Jakarta, Indonesianpost.com – Member of Parliament and Vice Chairman of the Indonesian People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR RI) from the PKS faction, Hidayat Nur Wahid, criticized the government’s and Chairman of the All-Indonesia Football Association (PSSI) Erick Thohir’s response to the rejection of various Islamic organizations such as MUI, Muhammadiyah, DDII, as well as rejections by many members of Parliament and the BKSAP DPR RI who opposed the presence of the Israeli football team in Indonesia at the U-20 World Cup in May 2023.
Moreover, HNW firmly stated that Israel’s football has become increasingly brutal towards not only Gaza residents, but also Palestinians in the West Bank by killing civilians and forcibly destroying many Palestinian settlements in the West Bank.
Furthermore, he added that in December 2022, Israeli occupation forces also shot dead Ahmed Daraghbah, a young Palestinian football star. With such brutal behavior, Israel has proven itself as a colonial state.
“Therefore, the Chairman of the PSSI and the Government should follow in the footsteps of President Soekarno who, because of Israel’s position as a colonial power, without feeling ashamed but rather confidently based on clear and true Constitutional principles, prohibited the Indonesian National Team from competing against Israel in the 1958 World Cup Qualifiers and did not invite the Israeli National Team to the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta. And because of his consistency and firmness, the name of Bung Karno (Soekarno) became very famous, which had an impact on Indonesia’s reputation as well,” he explained in a press release on Wednesday (08/03).
HNW further explained that this was understandable because the mandate of the 1945 Indonesian Constitution is very clear and firm that colonialism in the world must be eradicated because it is not in line with humanity and justice.
“And until now, Israel’s colonization of Palestine continues. Even compared to when Bung Karno did not invite/reject the arrival of the Israeli team in 1962, Israel’s position as a colonial state has not softened but has become even worse. Even the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which was previously untouched by colonizers and Zionist extremists, has been increasingly attacked and its sanctity violated by the Zionist regime under Israeli protection,” said the Vice Chairman of the PKS Advisory Council.
“So, the rejection from various parties towards the plan to bring more than 50 Israeli football players and their supporters is not just a political issue, but a matter of consistency in implementing the Constitution as embodied in the official stance of the Government since the era of Bung Karno. These rejections are also due to humanitarian issues that have been torn apart by the Israeli government and its supporters. And humanity must be placed above anything else, including sports,” he added.
Furthermore, HNW appreciated the stance of Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, who conveyed Indonesia’s official stance in an open debate at the United Nations (UN) headquarters earlier this year, which firmly demonstrated Indonesia’s official stance of strong support for Palestine and even invited other countries to take a firm stand, to stop the humanitarian tragedy befalling the Palestinian people, and to make 2023 a better year for a free Palestine.
“The speech, which is Indonesia’s foreign policy direction, should be obeyed and referred to by other officials, such as the Chairman of the Indonesian Football Association and the Minister of Youth and Sports, by canceling Israel’s presence in the U-20 World Cup in Indonesia, because it is believed that their colonization is becoming more brutal and they do not adhere to UN resolutions. Instead of providing security guarantees for Israeli players, a country that continues to colonize and provide no security for the people and the state of Palestine as well as the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
In addition, HNW continued, the government and the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) should follow in the footsteps of the Qatari government in organizing the 2022 World Cup, which remains firm in upholding the values believed by its people.
Like the ban on LGBT campaigns and the ban on alcohol in stadiums. And apparently, according to HNW, FIFA President accepted this position, it can be implemented and did not make the Qatari government embarrassed as described by those who support the presence of Israeli colonizing teams. Instead, Qatar’s name became famous. This is an example from a ‘small’ country that won the bid to host the World Cup, which is considered the most successful of the 21st century. Qatar can and dares to defend what is believed by its constitution. The Ministry of Youth and Sports (the government) and PSSI should be able to act like that,” he added.
In addition to continuing Bung Karno’s leadership and Qatar’s stance, according to HNW, the government, and PSSI should negotiate with FIFA. Because of FIFA’s firm stance against Russia, which is banned from appearing in the 2022 World Cup due to its invasion of Ukraine. Even though the Russian football team performed well in the qualifying rounds. However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is clearly far behind compared to Israel’s occupation of Palestine. And it turns out that in the world of sports, it is not only FIFA that punishes Russia, but also in tennis, Russian athletes are prohibited from displaying their flag and country of origin.
“The victims who have fallen due to Israel’s occupation since 1948 also do not compare to the victims of Russia’s invasion over the past year. This U-20 World Cup momentum should be used by the government and PSSI in the name of sportsmanship, humanity, justice, and consistency with the constitution as exemplified by President Soekarno, to press Israel to stop its occupation of Palestine and recognize a free Palestine with its capital in Jerusalem (east). Also, to correct FIFA to apply fairness and not double standards, banning the Russian team but allowing the Israeli colonizing team, which is not even concerned with sportsmanship, as evidenced by the shooting death of Palestinian football star Ahmed Daraghbah in December 2022,” he concluded.