While anti-Israel bullies threatened Messi in 2018 until his team canceled its match in Israel, they failed this time around to deter the Argentinian athlete from visiting the Holy Land.
By United with Israel Staff and AP
International soccer superstar Lionel Messi arrived in Israel for a much-anticipated match, despite calls for boycotts and the threat of rocket fire.
The Argentinian national team landed Sunday in Israel for an international friendly match against Uruguay in Tel Aviv.
In 2018, a vicious, anti-Israel boycott campaign derailed a planned visit by Messi for a World Cup warmup match, with the primary perpetrator of the boycott, Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub, fined and banned for a year by the international soccer sanctioning body (FIFA) following the incident.
Rajoub had personally targeted Messi and called on him to boycott Israel, threatening that if Messi did play in Israel, Arab and Muslim sports fans would burn photos and t-shirts of the Barcelona FC superstar.
“He’s a big symbol so we are going to target him personally, and we call on all to burn his picture and his shirt and to abandon him,” he stated.
At that time, Argentina’s national football team succumbed to BDS demands and cancelled the match against Israel’s national soccer team in Jerusalem.
The friendly match was cancelled just three days before it was scheduled to take place, prior to the World Cup in Russia.
This time around, Messi resisted boycott calls, arriving in Israel with his teammates Sunday to play a match later in the week against Uruguay’s national team.