Barcelona's Lionel Messi (AP/Paul White) (AP/Paul White)
Lionel Messi

A Palestinian official is calling on Arab and Muslim sports fans to burn photos and t-shirts of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi if he attends a friendly match between Argentina and Israel.

By: United with Israel Staff

Jibril Rjoub, head of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), has called on Argentinean football star Lionel Messi to boycott Israel ahead of the Argentine football game set to be held with the Israeli team in Jerusalem,

Rijoub implored Messi not to “play a role in whitewashing the occupation,” describing the football player’s role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador “a symbol of love and peace.”

Argentina is slated to play Israel’s national football team on Saturday in a friendly match prior to the World Cup in Russia.

The Argentine Committee of Solidarity with Palestine, comprised of several so-called human rights organizations and the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, launched a failed campaign to have the Argentinian team cancel their game in Israel.

Rjoub alleged at a press conference, during a demonstration held in front of the Argentine’s Representative Office in Ramallah in protest against holding the football game in Jerusalem, that “the Israeli occupation has turned a friendly football game between the Argentine and Israeli football teams into a political tool.”

He claimed that holding the game in Jerusalem is “in contradiction with United Nations resolutions and FIFA regulations.”

“This is not a game of peace,” Rajoub stated. “It is a political game aimed at whitewashing the face of the fascist and racist occupation.”

He expressed a last-moment hope that the Argentine confederation would call off the game because “they are helping a fascist occupation that refuses to obey United Nations resolutions, whilst Palestinian players are being detained and sports institutions are being attacked by Israel.”

Rajoub said that if Messi does play in Israel, Arab and Muslim sports fans should burn photos and T-shirts of the Barcelona superstar.

Palestinian Anti-Semitism in Sports

This is not the first time Arab and anti-Israel entities have tried and failed to undermine Israel through sports events.

The Palestinians have utilized Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) several times in recent years as a platform for attacking Israel.

Rajoub, who served time in an Israeli prison for acts terrorism, is the driving force behind the Palestinian battle against Israel in the world of sports.

“Any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity,” Rajoub stated in 2014.

In 2012, slamming the idea of organized sports activities with Israelis, Rajoub stated on PA TV that he would bring Arabs by helicopter to events instead of crossing through Israel “so they will see no Jews, no Satans, no Zionist sons of bitches.”

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