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Petitioning MN Timberwolves: Don't Play with Apartheid, Boycott Israel!

MN Timberwolves: Don't Play with Apartheid! Cancel your game against Maccabi-Haifa scheduled on Oct. 16

The MN Timberwolves are scheduled to play against the Israeli team, Maccabi-Haifa, this Tuesday, October 16. This game is part of Israel's vast public relations campaign to gloss over its crimes against humanity. One of Israel’s tactics is to send musicians, artists, and sports teams, abroad as “cultural ambassadors,” to give the impression that all is “normal” in Israel. We say apartheid should not be normalized!

A letter endorsed by over 100 human rights and community organizations was sent to each Timberwolves player, yet we have not heard a response from any of them.

So help us make our voices louder! Sign this petition to demand:
MN Timberwolves: Don't play with apartheid! Boycott Israel!

Letter to
MN Timberwolves: Don't Play with Apartheid, Boycott Israel!
With a sense of urgency, we ask you to boycott the exhibition game against Maccabi-Haifa, the Israeli team that you are scheduled to play next Tuesday. Israel is committing grave human rights abuses involving an elaborate system of racial apartheid which discriminates against the native Palestinians in violation of international law. Israel’s abuses have been confirmed by the United Nations Security Council and the International Court of Justice. Israel has been convicted by the Russell Tribunal of the crime of apartheid. Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu has described Israel’s apartheid system as worse than the apartheid that existed in South Africa. Yet, despite worldwide condemnation, Israel not only refuses to dismantle its apartheid system, but it continues to expand and reinforce it.

Join the worldwide cultural boycott of Israel. Join musicians, such as Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd), writers like Alice Walker (author of The Color Purple), academics like Gérard Toulouse (a member of the French Academy of Sciences), and many others who have all agreed to boycott Israel until Israel complies with international law and ends its human rights abuses against the Palestinians. Don’t play against Maccabi-Haifa. A sporting boycott of Israel sends a powerful message to Israel that its policy of occupation, expulsion and racism against Palestinians is unacceptable.

Israel has a vast propaganda machine which wages a constant public relations campaign to gloss over its crimes against humanity. One of Israel’s tactics is to send athletic teams abroad as “cultural ambassadors,” to give the impression that all is “normal” in Israel. We say apartheid should not be normalized! If you play against the Maccabi-Haifa team, you are being used by this propaganda machine.

History has shown that what ended apartheid in South Africa was not so much the economic boycotts leveled against the country, but the sporting and cultural boycotts, which focused the world’s attention on South Africa’s inhuman and racist system of apartheid designed to subjugate its own black citizens. Recently reflecting on the actions that brought apartheid to an end in South Africa, Reverend Tutu identified the sports boycott as essential in “conveying to the sport-crazy South Africans that our society had placed itself beyond the pale by continuing to organize its life on the basis of racial discrimination.”

Palestinians living within the Israeli borders are discriminated against by a variety of Israeli laws that include the Law of Return (1950 – allowing Jews from anywhere in the world to immigrate to Israel, yet disallowing non-Jews that opportunity), the Absentee Property Law (1950 – allowing the State of Israel to confiscate the property of Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed from their homes in 1948), and the Citizenship & Entry into Israel Law (2012 – barring Palestinian Israeli citizens from living with their non-Israeli spouses). These laws and many others discriminate against an entire segment of the population based only on ethnicity.

Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza are ruled by Israel under “Military Order” while Jewish Israeli settlers, who are living in the West Bank (illegally, according to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention) are ruled under Israeli civil law. Examples of the obscene differences between the two systems of laws are Military Order number 132, which declares Palestinians under military jurisdiction from age 12 and the age of majority age 16, while an Israeli is a minor until age 18; and the Administrative Detention policy, which allows a Palestinian to be held without charge or trial for an extendable 180 days, while an Israeli may be held for only 48 hours without charge or trial. Israel allocates 48 times more water to illegal Israeli settlers in the West Bank, per person, than the Palestinians who must pay twice as much for water and electricity, which is regularly cut off. Israel operates a modern apartheid highway system throughout the West Bank that Palestinians are prohibited from using, leaving mostly long and rugged side roads and dirt paths as the only means of transportation. Palestinian villages are cut off from one another, dividing families, and are surrounded by walls and checkpoints requiring special identification and passes to enter and exit.

Israel has made it impossible with its blockades, checkpoints and travel restrictions for Palestinian sportsmen and women to even meet together to practice as a team. In addition, Israel destroys or prevents access to the very limited training facilities available in the occupied territories. In 2006 FIFA condemned the Israeli direct strike on Gaza Stadium which it deemed was "without any reason." Israel routinely prevents Palestinian sportsmen from attending international sports competitions.

Palestinians and their descendants who were ethnically cleansed from Israel and Palestine in 1948 have been languishing since that time in refugee camps. They have never been allowed to return home, even though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (which Israel signed and ratified), insists that all people must be allowed to return to their homes regardless of the reason that they left.

Be on the right side of history! Don’t normalize apartheid! Boycott Israel!

Signed,