A Goldsmiths, University of London, rugby side has announced its backing for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement by adding a Palestinian flag to the sleeve of players’ shirts.
The flag can be seen in an image posted to the team’s Facebook page. It came with this explanation:
“We’re excited to reveal our new kit which features the Palestinian flag, as part of our SU’s continued commitment to supporting BDS. We’re hoping through our work with Goldsmiths Palestine Society this year we can encourage more societies and clubs to endorse and raise awareness about BDS.”
According to the Jewish News, a Union of Jewish Students representative said the move showed the team was showing an “unfair” and “unsporting” attitude. He said:
“Whereas the Goldsmiths Israel Society have recently been promoting ‘Bridges Not Boycotts’, the Goldsmiths RFC seem to only be interested in creating further divisions between students on campus. Sport is not an area where political acts should be welcomed and this inherently political act is likely to alienate many Jewish students. It is an unfair and unsporting tactic that is being used to push the students’ unions divisive political agenda.
“It is concerning that Goldsmiths SU continues to promote and encourage such acts, and we will be working with the Israel and Jewish Societies to ensure that relevant action is taken to address this.”
Earlier this year, Goldsmiths was the focus of anti-Semitism allegations when student Benjamin Gilbert, president of the university’s Jewish Society, posted an image on his Facebook page revealing the scrawled slogan — “Goldsmiths it’s the symbol of world Jewry!” (with the word “gold” underlined).
Mr. Gilbert decried the act of vandalism but was thankful for the speed with which university authorities acted to remove it.
As for the rugby club’s move, a spokesperson for Goldsmiths expressed disappointment at the decision to display the Palestinian flag on team kit.
“Goldsmiths Rugby Football Club is a sports club of Goldsmiths Students’ Union – which is independent to the university. This decision was taken by Goldsmiths RFC,” the spokesman told Jewish News.
“At this university we are rightly proud of our diverse, inclusive and respectful community.
“This includes in the field of sport and it’s disappointing that the rugby club has taken this decision. Sport should be unifying and should be played without borders and by all. No one should feel alienated or excluded.
“We are working with everyone across campus to ensure that all groups feel safe and supported at Goldsmiths.”
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