Play during Apartheid Israelâs world cup qualifying match with Switzerland was disrupted for several minutes on Saturday the 3rd of September, as protestors ran onto the pitch calling for a boycott of the Zionist state. Large banners proclaiming “Free Palestine” and “Boycott Apartheid” were beamed across the world as the match between the teams was brought to a standstill in the 52nd minute.
The protest follows a steady trend in targeting Israelâs sporting teams. It is one of the measures highlighted by the Palestinian popular movements and civil society in their united call to isolate the Apartheid state. Designed as means of providing concrete and effective support to the Palestinian struggle, recent activities have seen the tempo of boycott activities pick up pace.
Large anti-Apartheid demonstrations were held in Dublin before the Republic of Irelandâs game with Israel in May. A sea of Palestinian flags greeted the Zionist statesâ national anthem, to be followed by chants of “In our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinians”. In July, Scottish activists destroyed a cricket pitch to be used by an Israeli team, demanding that sporting events involving the racist state were unacceptable.
Consistent with the Palestine struggle to dismantle the Apartheid Wall and settlements, to end the Occupation and ensure the right of return for all Palestinian refugees, the new global solidarity movement is reminiscent of the anti-Apartheid campaign against racist South Africa that began in the 1970s.
Swiss activists were well received by the Swiss crowd with a feeling of general sympathy throughout the population to the issues they raised. It reveals how targeting the cultural and sporting activities of the Apartheid state can raise crucial awareness of the atrocities being carried out by the Occupation Forces throughout Palestine. Over time a full boycott of Israelâs sporting teams can bring about the same form of isolation witnessed in South Africa. These proved to be a great source of solidarity and legitimacy to the liberation movements struggling for justice and freedom.