300 Palestinian Sports Clubs Call to Ban Israel from the Olympics
As the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meets today, more than 300 Palestinian sports clubs and dozens of major Palestinian civil society organizations are launching a call to #BanIsrael from the Olympics, starting with the games in Paris this summer.
The Palestinian clubs, which include men’s and women’s football, basketball, and volleyball teams, and those whose players have been killed by Israeli bullets, are calling on the IOC to “apply its principles and fulfill its obligations by banning Israel from the next Olympic Games to be held in Paris in July 2024, until it ends its grave violations of international law, particularly its system of apartheid and its ongoing genocide in Gaza.”
More than 24,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israel, in what UN experts have concluded amounts to an unfolding genocide. Among the many professional and aspiring athletes and coaches killed by Israel is the Palestinian Olympic football team coach, Captain Hani Al Masdar. Israel’s bombings also destroyed the office of the Palestinian Olympic committee in Gaza.
The Palestinian call reminds the global sporting community that to “allow Israel, in the midst of a genocide, to participate in the upcoming Olympic games would signal to the international community that the IOC approves of the gravest of war crimes.”
The Palestinian teams appeal to sports communities and sports fans and activists in the Arab region, the Global South, and around the world to adopt their demand and “pressure the IOC to ban Israel through effective means, including the peaceful disruption of meetings and gatherings in preparation for the Olympic Games.”
The Palestinian sports clubs also note that while IOC promptly imposed comprehensive sanctions on Russia, it has not only refused to apply the same standards to Israel’s decades-old system of military occupation and apartheid, it has sanctioned “sports federations and individual athletes who dare to speak out against Israel’s human rights abuses or who take moral stances in solidarity with Palestinians.”
Balata Youth Center commented:
Israel’s attacks on Palestinian sports are personal for us. Our 16-year-old player Said Odeh was killed by an Israeli bullet. He is among dozens and dozens of Palestinian athletes killed by Israel, including in its genocidal assault on Gaza. It’s time to put an end to Western-dominated sporting bodies’ shameful business-as-usual approach with genocidal Israel. Creative global campaigns to exclude apartheid South Africa made a significant contribution to dismantling that country’s oppressive regime. We need to employ the same level of pressure, from the boardrooms to the streets, to force the IOC to end its hypocrisy and ban Israel. We need your support to peacefully disrupt the road to the Paris games.
There are growing calls for Israel to be excluded from international sports.
Following an Israeli military raid on Al Yarmouk stadium in Gaza, which was transformed into a detention, torture and interrogation center and then bulldozed and destroyed, the Palestinian Football Association called on FIFA and international sports federations to “subject Israel to legal accountability” over its flagrant violations.
More than 200 athletes across many sports in Ireland are calling on international sporting bodies, including the Olympic Federation of Ireland, to demand an investigation into Israel’s violation of the Olympic charter and to impose sanctions.
More than 37,000 people have signed a recent petition by the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 calling for an “immediate suspension of Israel from participation in all international sports until it fully complies with international law and sports regulations.”
The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has announced that it will not allow the participation of Israel in the IIHF Championships, invoking the same “security” reasons used to suspend Russia and Belarus from competitions.
The Palestinian sports clubs and civil society organizations, which include major trade unions, the Palestinian Bar Association, and the General Union of Palestinian Women, and the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, are calling on Olympic committees in the Arab region, the Global South, and friendly states in the West to join them and “demand Israel be banned from the next Olympic games.”