Grandson of Nelson Mandela Calls for Boycott of Israel at Paris Olympics

Paris, MINA – The grandson of South African anti-apartheid fighter Nelson Mandela, Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela called for a boycott of Israel at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Mandla said the boycott was called because the Israeli regime had killed Palestinian athletes and destroyed sports infrastructure in the occupied territory.

“In solidarity with the Palestinian athletes and people, and in response to calls from more than 300 Palestinian sports teams demanding Israel’s exclusion from the Olympics due to its genocide against Palestinians in Gaza and its apartheid regime, we must not remain passive,” Mandla said in his statement. received by MINA in Jakarta on Wednesday.

He invited various sectors of society, such as sports federations, arts and cultural formations, trade unions and all worker formations, faith-based movements, student and academic bodies, NGOs, as well as all levels of society to support this call.

“We cannot play with genocide and apartheid Israel has no place in the Olympics. “We demand Israel’s exclusion from the 2024 Olympics!” he stressed.

Mandla reminded the Executive Committee of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that by allowing Israel to participate in the Olympics, it was allowing Israel to use sports to cover up the genocide in Gaza and its apartheid regime in Palestine.

IOC President Thomas Bach stated during a preparatory session for the 2024 Olympics that the Games would be more inclusive and responsible.

“However, is it really responsible not to take sanctions against Israel? Only by banning Israel from the Olympics will the Olympic spirit and values ​​be respected. “There can be no normal sport in an abnormal society,” said Mandla, doubting Thomas Bach’s statement regarding the IOC’s accountability.

Mandla said the Olympic Charter clearly obliges the IOC to respect internationally recognized Human Rights and Basic Universal Ethical Principles within the Framework of the Olympic Movement.

“However, we have not seen the IOC take responsibility to end or sanction the serious human rights violations committed by Israel against Palestinian athletes and sports infrastructure,” he said.

On the contrary, continued Mandla, the IOC has excluded Russia and Belarus from this international competition. “We do not accept this double standard,” he stressed.

According to him, Israel deliberately targets Palestinian sports and blatantly violates Palestinian rights to practice sports.

Israeli occupation forces, Mandla said, have shot Palestinian athletes, killing or mutilating them on purpose.

In Gaza, Israel has killed the Palestinian Olympic football coach, Hani Al Masdar, and destroyed the offices of the Palestinian Olympic Committee.

Mandla demanded the IOC follow its own precedent in excluding apartheid South Africa from the Olympics because of brutality, oppression and discrimination.

Previously, Israel managed to qualify for the semifinals of the 2023 U-21 European Cup after beating Georgia on penalties with a score of 4-3, after previously being tied 0-0 in normal time. Then, Israel lost in the semifinals to England with a landslide score of 0-3.

Even though they lost in the semifinals, Israel still advanced to the 2024 Paris Olympics because they were the four best teams in the 2023 U-21 European Cup. Israel U-23 is also confirmed to be in Group D with Japan, Paraguay and Mali in the men’s soccer sport at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

However, the Israel U-23 national team has the potential to be excluded from FIFA membership due to humanitarian problems with the residents of Gaza, Palestine. If Israel is really dropped, then the Israel U-23 national team will clearly not be able to play at the 2024 Paris Olympics. (T/RE1/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)