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Protest at ASB Tennis Classic - Shahar Peer must go

Protest at ASB Tennis Classic - Shahar Peer must go


Global Peace and Justice Auckland and the Palestine Human Rights Campaign will hold a protest outside the ASB Tennis Classic in Auckland on January 3rd next year on the basis we expect Israeli player Shahar Peer to be playing. Peer is not on the official playing list yet but we expect her to be a last-minute, wild-card entry to avoid early publicity and associated controversy.

The protest is part of the international BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign to isolate apartheid Israel.

Arab Israeli's are discriminated against in all areas of life while the Palestinian population of the Gaza strip and West Bank suffer all the effects of a brutal military occupation.

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."

Shahar Peer supports her government policies and is the poster girl for the Israeli military. The photo below shows her posing for the media on her first day of induction into the army. Military training is compulsory but Peer has been exempted because of her profile as an international tennis player.

She is more valuable to Israel as an international sporting ambassador than manning a checkpoint on the occupied West Bank.

Speaking about her first day in uniform Peer said serving in the army was "better than playing Maria Sharapova" despite the Israeli army being regarded around the world as a force for state-sponsored terrorism against Palestinians. Peer could have joined the ranks of young Israelis who refuse to do military service (the "refuseniks") and suffer for their courage. Instead she went out of her way to encourage and promote recruitment to the Israeli military.

The last time Peer was in New Zealand she was portrayed in the media as an innocent, apolitical, young tennis player, just doing her job, and being harassed by bullying protestors.

In 2011 we expect the media to do a bit more homework before she appears here again and gives New Zealanders a more balanced account of the protests.

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