This Is The Moment For The UEFA Member Nations To Discuss Banning Israel.

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Yesterday, the International Court of Justice issued its provisional finding on South Africa’s case against Israel for genocide.

South Africa knows that a court case will take years. Gaza doesn’t have years. This is why they wanted an expedited process and a provisional judgement along with emergency measures. The court gave them everything it was empowered to do.

That’s important to note because the Israeli lobby is claiming victory because the ICJ did not order a ceasefire; this is not a case involving unprovoked aggression and until a court rules on whether Israel’s right to self defence is valid here that was never going to happen.

But the long and short of it is that the ICJ has demanded that a country set up to protect a people from genocide immediately cease any actions which constitute genocide.

The world changed yesterday. In a small way, to some, and one that does not bring immediate relief to Gaza but it changed nevertheless and like a stone thrown into a still pond the ripples will spread outwards in every direction and you’ll see at some stage where it leads.

It should lead us to a better world.

But of course, Israel is already fighting back, accusing the ICJ, of all organisations, of being anti-Semitic, a charge which is frankly ridiculous and shows how far from the path of sanity the government, led by its amoral gangster Netanyahu, has strayed. The UK and US have shamefully refused to accept the verdict. That’s about what I expected.

But the rest of the world is urging Israel to respect the court and follow its edicts.

If they fail to do so what then? If Israel ends up in open violation of the ICJ, that’s a problem for them because they have spent decades telling the world that they are the reasonable party in this dispute, that they are the nation with laws and respect for law and order and that they are the only democracy in the region, with all the status that confers on them.

Yet those sorts of countries do not openly violate international law.

They do not spit in the face of the international court, and the reason South Africa brought its case forward in the way it did and the ICJ heard it in the timely manner it did is because the world community cannot afford to stand back and wait until a hundred thousand or more Palestinians are dead and the patch of land they call home has been entirely destroyed before they tell Israel to stop.

South Africa recognises that we cannot wait for a verdict in a far-off hearing years after the last vestige of Palestinian self determination has been wiped away.

The bottom line is, one of the highest courts of justice in the world – arguably the highest court of justice in the world – has given Israel an ultimatum to cease actions of a genocidal nature.

They have one month to submit a report outlining their efforts to do so. I would think the ICJ will respond to that report in short order and issue another ruling.

If Israel is found to be in breach of the court, what does the world do then? And if that question seems slightly above our level here then let me put it in simpler terms, one that ties in with the mission of this blog and the reason we’re all here; what does football do then? Russia was banned for the act of invading Ukraine; nobody waited to see if they indiscriminately killed civilians and bombed cities and tried to wipe the country off the map.

Their behaviour was a violation of international law, an act of unprovoked aggression. Football acted then in defence of international law and I wholeheartedly agreed with the decision and still do. Israel’s own actions as laid out by the ICJ are arguably worse.

Yes, their action is different. It was not unprovoked.

They invaded Gaza to destroy Hamas, but if the world is going to accept that answer and accept that this comes with consequences, how would they have responded to the US launching airstrikes on drug labs in Mexico or, in the 1980’s, British missiles hitting targets in the Faulds Road?

The central argument is basically the same … but had London done that, the outcry both here and abroad, would have brought down the government on the first day.

Is football really going to wait for a hundred thousand Palestinian dead, or a million Palestinian dead before it recognises the immense contradiction, the sterling hypocrisy, the crushing weight of its own moral collapse?

Will football really fail to act on what the world is watching, and what the ICJ has ordered stopped? What if Israel doesn’t stop?

If Israel violates the ICJ ruling that’s them telling the world that they’ve gone rogue, that they are an outlaw nation state, no different to, no better than, Russia.

The UK and the USA standing by them at that point will shatter forever our own claims to being morally upstanding … and furthermore, as South Africa has pointed out, will make us co-defendants in a future case if we’re seen to be aiding acts of genocide.

I was proud of UEFA and FIFA when they issued the ban on Russia. That’s a massive moral statement from a game which has been accused of being bankrupt in that regard.

It was football telling the governments of the world that they cannot act so contrary to the ideals of the global sporting family without consequences, and those consequences are larger than they seem, which is why the sports boycott of South Africa back in the days of apartheid was so serious.

It is a huge statement telling Israel that they have left the path of being a responsible member of the global family. It confers pariah status on them on a vast worldwide stage. It is, in effect, an enormous blacklisting, an act which will shake Israel to its foundations and force people within that country to confront the reality and the totality of what is going on here.

UEFA cannot allow, as a full participating member, a country which openly thumbs its nose at the international court of justice, and which right now is pulverising the Palestinian people to the point of calamity. Netanyahu’s disavowal of a two-state solution effectively renders those people without a home to return to, and that’s a further violation of international law and something UEFA should take a lot more seriously than it does.

This is the moment for football to issue its own response. This is a moment for an emergency meeting of the UEFA General Council and a discussion about whether to impose conditions on Israeli membership, starting with their complete compliance with the international court.

Anything less and UEFA has blood on its own hands, and if the organisation itself won’t act, its member associations must.

I am not going to wait for leadership from Hampden or Wembley, but other European nations take their responsibilities seriously and are more likely to play a leading role, and it would not be before time. Frankly, this is it.

The people of Gaza are on the brink of slaughter.

Football must not wait for that to be complete before it collectively says “stop” and ceases to treat the nation responsible with kid gloves. The Israelis themselves are very clear that the gloves are off, and they won’t stop until they themselves pay some kind of diplomatic price.

