Jun. 10, 2015
- The Islamization of World Soccer? – Pinhas Inbari
Efforts by the Palestinian Football Association to expel Israel from the World Soccer Association (FIFA) are only the tip of the iceberg of a much more dangerous endeavor initiated by Qatar. Qatar’s huge investment in hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup may also be seen as aimed at advancing the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood movement.
The new Qatari emir, Sheikh Tamim, has drawn close to Azmi Bishara, a former Israeli Knesset member who fled Israel, and Hamas’ Khaled Mashal, enabling them to use the wealthy emirate for their anti-Israel activity. In addition to Qatari funding of Israeli Arab soccer teams, Qatar is involved in Palestinian soccer and backs Palestinian Football Association head Jibril Rajoub’s candidacy for PA president once Mahmoud Abbas steps down.
Rajoub’s counterpart in Gaza – and, according to Palestinian sources, his unofficial deputy – is Abd al-Salam Haniyeh, son of the Hamas prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh. Since soccer activity in Gaza is under Hamas auspices, the demand that Israel grant freedom of movement to Gazan soccer players basically entails allowing Hamas personnel to enter the West Bank. The writer, a veteran Arab affairs correspondent, is an analyst for the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)