Global Campaign

Ban Apartheid Israel from Sports


Israel's regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid, which has oppressed Indigenous Palestinians since 1948, prevents Palestinians from practicing their sports.

During Israel’s genocidal attacks on Gaza, the Israeli military occupied Al Yarmouk stadium, transforming it into a detention, torture and interrogation center, before completely destroying it. 

Palestinian players and athletes are routinely attacked, imprisoned and killed. Athletes are denied freedom of movement to attend their own matches, competitions and trainings. Palestinian stadiums and sports infrastructures have been bombed and destroyed. Israel even prevents sports equipment from being imported and sports facilities from being developed.

Racism against Palestinians is institutionalized in Israeli sports – from segregated youth football leagues to anti-Palestinian hate from fan clubs that goes routinely unpunished.

In addition, Israeli football and basketball clubs based in illegal settlements are allowed to compete in official Israeli leagues, making international governing bodies FIFA and FIBA complicit in Israel’s violations of international law.

Despite all this, Western dominated sports bodies have looked the other way, refusing to take action. More than 300 Palestinian sports clubs and dozens of civil society organizations are calling to #BanIsrael from the Olympics. Join us as we seek to ban Israel from international sports forums, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and FIFA, until it ends its grave crimes against Palestinians and its attacks on Palestinian sports.


Ban Apartheid Israel from Sports



Israel’s decades old regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid has for decades denied Palestinians their basic rights, including cultural rights. Israel has killed and maimed dozens of Palestinian athletes, including during its genocidal assault on Gaza that started in October 2023. 

But well before Israel’s genocide against 2.3 million Palestinians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip, Israel has deliberately and systematically destroyed Palestinian stadiums and sports infrastructures and detained Palestinian players and athletes. It has restricted their freedom of movement, banning Palestinian athletes in the occupied West Bank from training with their counterparts in the Gaza Strip, and subjecting them to interrogations at checkpoints when traveling across the West Bank or abroad to take part in international competitions.  Israeli forces have in the past deliberately targeted the feet of teenage Palestinian footballers with live ammunition.

Meanwhile, Israel allows football and basketball teams based in its illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land to play in its official leagues. FIFA, FIBA, and the IOC have failed to take action against Israel for its inclusion of these illegal teams in its official leagues and for its attacks on Palestinian sports. By failing to act, these sporting bodies are allowing Israel to  sportswash its forced displacement of Palestinians, its apartheid regime and its genocidal military assaults on Palestinians. These same sporting bodies immediately imposed sanctions on Russia shortly after its illegal invasion of Ukraine, while not only refusing to hold Israel accountable for it decades long record of grave crimes against Palestinians, which now include genocide, but actively shielding it from accountability as well. 

Palestinians are calling to #BanIsrael from global sports, just as apartheid South Africa was. 

Find out more


Israel’s apartheid regime has killed and maimed dozens of Palestinian footballers and athletes, in its repeated military assaults on besieged Gaza, in particular the Gaza Genocide, and its attacks across the occupied West Bank. 

In 2018, the Palestinian Amputee Football Association was founded in Gaza and consists mainly of players who lost limbs to repeated Israeli military assaults on Palestinians in Gaza and sniper fire at peaceful protests.

Palestinians have long complained to sporting bodies such as FIFA and the IOC about Israeli attacks against Palestinian sports, including arrest, torture, denial of movement permits of athletes, the bombing of football stadiums, in addition to routine disruptions of the import of sports equipment.

Israel’s illegal wall, colonial settlements, as well as its policy of siege, curfew and military roadblocks have systematically obstructed the practice of sports by Palestinians and denied Palestinian athletes regular training and participation in matches and tournaments, at home and abroad.

Moreover, Israel consistently prevents Palestinian athletic teams from traveling and denies entry of international athletes into the occupied Palestinian territory.

Israel has routinely arrested Palestinian players before games. In 2012, Israel demolished a community center in Silwan which served two football groups and 300 children.

Furthermore, Palestinian football players have been forced to end their sports careers after being shot by Israeli forces in the legs.

Gaza’s al-Zeitoun stadium, bombed by Israel in the summer of 2014 and photographed in October 2014. (Mohammed Asad)


Israeli football teams enact racist policies toward Palestinians. The Israel Football Association has failed to address and sanction its constituent teams for tolerating and perpetuating racism and extremist hate speech. Below are a few examples of these discriminatory strategies.

Guy Levi, former coach for the very prominent Israeli team, Beitar Jerusalem, said he would not bring a Palestinian citizen of Israel to the team noting “Even if there were a player who fit in professionally, I would not bring him in.”  

The team’s fans have habitually attacked Palestinians and were witnessed chanting “death to the Arabs” at matches against Palestinian teams. Amit Ben Shushan, football player with Beitar Jerusalem, also sang with the audience "I hate Arabs" when they won the Israeli Cup in 2009.

