Indonesia Asked to Reject the Presence of Israeli Football at the U-20 World Cup

Chairman of the Presidium of MER-C Indonesia Dr. Sarbini Abdul Murad (center), together with Chairman of the AWG Presidium M. Anshorullah, (second from left), Chairman of KISDI HM Mursalin (second from right), and Head of BSMI Legal Division Bayu Erlangga (far right) after the Joint Conference "Reject Football Team Israel Comes to Indonesia" at the Central MER-C Office in Jakarta, Wednesday (29/6/2022). (Photo: Abdullah/MINA)

Jakarta, MINA – The Israel national football team has qualified for the U-20 World Cup where Indonesia will host a sporting event to be held in 2023.

The humanitarian agency for medical emergencies, the Medical Emergency Rescue Committee (MER-C) together with other humanitarian and Palestinian institutions, namely the Aqsa Working Group (AWG), the Indonesian Committee for Solidarity in the Islamic World (KISDI) and the Indonesian Red Crescent (BSMI) asked the Indonesian government to firmly rejected the Israeli U-20 Team.

This was conveyed in the Joint Conference “Reject the Israeli Football Team to Come to Indonesia” at the MER-C Central Office in Jakarta on Wednesday (June 29), which was attended by Dr. Sarbini Abdul Murad, Chairman of the Presidium of AWG M. Anshorullah, Chairman of KISDI HM Mursalin, and Chairman of the Legal Division of BSMI Bayu Erlangga.

According to the Chairman of the Presidium of MER-C Indonesia, Dr. Sarbini Abdul Murad, the rejection of the Israeli national team is not only because of the long list of human rights violations and also the occupation that Israel is still doing against the Palestinian people which is contrary to international law.

“The government’s indecision will hurt the unity and support that the Indonesian people have given to Palestine,” said Sarbini.

He also regretted the statement by the Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Indonesia, Zainudin Amali, who said that the Israeli team could still come to play in Indonesia and not associate sports with politics.

Sarbini considered the statement to be an historical statement.

History records the defense of the Indonesian people against Palestine since the beginning of this nation’s independence. In 1957, the Indonesian football team refused to compete against Israel in the 1958 World Cup Qualifiers for political reasons on the instructions of President Soekarno.

“In 1962, the First President of the Republic of Indonesia also firmly rejected the presence of the Israeli contingent to Indonesia at the Asian Games. Indonesia’s foreign policy has always shown support for Palestinian independence,” he said.

For this reason, Sarbini continued, the passage of the Israeli national team would be a tough test for the Indonesian people to prove their consistency in defending Palestine and the rejection of all forms of colonialism as enshrined in the 1945 Constitution.

“If the Israeli football team is present in Indonesia, then this will be an indirect form of recognition for the existence of Israel and a form of support for the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people,” he concluded.

The chairman of KISDI, HM Mursalin, stated that the government’s firmness in this case the Menpora would be a historical record of the government’s seriousness towards the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

“We regret the statement by the Minister of Youth and Sports Zainudin Amali who said that Indonesia could not prohibit Israel from coming because all the rules had been made by FIFA. Instead, as the host, the relevant minister should put forward the principles of the nation’s constitution that rejects colonialism,” he said.

No Diplomatic Relations

Mursalin said that his party together with related humanitarian and Palestinian institutions would make various persuasive efforts to reject the arrival of the Israeli national team to Indonesia.

“We ask the Indonesian immigration authorities not to grant entry permits for Israeli citizens to Indonesia. Apart from being an occupying nation, Israel’s presence must also be rejected because there are no diplomatic relations,” he said.

Indonesia has rejected the Israeli team before. Indonesia once refused to play against Israeli badminton player Misha Zilberman in the 2015 World Championship.

Meanwhile, the Head of the Legal Division of BSMI, Bayu Erlangga, emphasized that FIFA should act fairly and equally by sanctioning and suspending Israel’s participation in various world competitions, as FIFA quickly sanctioned Russia in the case of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“We ask the world to act fairly, when the Russia-Ukraine conflict occurs, FIFA and UEFA immediately impose sanctions on one of the countries involved in the conflict. Meanwhile, FIFA turned a blind eye to Israel’s occupation of Palestine,” he said.

Chairman of the AWG Presidium, Muhammad Anshorullah also emphasized that the Indonesian government must make real efforts to protect and assist Palestinians from the tyranny of the Israeli Zionists over the Al-Aqsa Mosque, until the Al-Aqsa Mosque returns to the lap of Muslims and Palestine is declared independent.

In addition, AWG also invites all Muslims to continue to oppose and reject Israel’s participation in every world event and to provide support for efforts to liberate Al-Aqsa Mosque from the hands of Zionist Israel.

“We call on Muslims around the world to immediately take action against Israel in a real and concrete way in every participation of Israel in the world arena and support the end of the brutal actions of the Israeli Zionist army in carrying out the occupation of the Palestinians,” he stressed.

Anshorullah stated that Indonesia had supported Palestine from the start. Therefore, it is the constitutional and moral duty of the Palestinian people to support the struggle of the Palestinian people and nation.

“Allowing the Israeli team to enter Indonesia will hurt the Palestinian people and the Islamic world,” he concluded.

Israel has confirmed a place in the 2023 U-20 World Cup which will be held in Indonesia on 20 May – 11 June 2023. This was achieved thanks to being the runner-up in the group phase in the 2022 U-19 Euro event.

Meanwhile, six stadiums have been prepared for the 2023 U-20 World Cup, namely Gelora Bung Karno (Jakarta), Si Jalak Harupat (Bandung), Jakabaring (Palembang), Manahan (Solo), Gelora Bung Tomo (Surabaya), and Captain I Wayan Dipta (Bali).(T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)