FIFA’s Anti-racism Is a Greater Threat to Football than “Racism”

In June, Israel will host the European Under-20 football championship, and in doing so will formally debunk the myth that FIFA gives a toss about fighting “racism.” In fact, it will confirm, as if further confirmation were necessary, that the great football anti-racism campaign is a pretentious, divisive sham. Let’s examine two starkly contrasting examples of “racism” and how FIFA handled them.

Israel

Last July, FIFA displayed conspicuous silence regarding Israel’s years-long illegal detention of Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak. FIFA also meted out no punishment to the Israeli Football Association for the deliberate bombing of a Palestinian football stadium, which killed at least eight people.

Now, one might argue that the Israel FA was not to blame, but that would be a feeble quibble indeed, given FIFA’s categorical proclamation of high moral purpose:

“FIFA strongly condemns all forms of racism in football, and any form of discrimination will not be tolerated and will receive a strong response by the relevant FIFA authorities” (my emphasis).

Still, one would have thought FIFA would have denounced the attack on principle, but no. As far as FIFA was concerned, it saw no violation of its moral code.

The hypocrisy of FIFA in the face of Jewish terrorism was obvious late last November when Secretary-General Jerome Valcke announced the official response to the stadium destruction: “We see it our mandate to rebuild football infrastructure which has been destroyed. We will also rebuild the stadium in Gaza, which has been destroyed. Football brings people together and we will support any re-construction necessary when football infrastructure is destroyed through disasters.”

Note the inspecific, generic, wooden boilerplate. Note the cowardly use of the passive voice (“has been destroyed”), designed specifically to avoid mentioning Israel. Valke did not say, as he should have: “We see it our mandate to rebuild the Gaza stadium, and we will assess all costs to Israel, which behaved will callous disregard for human life. Failure to pay for the reconstruction will result in Israel’s suspension from UEFA.” As far as FIFA was concerned, nobody was to blame for the destruction. It was a “disaster,” like an earthquake! Nobody’s fault!

By rebuilding the stadium without forcing Israel to atone for its violence, FIFA tacitly accepts what was done to Palestine and is morally complicit in the commission of Jewish racism.

In January this year, FIFA again did nothing when Israeli fans displayed undisguised racism after the team Beitar Jerusalem announced its intention to sign two Chechen players. As Agence France-Presse reported: “During a game that day, some fans chanted slogans such as ‘no Arab will tread here’ and waved a huge banner reading ‘Beitar—pure for ever.’ They also cursed [the team’s Russian-Israeli owner Arkady] Gaydamak, though reports said some fans tried to shout them down.”

Is it not perverse that the most overtly racist country in FIFA does not merit so much as a tut-tut or a fine for acts of physical violence and grossly racist chanting? How does such inaction not prove that FIFA tacitly accepts Jewish bigotry toward Arabs?

Hungary

On the other hand, if anyone does denounce Israel’s racism, or happens to say anything the least bit impolitic about Israel, FIFA goes berserk. Take the example of Hungary: what FIFA did to the Hungarian Football Association in the name of “anti-racism” made no sense morally or legally.

On August 15, 2012, Hungary hosted Israel in a friendly match during which fans chose to voice their displeasure of Israel’s warmongering and contempt for human rights. Based on a complaint that these fans chanted “anti-Semitic” remarks, FIFA punished the Hungarian national team by forcing it to play its March 22 World Cup qualifying match against Romania behind closed doors.

The source of the above mentioned complaint was the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, one of the more notorious zionist agencies dedicated to promoting the Holocaust® and defending the canonical fiction that criticism of Israel (anti-zionism) equals criticism of Jews (“anti-Semitism”).1 The centre has even resorted to outright defamation to proselytize the Jew-as-victim myth. In 1998, it published a screed against Switzerland alleging, among other things, that the Swiss built special concentration camps for Jews and deliberately wanted to inflict suffering on them. The report was so egregiously false it had to be repudiated.

Given the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s ethically dubious nature and history of lying, did FIFA evaluate the credibility of the complaint? What, exactly, made the fans’ protests “anti-Semitic” as opposed to “anti-Israeli”? FIFA won’t say.

