Palestinians call for international day of action against Puma

Over 200 Palestinian football and sports clubs issue call to boycott Puma for sponsoring Israel Football Association.

    The campaign accused Puma of lending its brand to cover up and whitewash Israel's human rights abuses [File: Raad Adayleh/The Associated Press]
    The campaign accused Puma of lending its brand to cover up and whitewash Israel's human rights abuses [File: Raad Adayleh/The Associated Press]

    Activist groups in more than 20 countries have joined an international day of action against the German sports brand Puma, urging it to cancel a deal with Israel's football association.

    The groups on Saturday heeded the call of more than 200 Palestinian football clubs and sports organisations to boycott Puma until it withdraws its sponsorship from the Israel Football Association (IFA).

    Israel's football governing body includes six teams based in Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are illegal under international law.

    "When companies like Puma sponsor and profit from illegal settlements, they give a nod to Israel's far-right regime that its criminal land grabs and attacks on Palestinian sports can continue unabated," a statement by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) said.

    Al Jazeera has contacted Puma for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.

    This month marks 52 years since Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

    Using the slogan "Give Puma the Boot", the campaign encouraged groups to take action at Puma shops, Puma offices and the offices of Puma-sponsored teams.

    Last September, Palestinian sports clubs wrote to the CEO of Puma, Bjorn Gulden, to end the sponsorship deal with the IFA.

    "Israel's settlements contribute to serious human rights abuses and are a direct cause for restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement, access to natural resources and ability to build homes and conduct business," the letter said.

    "As the main international sponsor of the IFA, Puma is lending its brand to cover up and whitewash Israel's human rights abuses, including against Palestinian footballers."

    The letter went on to say that Palestinian players, in addition to being denied the freedom of movement to attend their own matches due to Israel's occupation, are also subjected to being routinely attacked, imprisoned or killed.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News