(JTA) – A boycott campaign is threatening the friendly soccer match between the national teams of Israel and Argentina. The boycott campaign sponsored by BDS Argentina is using the motto “Argentina don’t go” to Israel, or #ArgentinaNoVayas. BDS stands for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. Argentina’s national soccer team with global soccer star Lionel Messi, who currently is playing for the Spanish team Barcelona, is scheduled to play against Israel in its last friendly match on June 9 in Tel Aviv, just one week before the opening of the World Cup in Russia. The campaign is getting international exposure, and has been picked up in Spain.
Argentinean National Secretary of Sports and the Argentine Football Association, or AFA, on April 6 received a letter signed by the Argentinean Committee of Solidarity with Palestine asking for the cancellation of the soccer match showcasing the national team of Argentina in Tel Aviv against the Israeli squad. The letter said that the cancellation of that friendly match “should represent the solidarity of values of the Argentine people towards other peoples who are victims of oppression, apartheid and genocide.”
The letter from the Argentinean Committee of Solidarity with Palestine calls the BDS movement a tool to pressure Israel with the objective of changing its “racist policy and violation of human rights,” and concluded, saying: “We call on Argentina not to play this game in Israel.” The friendly matches are not under the auspices of the international soccer federation, or FIFA, and are rather an agreement between the two national associations, meaning it is easy for one side to decide to cancel the match.