(JTA) – Two-time soccer world champion Argentina will travel to Israel to play a friendly match between the two national teams despite pressure from BDS activists. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, which launched a global campaign against the match including sending letters to Argentine sports figures, so far has been unable to stop the match scheduled for June 9. The Argentinean National Secretary of Sports and the Argentine Football Association received a letter signed by the Argentinean Committee of Solidarity with Palestine calling to cancel the match. The letter says that cancellation of the friendly match “would represent the solidarity values of the Argentine people towards other people’s victims of oppression, apartheid and genocide.”
The boycott campaign is using the motto “Argentina don’t go” to Israel, or #ArgentinaNoVayas.
On Sunday, the main sport national television channel, TyCSports, announced that it would broadcast the match live on June 9. The Israeli event organizer Cometc also published details of the match. The announcement of the match on both sides of the ocean means that, despite the BDS campaign, Israeli fans will have the opportunity to see the global soccer stars Lionel Messi, who currently plays for Barcelona, Spain; Sergio “Kun” Aguero, who plays for Manchester City, UK; and Angel Di Maria, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain, France playing in front of them just one week before the start of the World Cup. Lionel Messi, who will play for the Argentinian national team at the 2018 World Cup Russia, serves as a brand ambassador for an Israeli start-up company.