By Elana Kravitz, APN intern
When you think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the first thing that comes to mind usually isn’t soccer. But this week, a soccer game in Israel became a highly symbolic political pawn used by the Palestinians, and specifically the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, against Israel.
The match, scheduled for Saturday in Jerusalem, was intended to be a “friendly” warm-up game between the Argentine and Israeli national teams before the World Cup next week. Palestine Football Association chief Jibril Rajoub pressured Argentina to back out of the match, even going so far as to encourage Palestinians to “burn their Messi [jerseys] and pictures and renounce him.” In the wake of this encouragement, Argentine soccer players, especially Messi, received numerous threats, leading the team to pull out of the match citing concerns about safety.