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Israel Blames BDS Movement, Palestinians for Cancellation of Argentina 'Friendly'

  • Palestinian rights supporters protest at Argentina's football training session in Barcelona, Spain.

    Palestinian rights supporters protest at Argentina's football training session in Barcelona, Spain. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 June 2018

Palestinians are praising Argentina's decision to cancel their participation in the friendly match with Israel.

Israel has acknowledged the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement's most significant victory in almost a decade after it blamed the Movement and Palestinians for the cancellation of the Israel-Argentina "friendly" football match in occupied Jerusalem.

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Miri Regev, Israel's Culture and Sports Minister, accused “terror groups" of causing the cancellation, ignoring the widespread condemnation of Israel's violent repression of peaceful protesters over the last few weeks and the words of players, who also supported the move. 

Human rights activists and Palestinians have praised Argentina, and its Football Association, including star Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain, who personally voiced his support for the move, Wednesday.

“We welcome news that Argentina’s ‘friendly’ football match with Israel has been canceled,” said the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, or PACBI. “The team responded to creative campaigning from fans around the world denouncing Israel’s sports-washing of its crimes against Palestinians.”

The protesters had called on Lionel Messi & his teammates to cancel their "friendly" match with Israel saying there's #NothingFriendly about Israel's crimes against Palestinians. Photo: Reuters

Gonzalo 'El Pipa' Higuain was the first member of Argentina's squad to comment on the team's decision publicly. The star striker, who also plays for the Italian club Juventus, said the team has "finally done the right thing" by canceling the match.

Gabriel Solano, a left-wing Argentinian lawmaker, was more explicit in his comment, tweeting that “the ball will not be stained with Palestinian blood.” He went on to say that the game cancellation was a blow to the government of Argentina's president Mauricio Macri saying the head of state “had imposed (the game with Israel) on the squad as part of its agreements with the criminal Netanyahu.”

The game's cancellation comes after a widespread global campaign that began in Argentina. It continued throughout Latin America and Spain, as activists and supporters of the Palestinian cause urged Argentina to not assist Israel in its sports-wash (or whitewash) of its latest massacres of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

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