PRESS REMINDER: Protest at today’s Davis Cup tennis match in South Africa

02 February 2018

Members of the media are invited to cover today’s protest and picket against Israel by human rights and Palestine solidarity activists taking place this afternoon at the Davis Cup tennis match with Israel. The picket will start at 3pm at the Irene Country Club (Number 1 MI8, Doornkloof 391-Jr, Centurion, Pretoria). Today’s picket has been organized by several organizations, unions and student groups including the PSA, BDS South Africa, Wits University PSC, MSA, NC4P and SA Jews for a Free Palestine.

Activists and members of the public have called on the Davis Cup to expel Israel over its human rights abuses in a similar way that Apartheid South Africa was expelled from the Davis Cup during the 1980s over its Apartheid policies.

Last week South Africa’s Minister of Sport & Recreation, Hon. Thulas Nxesi, declared that he will be boycotting today’s tennis match over Israel’s participation (click here: http://www.bdssouthafrica.com/post/sa-minister-sports-boycott-israel-tennis-match/). Minister Nxesi’s decision has been welcomed by trade unions (click here: http://www.nehawu.org.za/nehawuwelcomesdecisionbyministerofsporttoboycottdaviscup.html), members of South Africa’s Jewish community (click here: https://web.facebook.com/SAJFP/posts/529043894137928) as well as South African sport organizations and civil society groups (click here: http://www.goo.gl/xYy1co).

Israel is increasingly protested against and isolated from sporting events. Speaking to South African media, Israeli tennis players themselves have admitted they attract protests wherever they travel including having to play in “spectator-less” games. In 2013 the Tunisian federation ordered their country’s top player to withdraw from a match against Israel at a tournament in Uzbekistan. Israel is being treated similar to how Apartheid South Africa was once treated. For example, many may recall the well known 1982 protests and disruptions of the tennis match with South Africa in Amsterdam, which included the throwing of black tennis balls on the court during play by anti-apartheid activists. In addition, during the 1970s, some governments rejected the paperwork of South Africans attempting to compete in their countries and in 1974, the finals of the Davis Cup itself were cancelled after the team from India refused to travel to and play against South Africa in protest of the Apartheid regime’s policies. India was disqualified and Apartheid South Africa was awarded the title of so called “winner”. As the years went on South Africa was banned from participating in international leagues for Track and Field, Golf, Football, Cricket, and even Chess. Boycotts, divestments and sanctions were ultimately crucial in ending Apartheid and are proving to be successful in holding Israel accountable for its violations of international law and its human rights abuses against the Palestinian people

ISSUED BY KWARA KEKANA ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA (0740543826, 0842119988)