Palestinians Launch Protests to Boycott Puma Due to Israeli Sponsorship

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, last week, organized many international actions to call for a boycott on German sports goods manufacturer Puma. The boycott movement was also supported by pro-Palestine and BDS activists. The reason for this is due to Puma’s association with the Israeli Football Association (IFA).

Puma, at the moment, sponsors the IFA, which includes six football teams from the illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. Last year, in 2018, Puma had signed a four-year deal for sponsoring the IFA, which directly meant providing equipment and kits, to all of Israel’s national football teams.

Coming to the boycott movement, then the organizers in Germany, France, Portugal, Malaysia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Egypt, Nigeria, Spain, Belgium, Hong Kong, Argentina, New Zealand, Jordan, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, and the United States held protests and demonstrated outside the stores of Puma, in several cities.

Image Credit: peoplesdispatch.org

Leaflets were distributed by the protestors to the general people, containing information about ‘Boycott Puma’ campaign. They also raised slogans such as “Boycott Puma! Boycott Apartheid!”

Information stands were also put by the activists in many of the cities for engaging the general public, answering their questions, raise awareness about the reasons, and also the objectives of the campaign.

There were also grassroots “counter-advertisements” for the campaign, in the UK. They appeared in bus stations across London.

Previously, in April, the BDS movement said in a statement:

When companies like Puma sponsor and profit from illegal Israeli settlements, they give a nod to Israel’s far-right regime that its criminal land grabs and attacks on Palestinian sports can continue unabated.

In the statement, the BDS movement also mentioned Palestinian footballers like Mohammad Khalil and Mahmoud Sarsak. They both were forced to retire prematurely after losing their limbs as a result of injuries in Israeli gunfire.

Adding further, it had also highlighted bombing of Palestinian playgrounds and stadiums by the military of Israel in Gaza. Restrictions were also put on sports activities, especially near the apartheid wall, and also near the construction of Israeli sports clubs and stadiums on stolen, occupied Palestinian land.

Apart from the above reasons and the call for a boycott, the most interesting thing is that Puma’s own code of conduct makes this partnership with Israel Football Association very incompatible. Because Puma always shows its commitment, publicly, towards justice. In 2018, it had launched its own social justice #Reform campaign, committed to “making sure that it is not complicit in human rights abuses”. This campaign was inspired by Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the Olympic athletes, who raised their fists in the 1968 Olympic games, protesting against racism in the United States at that time.

Now, in the current scenario, if Puma doesn’t end its partnership with the IFA, and continues to take profit from it, then it will reflect itself as a total hypocrite while also setting an unwanted example of doublespeak.

Source: peoplesdispatch.org

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