On Friday 30th March 2018, Inminds human rights group protested outside Adidas's flagship store on Oxford Street to demand Adidas respect Palestinian human rights by stopping its sponsorship of apartheid Israel Football Association (IFA). The apartheid Israel Football Association includes football clubs based in illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land. Apartheid Israel Football Association plays its games on stolen Palestinian land. Land from which Palestinian children and their families are pushed off. Land on which Palestinian homes are demolished. Land from which Palestinians are ethnically cleansed.
The United Nations Human Rights Council just this month, in March 2018, has reaffirmed that "The establishment and expansion of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory by Israel, including the legal and administrative measures that it has taken to provide socioeconomic incentives, security, infrastructure and social services to citizens of Israel residing in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, amount to the transfer by Israel of its population into the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The transfer of the population by an occupying state into an occupied territory is a grave breach of article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and therefore a war crime."
The protest was in solidarity with over 130 Palestinian football clubs and sports associations which last week called on the world’s second largest sportswear manufacturer Adidas to respect human rights and cut ties with IFA. Their letter, dated 12th March 2018, to the CEO of Adidas and to the members of the board of Adidas was read out at the protest.
Inminds chair Abbas Ali said "Today, on Land Day - March 30th, Palestinians are being slaughtered as they march to return to their stolen homes. The ongoing theft of Palestinian land by zionist colonialists is made possible by companies like Adidas which lend their brand to cover up and whitewash Israel's war crimes, which the illegal settlements constitute under international law. Illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land are normalised and legitimised by Adidas through its sponsorship. We are here to tell Adidas that their complicity in Israeli war crimes will cost their brand dearly. And we are here to ask Londoners to help Adidas make the right decision by boycotting their products until they respect Palestinian human rights."
Despite the heavy rain, the public's response to the protest was very positive with many people turning away from entering Adidas and a few even joining the protest. Over 500 leaflets were snapped up in no time.
Letter from Palestinian Football Clubs to Adidas
12th March 2018
To: Kasper Rørsted, CEO of Adidas
Cc: Executive Board members Roland Auschel (Global Sales), Eric Liedtke (Global Brands), Harm Ohlmeyer (Finance), Karen Parkin (Global Human Resources) and Gil Steyaert (Global Operations)
Dear Mr. Rørsted, Mr. Auschel, Mr. Liedtke, Mr. Ohlmeyer, Ms. Parkin and Mr Steyaert,
We are writing to urge Adidas to end its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (IFA) due to its deep complicity in Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.
The IFA sponsors football matches in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, as exposed by Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations. There are six Israeli football clubs located in Israel’s settlements, on stolen Palestinian land, that Palestinians are not allowed to enter. Israel’s settlements contribute to serious human rights abuses and are a direct cause for restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement, access to natural resources and ability to build homes and conduct business.
IFA’s involvement in Israel’s illegal settlements has been condemned by, among others, Wilfried Lemke, the UN special adviser on sport for development and peace, dozens of Members of the European Parliament (MEP), civil society and human rights groups and public figures from the world of arts and culture. Despite these global appeals, the IFA has decided to put politics above sports and refused to end its complicity.
As the main international sponsor of the IFA, Adidas is lending its brand to cover up and whitewash Israel’s human rights abuses, including against Palestinian footballers. Palestinian players are routinely attacked, imprisoned and killed. They are denied the freedom of movement to attend their own matches. Palestinian stadiums have been bombed and destroyed. Israel even prevents Palestinians from importing football equipment and developing football facilities.
Adidas’ sponsorship of the IFA legitimises and gives international cover to Israel’s illegal settlements. UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016) denounces Israeli settlements as “flagrant violations” of international law. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is compiling a database of companies that do business in or with Israel’s illegal settlements as a practical step for accountability of complicit corporations. Adidas’ sponsorship of the IFA would land it on this list based on the selection criteria. In addition, your sponsorship of the IFA, an entity with operations in the settlements, makes Adidas complicit and may expose it to consumer-led boycott campaigns in the Arab world and globally.
