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  • Israel's sports minister posts video with genocidal chants by fans

    At the end of a Facebook video encouraging sportsmanlike conduct by fans from one of Israel's most notoriously racist soccer clubs, those surrounding Miri Regev break out into chants of 'burn your village,' directed at the opposing team — from an Arab city in Israel. It’s not every day that a senior government minister, who a week earlier was Israel’s acting prime minister for several days, publishes a video of herself smiling as she is embraced by people letting out genocidal chants. Then again, this is the same minister who a few years ago called African asylum seekers in Israel “a…

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  • An Arab-American’s final thoughts before the election

    The first time I got called a sandnigger I was one semester into an English Lit. degree at the University of Tennessee, where football — the kind that involves hands — was a game more urgent than war. In August of 1990, I said goodbye to my Palestinian family and set off to attend college in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where 18 years earlier, my mother had given birth to me. That I was born in that unlikely place was an accident of fate. My mother and father had arrived by way of a family friend, who, after the 1967 war, had…

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  • After FIFA complaint, Israel lets Gaza soccer players travel to championship game in Hebron

    The Palestine Cup final, which was originally scheduled to take place Saturday, was delayed due to an Israeli-imposed travel ban on 11 players from Gaza. Petition to boot Israeli settlement teams collects 150,000 signatures. By Yoni Mendel Seventy-two hours after Israel refused to allow 11 Palestinian soccer players travel from Gaza to the West Bank to participate in the Palestine Cup, Israeli authorities reversed a travel ban on six of the players on Monday. The approval, which followed a Palestinian complaint to FIFA, international soccer’s governing body, paves the way for the final game to go forward on Tuesday. [tmwinpost] The game…

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  • Palestinians turn to FIFA over Israeli restrictions

    For the second time in a week, Israeli authorities place travel restrictions on players meant to participate in Palestine Cup matches. A motion to expel Israel from FIFA last year was withdrawn after Palestinians received assurances on freedom of movement. By Yoni Mendel The Palestinian Football Association said it will escalate its complaint with FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, over Israel’s refusal to allow Palestinian soccer players to travel between the West Bank and Gaza for games in the Palestine Cup over the past week, Palestinian news site Sawa reported Saturday. The complaint comes as the Israeli military has refused to allow seven players from Gaza-based Shabab Khan…

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  • Israel's most racist soccer club isn't shouting 'death to Arabs'

    Compared to the overt, oft-condemned and penalized racism of Beitar Jerusalem, Maccabi Tel Aviv’s racism is more mainstream. That makes it more dangerous. An ugly brawl erupted on the soccer pitch on Tuesday at the end of a league match between Maccabi Tel Aviv and Bnei Sakhnin, which is the most successful Palestinian club in Israel. It followed a bad-tempered encounter between the two sides last week for a cup semi-final, when Maccabi player Tal Ben Haim — a decent soccer player but a dreadful sportsperson — disregarded one of the unwritten sporting codes of the game. While Sakhnin player…

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  • WATCH: Israeli students stage soccer tournament for refugees

    Israel is imprisoning thousands of African asylum seekers in a desert detention facility called ‘Holot.’ A group of students and youngsters from Be’er Sheva, in southern Israel, recently organized a soccer tournament with the asylum seekers in an attempt to make them feel less isolated. Israeli authorities systematically deny the Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers any chance of getting refugee status, leaving them without any legal status in the country, and often detaining them without charge or trial. Read more on the situation of refugees and asylum seekers in Israel here.

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  • What Israelis don’t get about attempts to boot Israel from FIFA

    It is incomprehensible that one of the premier clubs in Israel doesn't allow Arab players — because they are Arab. By Asaf Marziano The head of Palestinian Football Federation, Jibril Rajoub, is attempting to have Israel expelled from FIFA, soccer's international governing body. The topic has been making headlines in Israel and internationally in recent weeks, coinciding with a visit to the region by FIFA President Sepp Blatter last week. Despite attempts by Israel, and Blatter, it seems that Rajoub's initiative might bear fruit. The topic will come up for a vote in FIFA on Friday. [tmwinpost] Rajoub's stated reasons…

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  • How one soccer match tells the entire Palestinian story

    On Friday morning, the Palestine national soccer team will face off against Jordan, a team with a majority of Palestinian players, in the Asian Cup. Whether they choose to or not, the 22 players on the field will tell the story of refugees, occupation, checkpoints and the connection between home and diaspora. Oh, and they'll also play soccer.  By Yonatan Mendel May 30, 2014 will go down as one of the biggest days in the history of Palestinian soccer. It happened far away from home, in Malé, the capital of Maldives. Palestine made it to the final round of the AFC…

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  • Hunger striking Palestinian footballer at risk of death

    Mahmoud Sarsak, midfielder for the Palestinian national football team, has been on hunger strike for 82 days in protest of his detention without trial. Physicians for Human Rights has expressed "grave concern for his life." Sarsak (25) is a resident of the Rafah refugee camp and a prominent player in the Palestinian national football team. On July 22, 2009 Sarsak arrived at the Erez checkpoint between Gaza and Israel with a valid permit to enter the West Bank, where he was seeking to advance his sporting career, after already having received offers from a German football team. However, the permit didn't…

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