The present and previous Israeli exclusive licensees of Puma conduct business in unauthorised Israeli settlements.
An April Fool’s prank by a UK-based activist group has been slammed as “extremely irresponsible” by pro-Palestine supporters online.
On Saturday, ManPalestine Action published a video to raise awareness about the Israeli regime’s crimes in Palestine, claiming Puma had decided to slash its contract with the Israel Football Association.
The video purported to show an alleged Puma spokesperson announcing the move and calling the Zionist regime a “racist” and “apartheid” state.
“We at Puma are announcing we will not renew our contract with the Israel Football Association after the 2022/23 season,” the actress, posing as a spokesperson said in the circulating video.
Since being posted online, the video has gone viral across social media, with many believing the sketch and calling for the removal of the boycott on Puma as well as the resumption of purchasing its products.
However, others have viewed this move as insensitive to Palestinians and their struggle, forcing the group to issue a clarification shortly after.
“Yesterday’s news on Puma was an April Fool’s sketch but it’s a real depiction of what Puma’s actions should aspire to be, and to highlight the position that all companies should take against the Israeli Apartheid regime,” the group said.
“We call on everyone to Boycott Puma and anyone else complicit in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. We must increase the pressure on Puma, grow the campaigns against them, and give them no choice but to finally end their contract with Israel in 2023,” the statement read.
Puma, a large international sportswear company, has violated both international and human rights laws, according to the official BDS Movement (Boycott, Divestment Sanctions) website said. The Israel Football Association (IFA), which has teams in Israel’s illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian territory, is mostly sponsored by Puma.
The present and previous Israeli exclusive licensees of Puma also conduct business in unauthorised Israeli settlements, deemed illegal under international law.
Due to Israel’s military occupation, Palestinian families with children are forced to leave their homes in order to make room for these colonies.
More than 200 Palestinian sports organisations have urged Puma to cancel the sponsorship and stop backing Israel’s unlawful land seizures.
News of the alleged severance of ties with Israel, though fake, was widely welcomed online. Many called the fake news an “amazing decision”, “brilliant news”, and even describing Puma as now their “favourite brand“.
One user wrote: “Astonishing to see this put so clearly and robustly, especially the apology to Palestinian athletes and their families, long overdue but welcome.”
“I have not bought nor promoted PUMA in ages, but now, I will 100% buy PUMA & encourage others to do so now that they ditched an Apartheid racist regime,” said a user in another such overtly-misinformed reaction to the group’s move.
“Well done PUMA..hope more sponsors follow auch brave move isolating the apartheid entity,” another misinformed person wrote.
Questioning the bizzarre attempt at trying to raise awareness a Twitter user said: “This is kind of questionable to post on April Fool’s Day… I don’t think Palestinian liberation is something to joke about and a lot of people will take this at face value and stop boycotting PUMA.”
“If this is an April Fools’ thing, this is extremely irresponsible and is already being shared by others on Instagram, who are expressing relief about being able to purchase Puma products. You should take this down and clarify,” another frustrated user said.
Replying to people’s tweets that are calling out the falsity behind the alleged Puma news, a Twitter user wrote: “Omg thanks for pointing this out! I was about to buy the Moroccan nat’l team’s Puma jersey before I saw your tweet. This is highly irresponsible and counter-productive!”
Israeli crimes in Palestine
Israel was established in 1948 based on the ethnic cleansing and mass expulsion of indeginous Palestinians under what has been widely known as the “nakba” or “catastrophe”.
Between 1947 until 1949, at least 750,000 Palestinian from a 1.9 million native population were forced out of their own land by Israeli militias while depopulating at least 450 towns and villages.
There are up to 5.6 million Palestinian refugees of which at least 28.4% are scattered in 58 UNRWA-run camps in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza.
More than 70 massacres have been committed by Israel as it continues to forcibly displace Palestinians.
Tensions in the occupied West Bank have been on the rise since last year with fears of new escalations during the month of Ramadan.
Since the beginning of the year, Israel has killed nearly 90 Palestinians.