News surfaced this week that U.S. authorities are charging 14 world soccer figures, including officials of world soccer’s governing body known as FIFA, with racketeering, bribery, money laundering and fraud to the tune of $150 million. And this incident is only the latest revelation of alleged criminal behavior.
In a letter to FIFA President Joseph Blatter, the Tel Aviv-based Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center is “demanding that he expel Jabril Rajoub, the President of the Palestinian Football Association, for advocating the killing of Israeli civilians and the use of nuclear weapons against the State of Israel.”
Rajoub, who serves as head of the Palestinian football authority, is also Deputy Secretary of the Central Committee of Fatah political party. Fatah’s military wing, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (AAMB), has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks resulting in countless deaths and injuries of Israelis. The letter sent to Blatter notes that Fatah was the faction of the Palestinian Liberation Organization that conducted the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre that resulted in the kidnapping and murder of 11 Israeli athletes.
According to Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, President of Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, “Rajoub has engaged in conduct which is in clear violation of Article 3 of the FIFA Statutes (August, 2014) and of Article 53 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (2011 ed.) It is outrageous that FIFA would allow a senior official of a terrorist organization to serve in a public position.”
In her letter, Darshan-Leitner includes the FIFA statutes she claims Rajoub has violated.
She goes on to say, “Rajoub, personally, and in combination with others on the Central Committee of Fatah, actively supports and renders aid to AAMB and engages in public conduct designed to foster discrimination and terrorist violence against Jews and Israelis, in violation of the FIFA principles and of the FIFA disciplinary code.”
Rajoub’s violent history is well established. First arrested at age 15 for aiding Egyptian military officials fleeing capture after the Six-Day War, he spent four months in prison. Two years later he attempted to murder Israeli soldiers by throwing a grenade at an Israeli army bus. Sentenced to life in prison, he was freed in 1985 in a prisoner swap.
Rajoub would be arrested again numerous times for militant activities and was allegedly behind a 1992 plot to assassinate Ariel Sharon.
Led by Rajoub, earlier this month, the Palestinian Football Association announced they will present a motion at FIFA’s annual conference to have Israel suspended based on claims it discriminates against Palestinian footballers in the “occupied territories.”
In an email, exclusive to the Salomon Center, Darshan-Leitner describes his action as “the height of hypocrisy for a notorious terrorist organization like the PLO to be accusing anyone, much less Jews, of racism, discrimination or ethical violations. For decades Rajoub was proudly involved with violent attacks against Israelis and has spent his career, in and out of jail, as a senior Fatah official stirring up hatred and incitement against the Jewish State.”
Darshan-Leitner continued, “Independently of his current efforts to have Israel banned from FIFA, we are demanding that he be expelled from the international football league for his repeated and unacceptable dangerous calls for violence against Jews. The last thing FIFA needs now will be a criminal investigation for its ties to Palestinian terrorism. We are putting Blatter on notice to dump Rajoub before the civil lawsuits begin.”