October 22, 2019

StandWithUs Urges FIFA to Make Sure Israeli Fans Can Attend Qatar’s World Cup

Photo courtesy of StandWithUs.

StandWithUs called on the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to allow Israeli fans to attend the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in a Sept. 3 petition.

The petition states that “Qatar does not recognize Israel and bans Israelis from entering” the country, pointing out that Israel isn’t on Qatar’s list of nationalities and territories that can obtain a visa. The petition also notes that FIFA’s policies explicitly bans discriminatory against those based on ethnicity and country of origin.

“We call upon FIFA not to score an own goal and to uphold their Code of Ethics, which is premised on protecting international football from ‘illegal, immoral or unethical’ practices,” StandWithUs CEO and Co-Founder Roz Rothstein said in a statement. “If Qatar is allowed to ban fans on the basis of national origin, this would be a clear violation of FIFA’s guidelines.”

She added, “If Qatar is allowed to ban Israeli fans from entering this will reflect negatively on FIFA, which has made inclusion a primary hallmark of their ethos.”

The Jerusalem Post notes that Hassan al-Thawdi, who heads Qatar’s World Cup organizing committee said in 2017, “Everyone is welcome to Qatar. What we ask is that when people come, just to respect – we’re a relatively conservative nation… all we ask is that every fan who comes in, and every fan is welcome, all we ask that people respect that.”

FIFA did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.

In March, the Sunday Times reported that Qatar allegedly bribed FIFA with $880 million to host the 2022 World Cup; FIFA said at the time that they would cooperate with the investigation into the matter.

There have been prior instances of countries banning Israelis from participating in athletic tournaments, such as Malaysia. 

Qatar has funneled money to Islamic terror groups like Hamas and promulgates anti-Semitic propaganda through myriad books.