The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), an international organization devoted to fighting anti-Semitism, called on the German government on Tuesday to stop funding Palestinian sports agencies as long as they continue their “blatant sanctification of Jew-killers,” The Times of Israel reported.
The statement came in response to a deal signed last week between the head of the German representative office in Ramallah, Peter Beerwerth, and Palestinian Football Association president Jibril Rajoub. Under the agreement, Germany will send a soccer expert to the West Bank who will help the Palestinian Football Association improve its quality of play.
Rajoub has a long record of hostility toward Israel, including lobbying FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, to expel Israel; naming sports tournaments in honor of Palestinian terrorists; regularly comparing Israel to Nazi Germany; and calling a football match between Israeli and Palestinian children “a crime against humanity.” In May 2013, he declared that the Palestinians are enemies of Israel and warned: “in the name of Allah, if we had nuclear weapons, we’d be using them.”
Palestinian soccer clubs are also often named for terrorists, including Salah Khalaf, who helped mastermind the killing of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches during the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre.
Shimon Samuels, SWC’s director for international relations, said that by supporting an organization that promotes a terrorist like Khalaf, Germany was associating itself “with the blatant sanctification of Jew-killers” and “thereby evoking the shadows of the 1936 Nazi Olympics and the 1972 Munich Olympics atrocity.”
Samuels urged German Chancellor Angela Merkel “to suspend this unthinkable agreement until the Palestinian Authority removes all names of terrorists from all sectors of Palestinian sport and their acts of terror be publicly condemned by Ramallah.”
He added that “if Berlin wishes to reignite the spirit of peace, it should perhaps invite Israeli and Palestinian football teams for a ‘friendly’ match, despite Sports Minister Rajoub’s definition of sports encounters of young Palestinians with their Israeli peers as a ‘crime against humanity.’”
According to research by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), Palestinian sports teams and tournaments are often named for terrorists, including Abu Jihad, a Fatah leader who was responsible for the deaths of 125 Israelis; Yahyeh Ayyash, also known as “the engineer” for his expertise in building bombs; Fathi Shaqaqi, the founder of Palestinian Islamic Jihad; and Dalal Mughrabi, who led a 1978 massacre that became the most lethal terrorist attack in Israeli history.
In October of last year, a Palestinian terrorist who wounded six Israelis and killed a retired grandmother and a police officer was honored by the West Bank Premier League team Hilal al-Quds.
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