Adidas rightly ended its sponsorship of the so-called “Jerusalem marathon” after widespread protests, calls for boycott and government condemnations. The Jerusalem marathon, just like IFA’s support for Israel’s illegal settlements, is a clear example of Israel’s use of sports to whitewash its oppression and occupation of Palestinians.
According to your website, “Adidas recognises its corporate responsibility to respect human rights and the importance of showing that we are taking the necessary steps to fulfill this social obligation.” In line with Adidas’s “own direct influence,” we urge you to comply with your social responsibility policy by withdrawing your sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (IFA) until it ends its involvement in Israel’s grave violations of international law and human rights abuses against Palestinians.
Sur Baher Club, Deir Jarir Youth club, Terra Sancta Center-Beit Hanina, Um Touba Club, Beit Hanina Youth Center - BHYC, Althouri Youth Club, Anata Youth Club, Beit Sourik Club, Al Ram Youth Club, De La Selle Club, Bilin Club, Qalandia Youth Club, Ramallah Islamic Club, Biddo Athletic Club, Beit Sira Sports Club, Jericho Youth club, Al Nwaemeh Sports Club, Silwan Club, Ni’lin Club, Sawahri Club, Al-Quds Club, Ramallah Youth Club, Esawiah Club, Zubeidat Club, Jerusalem Basketball Academy, Hizma Youth Club, Mount of Olives Club, Beit Sourik Club, Beit Safafa Club, Saffa club, Jaba’ Youth Club, Shurfat Sports Club, Jericho Youth Club, Burj Al-Luqluq Social Center Society, East Sawahreh Club, Palestinian Academy for Sports Talent, Al-Raja Society for Sports and Rehabilitation, Al Ram Ahli Club, Shabab Al-Khalil Sports Club, Shabab Al Samou Club, Bani Na’eem Club, Al Shyoukh Youth Club, Shabab Yatta , Beit A’awa Youth Club, Al-Aroub Youth Club, Taffouh Club, Beit Kahel Youth Club, Al Karmel Yatta Club, Soureif Club, Halhoul Club, Sa’r Club, Beit Ummar Club, Rabud Sports Club, Wadi Al-Neis Club, Al Khader Club, Orthodox Club-Beit Sahour, Orthodox Club-Bethlehem, Susya Club, Ramadin Club, Fuwar Club, Shabab Dura , Islamic Club of Bethlehem, Syriac Club, De La Selle Club, Bethlehem Sports Club for the Disabled, Salah Eddin Club, Al Burj Youth Club, Tarqumyah Club, Hussan Youth Club, Silat El-Harthiya, Yamoun Sports Club, Jaba Sports Club, Burqein Club, Qabatiya Athletic Club, Jenin Youth Center, Jenin Athletic Club, Barta’a Athletic Club, Rummaneh Club, Ya’abd Club, Markaz Tulkarem , Noor Shams Club, Kufr Alabad Club, Deir AlGhusoun Club, Thunabeh Club, Beit Leid Athletic Club, Zeita Sport Club, Nazlet Esa Sports Club, Iktaba Athletic Club, Irtah Athletic Club, Attil Sports Club, Jalboun Sport Club, Tubas Sport Club, Tamoon Athletic Club, Al Faraa Youth Club, Quseen Athletic Club, Burqa Club, Ousrein Club, Jabal An-Nar Club, Number One Club, Al-Mustaqbal for the Disabled Club, AL-Arqa Club, Tulkarem Cultural and Athletic Club, Ahli Qalqilia Club, Azoun Club, Jayyous Athletic Club, Qalqilya Islamic Club, Kufr Thilth Club, Kufr Zeibad Club, Jensafoot Club, Hajjeh Club, Kufr Hajjeh Club, Kufr Qaddoum Club, Deir Ballout Club, Kufr Deik Club, Deir Istia Club, Azzawiya Club, Ibal Club, Northern Asireh Club, Balata Youth Center, Asira Al-Qabaleyyeh Club, Qusra Club, Beita Club, Nablus Youth Club, Douma Youth Club, Hutteen Sporting Club, Askar Youth Center, Tel Athletic Club, Aqraba Athletic Club, Orif Club, Al-Qastal Club, Yaseid Club, Sama Nablus Athletic Club, Al-Ittihad Club, Marj Bin Amer Club