Thursday, March 28, 2024

The Genocide in Gaza - Western Hypocrisy and FIFA’s Double Standard


Issam Khalidi


   In the same way that many others are concerned and outraged about the ongoing genocide in Gaza, I was listening to an Israeli official on MSNBC saying: "the massacre of October 7, and the war in Gaza." For the ethnic cleansing of Palestine to be justified by Israel and its supporters the Israeli narrative of the 'war between Israel and Hamas' (the Genocide) must be accepted by the world. 

   Israel is still arguing that what is happening in Gaza is a war against Hamas who is using the citizens of Gaza as a human shield. There is no need to be a professor of international law to determine whether what is taking place in Gaza is genocide or a war. The 1948 Genocide Convention defined genocide as any act committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. The term (genocide) can be defined as "the deliberate killing or severe mistreatment of a large number of people from a particular national or ethnic group in order to destroy that nation or group”. In the present day, we have an abundance of evidence proving that what is happening is genocide as far as we can see.


     In the light of what we see, we can gain a better understanding of the essence of Zionist ideology, its intentions and goals. The statements we hear now from extremist religious leaders are chilling, and it is difficult to believe. What is happening in Gaza has impacts on the world’s consciousness, especially among the young generation. As a result of Gaza's genocide, millions of people around the world have been awakened. Many instances have been documented where people have expressed their gratitude to the Palestinians for allowing them to open their eyes to issues, they had been ignorant of until then. Additionally, they have stated that they were victims of the Israeli media lobby as well.


    For the first time in its history, Israel loses its propaganda war for a variety of reasons. Among them the size of the lies, the extent of destruction, massacres, starvation, forced displacement, etc., in addition to the influence of social media sites, the protests throughout the world, and many more. Israel can’t keep fooling all of the people all of the time. Moshe Sharett, Israel’s first Foreign Minister and later a Prime Minister once said:


I have learned that the state of Israel cannot be ruled in our generation without deceit and adventurism.


   Genocide is to annihilate the people physically and morally; to erase people’s hopes and dreams. Israel did not only kill athletes, sports journalist, and administrators, it destroyed the sports infrastructure. A large number of sports clubs have a rich history that goes back many decades and generations. In this regard Hilary Morgan Leatham wrote in Al-Jazeera: “Destroying Gaza’s heritage has far reached social, political, and emotional ramification. It is a concerted attack on the existence of Palestine and its people.”


   There was a time when Gaza was the center of gravity for Palestinian sports. Several of its athletes and teams competed regionally and internationally. Sports in Gaza became a part of young people’s lifestyle, a tradition that has been followed since 1950s. It was through sports that Palestinians in Gaza Sector could release their tensions and relieve the pain of living under siege.


    Oh, how mighty these Gazans are. In the midst of bombing and starvation, I was fascinated to see young men performing acrobatic exercises on the beach. It also reminds me of how Gazans managed to survive before these atrocities. As part of a growing urban fitness discipline known as street workouts, four men performed gravity-defying strength feats. It was not only acrobatic movements, but an expression of rejection of the occupation as well. It was a rebellion against oppression and injustice and a fight for freedom. In spite of the occupation, this was another proof that Palestinians still existed.


  Following Gaza's ongoing atrocities, the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) and Citizens International have teamed up with 60 organizations to demand FIFA ban Israeli teams. Just recently, an open letter was sent to FIFA asking it to suspend Israel as it did Russia following Ukraine's invasion in 2022. According to UEFA, there are no plans to sanction Israel because it is a different case.


   In a letter to FIFA, the Palestine Football Association (PFA) demanded that (May) Congress consider "appropriate" sanctions against the Israeli Football Association (IFA) and its clubs for because of "unprecedented international human rights and humanitarian law violations” in the war on Gaza. 


   In general, FIFA’s position is no different from the West's. Whenever the West preaches democracy and human rights, but acts in a way that violates them, it is hypocritical, especially when it comes to US and Europe’s relations with Israel. In general, double standards refer to a discriminatory behavior that arises when one group is treated differently from the other. In spite of the fact that the Palestinian situation differs from the Ukrainian situation, the West continues to treat the Ukrainian issue as a human issue, while ignoring the long-standing Palestinian issue. As a "civilized" Western nation, Ukraine has more privileges than the "backward" Arab and Middle Eastern nations. FIFA used its influence on pressure Iran (to allow women to watch men's soccer matches) and Russia for its Ukraine’s invasion but failed to sanction Israel for its genocide. This double standard is due to the fact that the West will only take a moral stand when its fundamental interests are not at risk. There is nothing more important to the West than its own interests.


   These double standards are closely associated with Western arrogance and political hegemony in regions such as Africa and the Middle East. Furthermore, there is also a perception that the people of these regions are considered inferior to their Western counterparts. In spite of the fact that the West is a primary cause of their misfortunes, their cases are not given justice. It has always been the Western strategy to achieve its strategic goals at all costs and to put pressure on weak nations.

    FIFA probably is afraid of another scandal or a corruption documentary. To be impartial in issues related to the genocide in Gaza, FIFA has confirmed and stood by the occupation. In order to satisfy Israel's demands, FIFA abandons the principles laid down in its statutes, sacrificing its own values and integrity for the sake of political expediency.


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