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Sports Boycott - Israeli Player To Face Protest

Israeli player to face protest with launching of sports boycott

A protest will be held outside the ASB Tennis Classic in Auckland tomorrow morning against the presence of Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer.

On the eve of the tournament last Sunday evening we wrote to Shahar requesting she respect international calls for a comprehensive boycott of Israel and withdraw from the tournament. The letter highlighted the attacks and invasion of Gaza by the Israeli army and the heavy death toll of Palestinians which includes over 100 children.

We have received no response and a protest calling on her to withdraw is being planned for tomorrow morning (Thursday 8th) at 9.00am outside the venue. We will encourage people to bring old shoes to the protest.

The sports boycott of Israel is a key part of any boycott campaign because it is much more visible than a trade or investment boycott and can have an important psychological impact. We saw this with the successful sports boycotts against apartheid South Africa which had a big impact in South Africa and around the world.

Israel follows policies towards Palestinians which are remarkably similar to the apartheid policies of the white South African regime. As far back as 1989 South Africa’s Bishop Desmond Tutu said “if you change the names, the description of what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank would be a description of what is happening in South Africa.”

Just as there developed an international consensus that the best way to pressure South Africa was through a comprehensive boycott so the same international consensus is developing in relation to Israel. Thursday’s protest is the opening shot in this campaign which also includes calls for boycotts in trade, investment, commerce, diplomacy, culture and academic contacts.

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A new website has been launched this week at (BIG = Boycott Israeli Goods) which has begun to highlight Israeli goods for sale in New Zealand and calls on shoppers to boycott these products and the stores that continue to stock them.

We acknowledged to Shahar is a significant sacrifice we are asking her to make because as a professional tennis player she relies on these tournaments for a living. However the sacrifices being forced onto Palestinians by Israel are far greater and she should be prepared to make the sacrifice.

The letter to Shahar follows this release.

John Minto
Mike Treen
4 January 2009
Shahar Peer (Israeli Tennis Player)
ASB Tennis Classic

Kia ora Shahar,

Request for you to withdraw from ASB Tennis Classic

We are writing to request you to withdraw from the ASB Tennis Classic as part of a comprehensive international boycott of Israel.

Israel’s attacks on the Gaza strip are indefensible and just the latest chapter in a 60-year history of oppression and brutality directed towards Palestinians who were forced from their homes, villages and lands to make way for an exclusive Jewish state.

In Gaza, the West Bank and in Israel itself Palestinians are treated as second class citizens by a myriad of laws and policies which in all key respects mirror the apartheid policies of the white regime of South Africa. Just as an international consensus developed to boycott South Africa to bring pressure for change, a similar consensus is developing for a boycott of Israel.

We applaud the many Jewish human rights and civil rights groups which have called on Israel to cease its attacks on Gaza and who also support full citizenship rights for all Palestinians.

We realise as a professional tennis player this is a significant sacrifice you are being asked to make. However it is much less than the sacrifice being made by Palestinian families under siege by Israel. We therefore urge you to respect this boycott and withdraw from the ASB Tennis Classic.

We look forward to hearing from you.


John Minto

Mike Treen

© Scoop Media

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