Dear Harlem Globetrotters,
We are citizens of israel who are opposed to Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian land and its imposition of an apartheid system on the Palestinian people . We support the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) . We call on you to adhere to the call and cancel your games in Israel.
As a team with a history of fighting racism and segregation in the United States, you have a deep understanding of how entertainment can never be separate from politics. Your mere existence on the playing field changed the game.
Palestinians’ “favorite national sports pastime” has been soccer since as early as 1928, right about the time the Globetrotters were founded. In 1934, while you were playing your thousandth game, the Palestinian national football team was also making waves, participating in the World Cup Championship.
But this celebration of Palestinian athletic achievement would soon come to an abrupt end, as more than half of the Palestinian population was ethnically cleansed in the year between 1947-1948, by the Zionist’s army, which that year declared Palestine as Israel.
Palestinian refugee participation in sports continued in Syria, Jordan and Gaza, but came to yet another screeching halt in 1967, when the Israeli military occupied the West Bank and Gaza.
Against all odds and through resilient organizing within the sports community, a sports body was set up, that would sponsor sports activities for both women and men, among the fragmented Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza, and the participation of Palestinian athletes who are refugees in the diaspora.
Even so, resilience is no substitute for freedom, and Palestinian football continues to suffer from Israel’s brutal occupation policies:
“...Israeli military checkpoints hinder the organization of official championships, deterring the participation of teams from various parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip."
on March 30, 2006 Israel bombed the Palestinian Football Stadium in Gaza, leaving a massive crater in its centre.
In 2004, Israel set out to prevent the Palestinian football team from representing the Palestinian people on an international level during the World Cup qualifiers by disallowing several members of the team from leaving the Gaza Strip for their second match after winning the first one against Chinese Taipei (8-0). This caused Palestine to lose their second match and their chance as World Cup contenders.
Some efforts against the Palestinian team are less noticed but equally damaging. The Palestinian team is forced to play all their home games in a foreign country, away from the support and encouragement of their fans. Unable to hold regular practice under the exigencies of Occupation, the Palestinian team has to train in Egypt, forcing players to stay away from their homes and families for extended periods.
Finally, Israels raids, closures, curfews and other Occupation methods prevent the creation of a national Palestinian football league that would serve as a pool from which new players could be recruited .
The use of overwhelming force in Operation Cast Lead in winter 2008-09 was responsible for leveling large swathes of Gaza including the Rafah National Stadium, and killing football players Ayman Alkurd, Shadi Sbakhe and Wajeh Moshate, as well as over 1,400 other Gazans...
The arbitrary arrest of thousands of Palestinians, including Gazan Palestinian National Team member Mahmoud Kamel As-Sarsak, held without trial or indeed public explanation for their arrest, is a routine tool of Israeli occupation ."
It seems only fair that the international sports community stop all business as usual with Israel, as it systematically destroys Palestinian athletic culture. Harlem Globetrotters, you can change the game: Please don’t play for apartheid Israel.
BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within.
 BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within
 Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS
 Palestine Football Federation
 Palestinian National Football Team Sabotaged
 Palestinian sports community appeal to UEFA – Red Card Israeli Apartheid