In fact, FIFA’s media centre refuses to answer any questions about the event, preferring instead to recycle a generic press release and trying to act invisible behind its e–mail address in hopes the questions will go away. Unprofessionalism notwithstanding, the refusal to answer media enquiries says a great deal about the moral integrity of FIFA’s “anti-racism” crusade — or rather, the lack of it.

Regardless of what the Hungarian fans did or did not chant, the Hungarian FA apologized and asserted its commitment to ensuring that Hungarian football is rid of “extremist voices” as soon as possible. Surely this act of abject contrition should have been enough for FIFA: the Hungarian FA accepted the zionist version of events unconditionally and did not attempt to defend its fans’ behaviour. It should have been enough, but it wasn’t. The Hungarian FA was subjected to the gratuitous, unjust measure of being forced to play its March 22 game behind closed doors.

Hungary’s new constitution states that every person shall have the right to express his or her opinion (“Freedom and Responsibility,” Article IX), yet FIFA acted, and continues to act, as if it can override fundamental constitutional rights. “Dictatorship” is a term that Tibor Mezei says accurately describes FIFA. Mezei, a senior adviser in the Hungarian government’s Department of Communication, said in an interview from Budapest that FIFA is not accountable to any government:

“FIFA is an absolute power like Louis XIV in France. You can’t appeal to an international court if you don’t like what FIFA has done. It’s a voluntary organization, so its members are completely at the mercy of FIFA. What happened was not a verbal criticism of Israel or any other country. It’s a question of how you interpret symbolic gestures, and if you oppose FIFA’s interpretation you risk being excluded.”

The Hungarian FA understandably appealed the penalty, but the appeal was denied. Meszei said FIFA wanted to make an example of Hungary and it’s hard to argue with him. In fact, the Hungarian media came to the same conclusion.

On January 10, 2013, Szabolcs Szeretö, the deputy editor of Magyar Nemzet (Hungarian Nation) wrote that the majority of Hungarians felt that FIFA’s “painful, unfair and excessive verdict” punished them for something they have never done. Moreover, he said the verdict will stir up, not lessen, anti-Jewish animosity. Ironically, that would suit Israel just fine because acts of anti-Jewishness, even contrived ones, are important for manufacturing sympathy for Jews.

Szeretö further pointed out that FIFA did not levy harsh sanctions against Romania when radical fans chanted anti-Hungarian slogans during a match in Bucharest. Furthermore, FIFA took no strong measures against Malaysia after thousands of Malaysian fans chanted “Singapore itu anjing” (“Singapore are dogs”) during a November 25, 2012 match.

Unfortunately, the case of Hungary is not isolated. A similar disproportionate response was visited upon the Roman club Lazio after fans dared to brandish a “Free Palestine” banner during a November 22, 2012 match against Jewish-owned Tottenham Hotspur.

The waving of the national flags of Iran and Palestine were acts of “racism” according to FIFA because they were deemed to be attacks on Israel, and so the “offending” host country was severely sanctioned. Would FIFA dare to sanction the Israeli Football Association as severely, if at all, if a Jew waved an Israeli flag during a game featuring a team from a Muslim country?

If FIFA defines non-violent expressions of support for Israel’s victims as “racist” yet refuses to recognize active Jewish racism toward Arabs, then it declares itself to be thoroughly zionized and devoid of any right to dictate morality to anyone. The truth of the matter is this: FIFA does not have an “anti-racism” policy; it has a “anti-racism” prejudice, and that prejudice infects the entire sport.

  1. “Anti-Semitism” is an artificial term invented in 1873 by Wilhelm Marr, an anti-Jewish German journalist who needed to redefine Jews as an ethnic, not a religious, group to justify official discrimination; hence, he coined the term Semitismus, based on the linguistic term “semitic.” By this linguistic corruption, Marr was able to attack not only Jews but the larger concept of Jewishness. []

Greg Felton is an investigative journalist specializing in the Middle East, Canadian politics, the media, and language. He holds a Master's Degree in political science from the University of British Columbia and speaks French, Russian, and Mandarin. He is author of The Host and The Parasite: How Israel's Fifth Column Consumed America. Read other articles by Greg, or visit Greg's website.