted in the toppling of the apartheid South African regime. Israels discriminatory policies include the building of the apartheid separation wall which is robbing yet more of the most fertile West Bank land from Palestinians, and creating Bantustan style enclosures for Palestinians to live in.
For a full detailed analysis of the apartheid in Israel and its parallels with apartheid South Africa, please read Chris McGreals excellent 2-part report in the Guardian at the links below:
For Arsenal to sign a deal to promote such a state is to go against the very principles of Kicking Racism out of Football. Amazingly, Arsenals Managing Director who signed the deal, Keith Edelman stated after the deal was signed, We are in the forefront of the anti-racism campaign in England. This deal will no doubt put this reputation into serious question.
As regards football, Israeli human rights groups have repeatedly reported how Israeli soldiers routinely shoot Palestinian children playing football outside their refugee camps. Furthermore, Israeli authorities regularly prevent Palestinian players from attending international games. In September 2004, five players were prevented from traveling to the World Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan. Unable to play in Palestine, the team travels to Doha, Qatar, for "home" games and trains in Ismailia, Egypt, more than 100 miles from the local Gaza players' homes.
For further details: http://www.inminds.co.uk/boycott-arsenal.html
This campaign is supported by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, Palestinian Return Centre, Innovative Minds, the British Muslim Initiative, the Muslim Association of Britain, the Palestinian Forum in Britain, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Scottish-Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.
All campaigners are urged to:
a) Contact Arsenal Football Club reminding them that Israel is a racist apartheid state which is consistently in breach of international law in its human rights abuses; and that such a deal endangers Arsenals anti-racist reputation:
Commercial and Marketing Department
Arsenal Football Club
London N5 1BU
Tel. 020 7704 4170
Fax. 020 7704 4171
b) Contact the Football Associations Kick Racism out of Football Campaign reminding them that Israel is a racist apartheid state which is consistently in breach of international law in its human rights abuses; and that such a deal endangers the FAs anti-racist reputation and the Kick it Out campaign itself. Ask the FA to use its influence to prevent the deal going ahead:
Kick It Out
PO Box 29544
T: 020 7684 4884
F: 020 7684 4885