Human-Rights Watch Endorses the Palestinians’ Soccer War

As part of Mahmoud Abbas’s overall strategy of using international institutions to wage diplomatic warfare on Israel, 66 members of the European parliament, backed up by a detailed report from Human-Rights Watch (HRW), are petitioning the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) to expel Israeli semi-professional soccer leagues located in the West Bank. Their letter further suggests the expulsion of Israel itself from the league. Eugene Kontorovich comments:

The legal arguments raised in these documents are entirely contrived. They contradict longstanding FIFA practice and create a double standard for Israel. . . .

[T]he HRW report . . . asserts that the local soccer leagues (all quite small-time) are “making the settlements more sustainable, thus propping up” the system. Most of the communities in question are just a few kilometers from the 1949 Jordanian-Israeli armistice line and would remain in Israel in all the major two-state proposals; their residents typically commute to work in bigger nearby cities. It is laughable to think anyone would leave [these communities] if the football league moved a few kilometers down the road. In any case, contrary to HRW’s claims, there is simply no support in international law for prohibiting business in occupied territories, as British and French courts have recently affirmed. . . .

[But] those campaigning against Israel rely principally on a lawyerly claim about FIFA’s rules: the clubs “clearly violate FIFA’s statutes, according to which clubs from one member association cannot play on the territory of another member association without its and FIFA’s consent.”

Curiously, the parliament members and the think tanks that support them do not cite any statutes saying this. And that is because the statutes specifically do not say that. . . . Rather, they deal with de-facto control. This is hardly surprising as FIFA is not a political body and would hardly be expected to, or want to, be forced to decide contentious territorial questions between members.

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Read more at Washington Post

More about: European Union, Human Rights Watch, Israel & Zionism, Palestinians, Soccer

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy