SWC Directors for International Relations and for Latin America
Diego Maradona was aware that his private life was not exemplary. In addition to being one of the best soccer players in history, he was also the creator of famous phrases.
The day he retired as a player, he clearly separated the ups and downs of his life with his history as an athlete. "The ball does not tarnish," he stated.
He was wrong. His character and Palestinian connection could be defined, precisely, as tarnishing the ball.
JIbril Rajoub is the president of the Palestinian Football Federation. He considers himself as a suitor to Mahmoud Abbas's chair, he runs an administration that is far from promoting football as a bridge of friendship, but rather as a tool of hate.
Responsible for naming stadiums, tournaments and teams for so-called "martyrs", that is, terrorist suicide bombers out to kill the largest number of Israeli civilians. Rajoub glorifies violence, repeatedly using the platform of FIFA Assemblies to demand the expulsion of the Israeli Football Association.
If, FIFA, the international governing body of world football debates who will host the next World Cup, Rajoub calls for sanctions on Israel. If it addresses technology, to increase the number of replacements or to elect authorities, Rajoub calls for the floor to move against Israel.
In 2018, before the World Cup in Russia, Argentina announced its usual friendly game with the Israel team. The last friendly of the Argentine team before traveling to Mexico in 1986, was coincidentally with Israel. Given that Argentina won that World Cup, a bit out of habit, a bit out of superstition, this friendly match is repeated every four years.
In 2018 the match was announced to take place in Jerusalem. Rajoub promoted a fierce campaign, including threats to Messi and his teammates, showing them Argentine shirts stained with blood. The game was dropped and Argentina eliminated in a disappointing performance in Russia.
This led to an application of sanctions by FIFA and an outraged speech from its President. The next chapter was written last week.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino is traveling the world seeking support for having a World Cup every two years.
At a conference in Jerusalem, he announced a biennial as one of the consequences of the Abraham Accords. Infantino welcomed Israel and some of the Arab countries that have normalized relations to jointly organize the Centennial World Cup in 2030.
In parallel, Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay, already plan to celebrate the centenary of the first World Cup.
Infantino spoke at the Jerusalem Post conference, held at the Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, soon to be officially inaugurated as a laborory for human rights
Infantino had planned to meet with Jibril Rajoub. The latter, however cancelled the appointment in rage.
The Wiesenthal Center was also the brunt of Rajoub's rage. The Center's Director for International Relations, Dr.Shimon Samuels, was the only Jew elected to the International Steering Committee (ISC) of what became the notorious 2001 UN Conference Conference Against Racism. On arrival in Durban, in the antisemitic maelstrom, he was expelled from the ISC. Six weeks later, in Geneva,Samuels walked into a final ISC meeting. Seated, the PLO legal officer came over to order that he leave. Samuels refused. The proceedings froze as a large Palestinian approached. With his fist in Samuels cheek, he seethed "Filthy Zionist, Get out". Samuels pointed to the live television screen. Rajoub returned to his seat, Samuels discreetly left the room to write up the event.
Rajoub ,the football terrorist and Diego Maradona's "the ball does not tarnish" both abuse the "Beautiful Game"