A London university rugby club have decided to print the Palestine flag on their rugby jerseys in solidarity with Palestinians living “under occupation”, the Middle East Eye reports.
Goldsmiths Rugby Football Club said its decision was done to “demonstrate the students’ unions commitment to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement” against the occupying Zionist entity of Israel.
A picture on the club’s Facebook page shows members wearing their new jerseys, which includes a Palestine flag placed on the shirt sleeves.
The club told the Middle East Eye: “We’re hoping through our collaboration with Goldsmiths Palestine Society this year, we can encourage more societies and clubs to endorse and raise awareness about BDS.”
Goldsmiths did not condemn the rugby club’s decision to place the Palestinian flag on its sleeve.
But a college spokesperson told Middle East Eye that despite the club being independent, it was “disappointing that the rugby club has taken this decision. Sport should be unifying and should be played without borders and by all. No one should feel alienated or excluded.”
The college’s Students’ Union responded to pro-Israel supporters on Facebook by saying that it was a “shame that the university’s condemnation of the rugby club has so actively sought to undermine the great work of those involved, and the political mandate of the student body.”
In a statement released jointly with the Goldsmiths Rugby club, the union compared the club’s decision as being similar to the “black power salute” at the 1968 Olympics medal ceremony, as well as the recent actions of American footballers, who have refused to stand for the U.S. national anthem.
“Sport should be unifying and played without borders by all,” said the union “and this is exactly the point of the campaign. We believe that the privilege we have in the UK to play sport without borders is not one available to the Palestinian people, and this action is a reminder.”
Goldsmiths Union renewed its commitment to support the BDS movement last year after students submitted a motion to officially endorse the boycott Israel campaign.