Jul 21, 2011

#BDS: Normalizing Israeli apartheid through international sporting events

"The use of sport to unite children divided by street violence and traumatized by war is a compelling idea. 'Serious Play: The Goal is Peace' is the title of a 7 July Huffington Post article by Alison Craiglow Hockenberry. It opens with the anecdote of a young Jürgen Griesbeck overcoming the murder of his friend in Colombia in 1994 by founding a program called Football for Peace, which brings at-risk kids together to play in Medellín, “one of the most dangerous and violent cities in the world”. Next up is the story of Palestinian children, of whom interviewee Hani Qattan of PACES - the Palestinian Association for Children's Encouragement of Sports is quoted as saying, "are exposed to drugs, smoking, and... extremism that may result in violence" if they are left idle in the street. Looking at the PACES website homepage, these young girls do not look like potential terrorists, but never mind, they are Palestinian. That is why the Peres Centre for Peace, established in 1996 by current Israeli president Shimon Peres, who has played a prominent role in successive Israeli wars of choice, inflicting death and suffering on countless children, has stepped in with its ‘Twinned Peace Sport School’ to bring over 2,000 Palestinian and Israeli kids together on teams to play and compete."

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