The heads of 215 Palestinian sports organisations have threatened to boycott sportswear giant Puma over its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (IFA).
In an open letter, the groups said six Israeli football clubs are located on land which Palestinians have branded as illegal Israeli settlements, which rob Palestinians of land and resources.
Israel’s settlements contribute to serious human rights abuses and are a direct cause for restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement, access to natural resources and ability to build homes and conduct business, the letter reads.
Under international law, Israeli settlements are considered a war crime.
The German sportswear giant signed a four-year sponsorship agreement with the IFA in July.
The Palestinian sports organisations see the sponsorship as the whitewashing of Israel’s actions seeing as the settlements are slammed as flagrant violations of international law by a UN Security Council Resolution.
As the main international sponsor of the IFA, Puma is lending its brand to cover up and whitewash Israel’s human rights abuses, the letter said.
The company’s Code of Ethics requires compliance with international law.
We urge you to abide by your Code of Ethics by withdrawing your sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (IFA) until it ends its involvement in Israel’s grave violations of international law and human rights abuses against Palestinians, the letter adds.
This is not the first time that a sportswear giant has been boycotted by Palestinians.
In July Adidas ended their sponsorship of the IFA following a global campaign. The sponsorship was then replaced by Puma.
Adidas ended their sponsorship after human rights supporters around the world, as well as 130 Palestinian football clubs delivered over 16,000 signatures on an international petition to Adidas satellite headquarters in Amsterdam.
In reply to the Palestinian clubs, Adidas stated it had raised the issue of Israeli settlement teams with FIFA.
They noted the need for the world governing body of football to adjudicate on the question of the Israeli settlement teams, by following the tenets of international law and their human rights policy.
Adidas had previously ended sponsorship in Israel, such as the sponsoring of the Jerusalem Marathon, whose route included illegal Israeli settlements and encroaches on occupied East Jerusalem.
Puma has not commented on the Palestinian threat to boycott the German sportswear giant.
Source: Palestine Monitor