Pope Francis (Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)
Pope Francis
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The Palestinians are calling on the Pope to boycott a sports event in Israel. We must urge him not to give in to the voices of hatred. 

The Giro d’Italia cycling race, a premier global sports contest, will begin its 2018 event in Jerusalem, marking the first time in history that a Grand-Tour will take place outside of Europe.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described the race as “a key event in the celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel.”

In honor of the momentous event, Netanyahu has invited Pope Francis to officially launch the event and honor it with a public blessing.

However, Palestinian groups have called on the Pope not to lend his name in any way to what they claimed was the “whitewashing of Israel’s military occupation and grave human rights violations.”

“We condemn this cynical attempt by the far-right Israeli government to use your good name in this propaganda effort to cover up its brutal occupation and ongoing construction of illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land, especially in East Jerusalem,” several Palestinian anti-Israel organizations wrote to the Pope in an open letter.

“Regimes of oppression, like Israel’s, have always tried to instrumentalize sports to rebrand themselves aand escape accountability under international law,” they alleged.

As this letter demonstrates, the Palestinians will stop at nothing to besmirch Israel, often utilizing sports events and international sports bodies to launch attacks against the Jewish state.

Enough is enough!

The Pope himself declared that God promised the Holy Land to the people of Israel.

“The people of Israel walked from Egypt, where they were enslaved, through the desert for 40 years until they reached the land promised by God,” Pope Francis said in October 2016.

Similarly, in May 2015 the Pope clearly stated non-recognition of the Jewish state is tantamount to anti-Semitism. None of the Palestinian organizations calling on Francis to boycott Israel recognize it and are therefore anti-Semitic.

We must ensure that the Palestinians fail in all of their attempts to hinder Israel’s advances and its contributions to world sports.

We must urge the Pope not to heed the Palestinians’ anti-Semitic call to boycott the Jewish state.

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