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110217 BNC: Adidas_BNC_Adidas: Apartheid is not fair play, drop sponsorship of Jerusalem marathon

110217 BNC: Adidas_BNC_Adidas: Apartheid is not fair play, drop sponsorship of Jerusalem marathon

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Published by: BDS-Kampagne on Feb 18, 2011
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Adidas: Apartheid is not fair play, drop sponsorship of Jerusalem marathon
 
Occupied Palestine, 17 February 2011 – The Palestinian Boycott, Divestmentand Sanctions National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition of Palestiniancivil society organizations and unions, calls on Adidas to withdraw itssponsorship of the first Jerusalem marathon to take place on March 25, 2011to avoid becoming complicit in covering up Israel's war crimes and gravehuman rights abuses. Israel has been consistently, systematically, and quiteblatantly working to “Judaize”[1] Jerusalem through policies of ethniccleansing directed at the indigenous Palestinian population to change thedemographic reality of the occupied city, in contravention of the FourthGeneva Convention and international human rights law.A recent report by European Union Heads of Mission in Jerusalem statedthat “the continued expansion of [colonial] settlements, restrictive zoning andplanning, ongoing demolitions and evictions, an inequitable education policy,difficult access to health care, the inadequate provision of resources andinvestment and the precarious residency issue have not only serioushumanitarian consequences, they undermine the Palestinian presence in EastJerusalem[2].” Adidas’s sponsorship of the marathon organized by theJerusalem Municipality, the party responsible for the implementation of thesepolicies, will be perceived as a stamp of approval of Israel’s violations of international law in Jerusalem and elsewhere.The Jerusalem Municipality, a key node in the official Israeli structure of colonialism and apartheid, is a leading violator of Palestinian human rights.Since its inception, it has been a major instrument in the colonization of Israeli-occupied Jerusalem. It is particularly notable for its role in promotingand deepening one of the starkest cases of urban apartheid in the world. Themunicipality continues to be actively involved in the illegal gradual ethniccleansing of Palestinians out of Jerusalem, the demolition of Palestinianhomes and destruction of property, and the sustained suppression of development in the Palestinian neighborhoods as a matter of policy.[3]
 
Adidas’s association with the marathon is visible in billboards around thecity, including in illegal Jewish colonies where the marathon route follows.According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch,[4] "Palestinians facesystematic discrimination merely because of their race, ethnicity, and nationalorigin, depriving them of electricity, water, schools, and access to roads, whilenearby Jewish settlers enjoy all of these state-provided benefits,” adding that“businesses have contributed to or benefited directly from discriminationagainst Palestinians.” Human Rights Watch called on companies to
 
“investigate, prevent and mitigate such violations, including ending anyoperations that cannot be separated from discriminatory Israeli practices.”The marathon is part of an ongoing process to institutionalize Israel’s hold onthe occupied city. Israel militarily occupied the western part of Jerusalem in1948, after depopulating 38 Palestinian villages and appropriating the landsand properties of its residents, rendering them refugees and denying themreparations, including their UN-sanctioned right of return. The worldcommunity does not
 
