Bundesliga clubs have started taking stint actions against footballers that show public support for Palestine amid their conflict with Israel. With Germany showing a lot of support to the Israeli state during this time, their clubs are ensuring that they do just the same.
This has gotten to the point where German clubs are starting to punish their own players for showcasing their sympathy for the Palestinian people. Mainz winger Anwar El Ghazi became the latest victim of the same, as he was suspended by the club for showing support for Palestine.
Incidentally, El Ghazi was only signed by the Bundesliga club back in September. He signed for them on September 22 and was only getting adapted to his new environment when the Israel-Palestine conflict started. But his public show of sympathy for the Palestinian people ended up getting him in trouble with the club authorities.
Mainz has stated that they have suspended El Ghazi from training with the first-team squad and that he won’t be able to participate in any matches either.
In an official statement, they stated: “Prior to making this decision, the club and the player had engaged in an in-depth discussion. Mainz 05 respect the fact that there are varying perspectives on the decades-long, complex conflict in the Middle East. However, the club are distancing themselves from the content of the social media post in question, as it does not align with the values of the club.”
This was met with fan outrage, with a lot of supporters baffled at how a player could be downright suspended for simply showing sympathy and support for Palestine. Well, it appears that he had used a specific slogan that is now being considered a punishable crime in Germany.
The slogan reads ‘From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free’. This slogan basically means that there should be a free and Independent Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, a place where Israel is now located. Some demonstrations for the same have altered the world map to show that area to be in the colour of green, which is the considered by some as the color of Islam.
As per an expert on the significance of this slogan, it is described as “A shorthand for declaring that wherever Palestinians live in historical Palestine, whether citizens of Israel or residents of occupied territories, they suffer from some form of oppression, and this must end.”
However, the Berlin public prosecutor’s office has confirmed that using this slogan will be considered a criminal offence going forward. The prosecutor’s office sees this as suspicion of sedition against Israel’s right to exist. This is now considered as a possible slogan that can incite hatred towards the Jewish community and one could potentially be jailed for using the same.
El Ghazi was quick to delete his post on Instagram where he had used this slogan after probably realizing the trouble he put himself in. Mainz have been forced to suspend him because he technically committed a crime, but the Netherlands winger is unlikely to face serious criminal charges for it.
Apart from El Ghazi, Bayern Munich defender Noussair Mazraoui also recently got himself in hot water after sharing a pro-Palestine video on his Instagram. Bayern are reportedly planning on having a meeting with him to discuss his actions and potentially give him a stern warning about such action.