Football can show moral leadership here or stand condemned. For all UEFA’s sordid history of scandal, a failure to act here would be the one to top the lot of it.

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  • Roonsa says:

    The problem everyone, with an ounce of intelligence, has is this. As soon as you try to separate the concept of Israel and the Jewish people, you are accused of being an anti Semite. The pro Israeli lobby is immensely powerful and always moves to protect the status quo.

    In other words James. You are wasting your time. There’s about as much chance of the UK ever having a Catholic Prime Minister or Head of State as there is of what you are calling for. i.e. None.

    • SSMPM says:

      Hard to believe I know but sadly Boris is Catholic thus was that Catholic PM

      • James Forrest says:

        Blair, I think, made the decision to convert whilst in office. He was a practicing Catholic but not “official” until he left. Alastair Campbell talks about it in one of his diaries. Blair attended chapel all the time, even when senior civil servants told him that the Church of England would not be pleased if they found out.

  • Bob (original) says:

    Good article.

    Nobody wants politics in sport, but in reality it happens.

    The example of FIFA & UEFA banning Russia, means that imposing

    a ban on israel must be a logical consideration after the ICJ ruling?

    And separately:

    perhaps the original – politcal – decision to admit a Middle Eastern country

    into UEFA competitions needs to be revisited?

    The israeli lobby is indeed powerful, but is arguably at its weakest point now.

    Global public opinion has shifted: FIFA & UEFA should do the right thing.

  • Eldraco says:

    100% agree and dont stop at football. Good article

  • Tony B says:

    Continuing use of the term anti semite against everyone who disagrees with the war criminal Netanyahu and his right wing junta, effectively renders the term meaningless.

    The Israelis have accused the ICJ of anti Semitism, a ludicrous notion, particularly given that one of its members who voted against Israel yesterday, is an Israeli himself.

    Given this, we are all apparently anti Semitic, and if Netanyahu’s definition is valid, then I proudly admit to being so.

    Next year in Palestine.

  • Sean says:

    Football will not act against Israel not a hope. Their friends are too powerful. They also should be kicked out of European competition, they aren’t European.

  • Henry McDade says:

    Time for the players to take action. No use looking to the masons, establishment, elites or bureaucrats for a lead on this.

    By the way, the court couldn’t order a ceasefire as not all parties were represented in court. and big congrats to impoverished South Africa for demonstrating morality, ethics and and standing up for the rights of the Palestinians.

  • Unrepentant fenian says:

    It is not the government’s who will stop this but the ordinary people bringing pressure by small acts piled upon small acts until the weight of them brings the racist apartheid state to it senses
    Small acts like the dunne store strike like our trade unions in the arms industry refusing to work on any thing that keeps the zionist facistic bastards who run a country they claim is theirs by virtue of a prophecy think on that a prophecy time to boycott everything Israeli get the crooked bibi to the hague I would urge my fellow celtic fans to get to Edinburgh next Saturday for the national demonstration you will miss the match but some things are bigger than football
    Celtic 1st Celtic forever

  • Johnny Green says:

    UEFA will do nothing, they are too busy collecting fines for fans waving Palestinian flags. The greedy, immoral, unscrupulous fukkers won’t want to lose that easily gained revenue.

  • goodghuy says:

    Boris Johnson is a catholic, I would also ban Iran from any competitions, they have a brutal and barbaric regime. A women was in custody last year in that country for refusing to wear a hijab, and they murdered her for it. They say death to USA, and death to Jews. They are also backing the terrorist Houthis and hesballah who are committing piracy. Iran should also be banned if Israel are to be banned.

  • S. Joyce says:

    Does the UK , USA and EU not exist in your blinkered world view James Forest?

    Shouldn’t the USA ,Scotland, England and NI been banned by uefa for illegally invading Iraq in 2003 and murdering 1 million Iraqis with criminal sanctions ?
    Should Norway,all UK international teams, USA,France and Italy been banned by uefa for attacking Libya in 2011 ?
    Should USA have been banned in 1999 for bombing Belgrade for 76 days and nights?
    What of USA illegal invasion of Afghanistan?
    What of yefa bans for Canada, USA,Japan, Netherlands,Germany, Scotland,England, Wales,NI, France,Italy etc for currently illegally occupying a huge part of a sovereign nation called Syria ?which is itself a war crime.
    Any Uefa bans for any of those ?
    Uefa bans are only for countries that won’t bow down to the US,UK and EU imperialists.
    I think you ought to stick to Celtic and leave the geopolitics to those who know what they are talking about .

    • James Forrest says:

      To answer your sarcastic and condescending question; probably.

      I was a political activist for over 10 years when I quit the Labour Party, and frontline politics, and it was because of the invasion of Iraq. I consider it a criminal act. I consider Blair and Bush to be criminals. They should have stood trial in The Hague for that.

      I disagree on Syria because Assad is a murdering bastard.

      So, you stumbled in there without knowing a damn thing about what you were talking about, and made the critical error that every lawyer knows not to make; don’t ever ask a question like that without knowing the answer.

      Yes, they probably should have been banned. In a just world they would have. That’s yesterday’s argument though, and I’m focussed on today. But of course they should. And yes, it’s scandalous hypocrisy. That is the world we live in.

      If you’re saying Israel doesn’t deserve the ban, that’s another argument, but if you’re saying they do, what’s the problem?

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