The Australian Jewish Association (AJA) has urged the Australian national football team to boycott their Asian Cup group match against Palestine scheduled for this Friday.
According to reports, the AJA believes “Palestine is not a country recognised by the international community and that soccer has been ‘blatantly politicised’ by the Asian Football Confederation admitting the Arab state as a member.”
On Friday, “Australia will take on Palestine in a crucial Group B clash in Dubai, needing to bounce back from their opening game loss to Jordan.” Palestine, meanwhile, picked up their first point in a major tournament on Sunday, “when they held Syria to a 0-0 draw in Sharjah”.
Palestine was admitted to FIFA in 1998 and qualified for their first Asian Cup in 2015 in Australia.
As the report notes, “despite having diplomatic relations, Australia is one of several countries globally which do not recognise Palestinian statehood.”
The AJA said Australia playing Palestine “legitimises the politicisation of the tournament” and has called on the Football Federation Australia to not take part in Friday’s match.
“The FFA board should not allow the Socceroos to play Palestine,”, AJA president David Adler said yesterday. “If compelled to do so, then at the very least it must do so under protest.”