Several football clubs in all leagues have decided to censure displays of solidarity with the Palestinians.
German football club Mainz 05 has terminated the contract of Anwar El Ghazi over social media posts related to the footballer’s solidarity with Palestine.
On Friday, the German club published a brief statement stating, “The 1st FSV Mainz 05 ends the contractual relationship with Anwar El Ghazi and terminated the player on Friday with immediate effect.”
“With this measure, the club reacts to the player’s statements and posts on social media,” the statement added.
Last month, the forward was suspended after one of his now-deleted Palestine posts stressed the phrase “from the river to the sea”, referencing a popular slogan calling for the freedom of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
Mainz called El Ghazi’s post “unacceptable.”
“In the post, El Ghazi stated an opinion on the ongoing conflict in the Middle East that was deemed unacceptable by the club. Prior to making this decision, the club and the player had engaged in an in-depth discussion,” Mainz stated on their channels.
The Dutch footballer has appeared to remain unfazed despite the termination of his contract and vowed to continue standing in solidarity with Palestinians facing a deadly Israeli aggression.
“Stand for what is right, even if it means standing alone,” he wrote. “The loss of my livelihood is nothing when compared to the hell being unleashed on the innocent and vulnerable in Gaza,” the 28-year-old added.
European bans on Palestinian support
On and off the streets of Europe, both federal and local governments in several European countries have obstructed pro-Palestinian protests, describing the peaceful rallies as threats.
As the Palestinian death toll from the persistent Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip climbs to 9,488, Germany has ordered its schools in the capital to ban the traditional Palestinian headdress known as the keffiyeh.
“Any demonstrative behaviour or expression of opinion that can be understood as advocating or approving the attacks against Israel or supporting the terrorist organisations that carry them out, such as Hamas or Hezbollah, represents a threat to school peace in the current situation and is prohibited,” Germany Education Senator, Katharina Guenther-Wuensch, said in a letter to schools.
The official also outlawed “free Palestine” stickers, stating, “such actions and symbols endanger school peace in the current situation.”
Meanwhile, France has held its motion to ban pro-Palestinian rallies in the country.
“Pro-Palestinian demonstrations must be prohibited because they are likely to generate disturbances to the public order,” said French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.
Appeals were raised by the organisation Comittee Action Palestine, which said the ban was not legal and ruled on freedom of expression and assembly, as per French law.
The ruling was later reviewed by France’s highest administrative court, which backed the decisions of Darmanin but said that pro-Palestinian protests must be banned on a case-by-case basis.
Vincent Brengarth, a lawyer for Comite Action Palestine, said the appeal was still a victory, but more work was needed to be done.
“It is a victory because it has swept away the systematic ban; now we will need to challenge bans on a case-by-case basis when they come,” Brengarth said.
Despite this, millions of protesters have taken to the streets in France, Germany, the UK and other European nations over the last month, all of which standing in support of Palestine and calling for a halt to the deadly Israeli aggression on Gaza.
On Saturday, Washington hosted the largest ever pro-Palestine protest in the history of the US.