The Israel Football Association (IFA) runs segregated youth leagues based on national origin, keeping Palestinian and Israeli youth from playing together.

Beitar Jerusalem fans unfurl a banner declaring the club to be racially “forever pure”. (Screenshot: Youtube)


While Israel deliberately destroys Palestinian football stadiums and detains Palestinian players, it allows teams based in illegal settlements to play in its football and basketball leagues.

Israeli settlements are considered a war crime under international humanitarian law. The UN special adviser on sport for development and peace, 66 members of the European Parliament, 30 members of the Swiss Parliament, more than 40 members of the Danish Parliament, 38 members of the British House of Commons, civil society organizations, football fans, as well as Human Rights Watch have all urged FIFA to resolve the issue of settlement clubs.

An April 2016 report, commissioned by FIFA and written by John Ruggie, makes recommendations for FIFA to implement the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights throughout its activities, outlining the human rights responsibilities of businesses. This includes the exclusion of Israeli settlement teams or the suspension of the IFA from FIFA.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has documented the grave consequences of Israeli settlements noting: “they are located on land that has been unlawfully taken from Palestinians, they exploit natural resources that belong to Palestinians but are allocated in a discriminatory manner in favor of Israelis, and they are part of a discriminatory regime that privileges Israeli businesses while blocking Palestinian businesses, social, and cultural institutions and infrastructure from developing.”

HRW’s report on Israeli settlement teams highlights the support the IFA provides for the sustainability of the settlements despite contravening international accords. As a result the IFA “is engaging in business activity that supports the settlements. Settlement football clubs provide part-time employment and recreational services to settlers, making the settlements more sustainable, thus propping up a system that exists through serious human rights violations.”

Football field in Israeli settlement Givat Ze’ev (Human Rights Watch)


UN officials, lawmakers, footballers, cultural icons, international human rights organizations and grassroots movements have all called for world football to sanction Israel for its widespread violations of Palestinian rights. 


UN Official urges resolution of Israeli settlement clubs

In 2016, a UN official  wrote to FIFA reiterating that he regards Israeli settlements – and by extension Israeli football teams that play in them – to be “without validity” and “illegal under international law.”

Public figures urge FIFA to suspend the Israel Football Association

Notable figures, including Ken Loach, Bob Russell, Ahdaf Soueif and the late John Berger have already written an open letter calling on FIFA to suspend the IFA.

Footballers condemn holding sporting events in Israel

In the larger sports boycott, in 2012 footballers condemned plans for Israel to host the UEFA Under 21 Championship in Israel, and Norwegian National team coach, Egil Olsen has supported the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

174 Palestinian Sports Clubs urge FIFA to suspend the Israel Football Association

Palestinian sports clubs call for action

174 Palestinian Sports Clubs have written a letter calling on FIFA to suspend the Israel Football Federation

Mass mobilizations

Organizations representing millions urged FIFA to expel Israeli clubs in settlements.

Take Action

Israel uses sports in its efforts to improve its image while committing grave crimes against Palestinians, including athletes. Grassroots campaigning can put pressure on hypocritical, Western-dominated world sports bodies to hold Israel to account and raise awareness on the conditions of Palestinian sports among sports fans. 

Spread the Word

Palestinian civil society organizations and sports associations are calling to #BanIsrael from global sports until it respects Palestinian rights. Help us spread the word!

Support the Palestinian call to #BanIsrael from the Olympics

Put pressure on national Olympic committees, especially in the Arab region, the Global South, and friendly states in the West, to demand Israel be banned from the Olympic games. 

Ban Israel from the Olympics

Peacefully disrupt the road to the Paris Olympics

Take peaceful direct action calling for Israel to be banned from the Paris games at IOC or national Olympic committee meetings, Olympics trials, and events leading up to the Paris games. 

Peacefully disrupt the road to the Paris Olympics

Rally the world of sports

Engage sportspeople and fan clubs in your area to speak out on Israel’s apartheid regime, genocide in Gaza, as well as attacks on Palestinian sports, and support the Palestinian call to #BanIsrael from the Olympics. See this example from Ireland. 

Sign the petition “Suspend Israel from International Sports”

Join tens of thousands worldwide by adding your signature to the petition calling to suspend Israel from international sporting bodies, like apartheid South Africa was suspended.

Sign the petition: Suspend Israel from Global Sports

Urge local sports associations to support Palestinian sports

Campaign for local sports associations to support their Palestinian colleagues. Raise awareness on the conditions of Palestinian athletes and sports among local sports teams and fan clubs.

Urge sports associations and players to join

Urge your country’s national football association and footballers to uphold international law. Help gather signatories from the world of football to pledge a boycott of friendly matches with Israel and Israeli clubs, sending a message that there is no ‘business as usual’ for as long as Israel continues to attack Palestinian football. For more information on how to join this ongoing effort please contact PACBI.