recognize any part of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, particularly becauseunder UN General Assembly resolution 181 (1947) Jerusalem was establishedas a
 corpus separatum
under a special international regime. The Committeeon the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People confirmedthat city’s status remains such[5]. In 1967, Israel occupied East Jerusalem,unilaterally annexing it as part of its “united capital.” Due to these factorscombined, governments have refrained from recognizing Israel’s actions inthe city, including the racist manipulation of its demographic composition,one that limits the number of Palestinians in favor of Israeli Jews[6]. The UNhas maintained several times that "any actions taken by Israel, the occupyingPower, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validitywhatsoever, and calls upon Israel to cease all such illegal and unilateralmeasures[7]." Adidas’s partnership with the Jerusalem Municipality, on eastor west of the city, violates these long held precepts of international law.Furthermore, the organizers of the marathon make no secret that the event isto be used to promote Israel’s image abroad. Runners will pass throughJerusalem’s key sites. Its other sponsors include the Ministry of Tourism andEl Al, the flag carrier of Israel. The marathon is overtly deployed by Israel to‘rebrand’ the state as an attractive holiday destination, and to cover up itsoccupation, colonization and apartheid policies. This contradicts Adidas’sclaim that, “as a general rule we do not influence any political processes orevent details, we focus on the athletes and their needs for the marathon.”[8]According to the 1985 International Convention Against Apartheid in Sports,“sports contact with any country practicing apartheid in sports condones andstrengthens apartheid.”[9]Condemned as a state that is practicing occupation, colonization andapartheid by a recent authoritative legal study in South Africa[10], Israelprevents millions of Palestinians who live just minutes away from theircapital to access Jerusalem, as part of its regime of separation, including thewall, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004, and astrict regime of residency permits. John Dugard, a leading international lawexpert and former UN rapporteur for human rights in the occupiedPalestinian territory, had this to say about the situation of Palestinians in EastJerusalem, in particular:
 
The similarities between the situation of East Jerusalemites and black SouthAfricans [under apartheid] are very great in respect of their residency rights.We had the old Group Areas Act in South Africa. East Jerusalem hasterritorial classification that has the same sort of consequences as race
 
classification had in South Africa in respect of who you can marry, where youcan live, where you can go to school or hospital.[11]
 
It is thus not surprising that the Jerusalem marathon website refers to EastJerusalem as “mostly the home of former Jordanian citizens,”[12] paintingPalestinians as foreigners instead of the indigenous people of the land. Thisattitude is consistent with Israel’s ongoing erasure of Palestinian historicalpresence in the city, including the ongoing wave of demolitions of Palestinianhomes in Silwan to turn the area into an “archeological park” and “tourismcenter”[13] for extremist settlers at the expense of the local Palestinianpopulation who live in fear of constant violent harassment[14]. UN SpecialRapporteur Richard Falk said of the plan that "international law does notallow Israel to bulldoze Palestinian homes to make space for the mayor’sproject to build a garden, or anything else," adding that the plan "should beseen within the context of Israel’s persistent, systematic approach to drivingPalestinians out of East Jerusalem." This comes after decades of Israelicrimes including the erasure of over 500 Palestinian villages in 1948, thewillful destruction of the Moroccan Quarter in the old city of Jerusalem in1967, and the more recent desecration of the historic cemetery of Ma'manAllah ("Mamilla") in West Jerusalem, for the purposes of building a so-called“Museum of Tolerance,” all sites marathon runners will pass through.Other than conflicting with international law, the sponsorship of themarathon is in clear violation of Adidas’s own commitments to “rules thatsociety expects of a responsible company” and “all applicable laws, directivesand guidelines.[15]” The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and SanctionsNational Committee (BNC) calls on Adidas to immediately rescind itssponsorship agreement for the marathon with the Jerusalem Municipality.The BNC also calls on people of conscience around the world to urge Adidasto follow through with its stated commitments by canceling this unethicalsponsorship. Adidas’s refusal to distance itself from the event would put thecompany in violation of the most basic obligation not to be complicit in warcrimes and grave human rights abuses, and would violate the 2005Palestinian BDS Call, one of the most effective, popular, and non-violentforms of struggle against Israel until it abides by its obligations underinternational law. This, as a result, would make the company a target of worldwide consumer boycott action. We also remind Adidas's managers thatunder the principle of individual criminal responsibility, CEOs of companiescan be held individually responsible for certain grave violations of international law, including war crimes.[16] Complicity in covering up warcrimes and normalizing them is a serious crime in its own right that Adidasshould carefully consider."Impossible is nothing," Adidas's main slogan proclaims. Ending thecompany's complicity with Israel's apartheid and war crimes should be quitepossible, then.
 

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