WEST BANK (Dispatches) – A rights group says it will hold an international event to honor athletes opposing normalization with the Zionist regime in late January, as Tel Aviv continues to “sportswash” its flagrant human rights violations and its appalling crimes against Palestinians through using its presence in international sports and cultural events.
The Global Campaign to Return to Palestine (GCRP) said in an announcement posted on its official Facebook and Twitter accounts that it would hold the International Forum to Honor Anti-Normalization Athletes in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, from January 31 until February 2.
The GCRP, which is an umbrella organization for civil society associations that support the Palestinian cause, both in the Arab countries and the world, added that the three-day event would take place in “recognition of the heroic act of anti-normalization athletes, and with the participation of international personalities.”
According to the announcement, the international forum would honor champion athletes who “withdrew from various international sport tournaments in refusal to normalize with the usurping entity, or to confront Zionist players.”
The GCRP, which has representatives and partners in over 45 countries around the world to set up events and movements to advocate the Palestinian cause, added in its announcement that the athletes would be awarded the “Al-Quds Golden Medal.”
Zionist Art-Washing Boycotted
Meanwhile, dozens have signed an open letter endorsing the boycott of the 2022 Sydney Festival over a sponsorship deal with the Zionist regime, after several artists and performers did the same in protest against the “art-washing” of the apartheid regime.
Signed by more than 70 Jewish organizations and individuals, the letter called on people around the world to take a stand in solidarity with Palestinians and in refusal of the regime’s propaganda.
“Following the lead of Palestinian organizers, we know that we cannot allow this art-washing to work as intended. Rather than staying silent we want to say loudly: Israeli apartheid, settler-colonialism, and occupation cannot be allowed to continue,” said the open letter.
“Israel engages in daily violence, from the violence of the military courts, checkpoints, settlements, murders, land theft and daily harassment of Palestinian communities in the West Bank; to the siege on Gaza and airstrikes; to the attacks on East [Al-Quds] in May 2021 and the differential treatment of Palestinians and Jews.”
Signing organizations included Loud Jew Collective, Jews Against Fascism, Hue, Jews against the Occupation Sydney, Tzedek Collective, and Independent Australian Jewish Voices.
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed U.S.-brokered normalization agreements with the Zionist regime in an event in Washington in September 2020. Sudan and Morocco followed suit later that year. Palestinians have condemned the deals as a treacherous “stab in the back” by the Arab regimes.
In late 2020, Tunisia reiterated that its stance on Palestine is unchanged and it would seek no normalization with the occupying regime. The country said at the time that Tunisians feel solidarity with the Palestinian people and strongly support their rights, which have been recognized by numerous United Nations resolutions and various international bodies, particularly the UN Security Council and the General Assembly.
In February 2021, about 200 clerics and scholars in Mauritania declared the normalization of diplomatic relations with the Zionist regime religiously forbidden, emphasizing that the establishment of ties with the occupying regime is not permissible in any case. In May, Kuwait’s National Assembly unanimously approved legislation that outlaws any deals or normalization of ties with Tel Aviv. And in June, Qatar said it would not normalize with the occupying regime unless the regime ends its occupation of Palestinian land, and the decades-long Zionist-Palestinian conflict is resolved.
In September, Bahrain’s main opposition group al-Wefaq National Islamic Society denounced Manama’s normalization of relations with the occupying regime as “a crime,” emphasizing that the Al Khalifah regime’s policies do not conform to the will of the Bahraini nation.