Red Card

Soccer MickeyUEFA under 21 Israel 20137 December 2012

Mickey Mouse petition

An online petition which had gained a total of  4,844 signatures† in apparently six months should have been a non-story became a story when the Guardian’s Chris McGreal made it one.  He wrote Footballers condemn plans to hold U21 European championship in Israel. It became a much bigger story when CiF Watch noted that Two footballers cited by Chris McGreal as endorsers of anti-Israel petition flatly deny signing it. Perhaps someone might have the time to email all the footballers and ask if their signatures are authentic but as the list is overwhelmingly Muslim players it is not impossible. Some could quite well say they would have signed had they known.

For the record F.I.F.A. the international governing body of the sport claims a total of 113,000 professional players worldwide at all levels. So even if the other signatures were real approximately 0.05% of professional soccer players supported the initiative to punish Israel by stopping the 2013 UEFA under 21 championships taking place in Israel.

As much as I object to adding even one signature to even a mickey-mouse petition such as this one it occurred to me to ask, How difficult is it to sign a false name to petitions of this nature? I took the liberty of enlisting the involuntary assistance of two former football players, French great and FIFA president Michel Platini and the ‘real’ Mickey Mouse.
Their ‘signatures’ and ‘comments’ are still up there. Perhaps they can’t be removed.

Unfortunately even mentioning the petition probably gives it a new lease of life. This I thought was a reasonable cost to expose the latest addition to fauxtography and Pallywood, claiming more support than actually exists. My apologies to M. Platini and the Disney organisation for the deception. Copyright to names, likenesses and images remains their’s. The comments are, of course, my own creation.

Michel Platini

Michel Platini

Ignore anything I have said previously and the illogic of petitioning myself.

Any Palestinian who engages in terrorism against Israel should be excused if he has ever played football. Football fields used to fire rockets at Israel or store explosives should have the same protection as mosques, hospitals and schools used for the same purpose.

Mickey Mouse silhouette

Mickey Mouse

Because I am a fictional character I feel I should support fictional Palestinian claims.

The Petition fisked

“For athletes in Palestine, there is no real freedom of movement1 and the risks of being detained or even killed are always looming before their eyes2” (Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub, June 20123). It took three months of hunger strike and the near death of a Palestinian footballer, Mahmoud Sarsak4, for the Israeli authorities to agree to a release deal in July 2012. This is a sportsman whom Israel held for three years without charge or trial under the ‘Unlawful Combatants Law’5, which is itself illegal under international law. Olympic squad goalkeeper Omar Abu Rois6 and Ramallah player Mohammed Nimr7 are also being held by Israel without charge. We maintain that a state which holds sportsmen as political prisoners8 is unfit to host an international sporting event. We, therefore, call on UEFA to withdraw the honour of hosting the 2013 European Under-21 championship from Israel9.

  1. They are not restricted because they are athletes but because a condition of conflict exists.
  2. The risks are many, many times multiplied when then actively engage in war or terrorism against Israel.
  3. How many other sporting organisations can claim a convicted terrorist as president?
  4. Charges of being an unlawful combatant linked to the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine. Alleged that he had planted a bomb that injured an Israeli soldier.
  5. Illegal under international law is simply a mantra. There is a great deal of international law about Unlawful combatants.
  6. Omar Abu Rois was arrested for January 20 shooting attacks. The AK-47 rifles used during the attack were supplied by a Palestinian who is responsible for security in the Red Crescent.
  7. Not to be confused with Mohammed Nimr al-Madani, known for his virulent anti-Semitic writings, who was tortured to death by Syrian state security services in October.
  8. They are not political prisoners, although why athletes should be exempted from imprisonment for violent crimes is not clear.
  9. Platini wrote to the Israel Football Association in June to say that the country “earned the right to host this competition through a fair, democratic vote.”
Late news: Add Steve Mandanda, Jordan Ayew and Anthony Le Tallec to Didier Drogba and Yohan Cabaye as players denying ever signing the petition. Euro en Israël : une plainte déposée contre la pétition de Frédéric Kanouté, LYONMAG.com, 6 December 2012

†Correct to 00:30 7th November 2012
Mickey Mouse image in 5-in-a-star from ARTHUR’S Mickey and Minnie CLIPART
Photograph of Michel Platini from his website

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About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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