Iroquois Nationals, Who Defied Boycott Pressure, Advance to Lacrosse Semi-Finals in Israel

Iroquois Nation, which defied pressure from the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign not to travel to Israel for the Men’s World Lacrosse Championship, defeated Puerto Rico 14 to 7 to reach the semi-finals of the tournament.

After their come from behind win over Puerto Rico, the Iroquois Nationals are scheduled to face off against Canada’s national team on Thursday.

The Iroquois team represents the Iroquois Confederacy, a group of indigenous people from the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada.

“As indigenous peoples, we have both seen our traditional lands colonized, our people ethnically cleansed and massacred by colonial settlers,” the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) said in a letter to the Iroquois Nationals earlier this month.

PACBI has long sought to pressure artists and sportsmen not to perform in Israel and to boycott events with Israeli involvement. However, last week, the Iroquois National Lacrosse Team touched down in Tel Aviv, defying the anti-Israel boycotters, and has now made it to the semi-finals.

Ryan Bellerose, a Canadian native rights activist, explained in a Jerusalem Post op-ed that the Iroquois team saw that Israel was respecting their sovereignty by accepting their passports.

“Considering that the team has not participated in tournaments in countries that refuse to recognize their passports,” Bellerose wrote, “it is more than cynical to ask players to abstain from these championships – which happen only every four years – while they take place in Israel, a country that stands out for its proven respect for the Iroquois.”

[Photo: Lacrosse Nation / YouTube ]