Jerusalem – December 30, 2019
StandWithUs, the international Israel educational organization, cautiously welcomes comments by Hassan al Thawadi, the secretary general of the Supreme Committee for the Qatar 2022 Soccer World Cup. Sports network ESPN conducted an interview with al Thawadi, and in response to being questioned about Israelis being able to attend the World Cup, he insisted that they would.
StandWithUs has repeatedly called upon FIFA, the international football/soccer association, to ensure that the Qatari government will issue entry visas to Israeli fans wishing to attend the FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar in 2022. To date, Israel is not included in Qatar’s online list of nearly 250 nationalities and territories eligible for an entry visa. Like most Arab states (with the exceptions of Egypt and Jordan that have peace treaties with Israel) Qatar does not recognize Israel and bans Israelis from entering.
StandWithUs has been encouraging people around the world to send letters to FIFA, via its online Action Center, which assists users to create a direct action, automatically. The Action Center – which works like an in-house version of “Change.org” or similar sites, has been used successfully in many campaigns in order to counter antisemitism and support Israel in commerce, culture, in the public sphere and on social media.
FIFA’s Code of Ethics unambiguously forbid the banning of people based on their country of origin. Article 22 proscribes “offend[ing] the dignity or integrity of a country, private person or group of people through contemptuous, discriminatory or denigratory words or actions on account of race, skin colour, ethnicity, nationality, social origin, gender, disability, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, wealth, birth or any other status, sexual orientation or any other reason.”
“We call upon FIFA to uphold their Code of Ethics, which is premised on protecting international football from ‘illegal, immoral or unethical’ practices. If Qatar is allowed to ban fans on the basis of national origin, this would be a clear violation of FIFA’s guidelines,” said Roz Rothstein CEO and Co-Founder of StandWithUs.
StandWithUs-Israel Executive Director, Michael Dickson responded, “While we welcome Hassan al Thawadi’s comments, we will be watching this issue closely. There have been major issues raised regarding Qatar hosting World Cup 2022 in light of their support for terror organizations including Hamas, their use of slave labor and their attitude towards the LGBTQ community. These are all legitimate concerns, as is the issue of fans from the world’s only Jewish country being banned from attending the tournament. Many World Cup sponsors will be watching carefully to see that Qatar complies with the values that FIFA purport the championship to stand for. We expect Israeli fans – together with all others – to be able to attend and enjoy the World Cup in safety.”
Rothstein continued, “StandWithUs urges FIFA’s Ethics Committee to investigate and judge the conduct of the Government of Qatar in this matter to ensure that football fans from all states, nationalities and territories will be allowed entry to Qatar so they may participate in the 2022 World Cup. If Qatar is allowed to ban Israeli fans from entering this will reflect negatively on FIFA, which has made inclusion a primary hallmark of their ethos.”
You can send a letter to help ensure that Israeli fans can attend the 2022 World Cup, here:
Video campaign: FIFA - Let My People Go!
StandWithUs (SWU) is an eighteen year-old, international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism.
Through university fellowships, high school internships, middle school curricula, conferences, materials, social media, educational films and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel.
Based in Los Angeles, the organization has chapters and offices throughout the U.S., in Israel, the UK, Canada and Brazil.
For the last 7 years, SWU has consistently received the highest ratings from Charity Navigator (4 stars) and Guidestar (Platinum)