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Puma drops Israel

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Picture: Micah Fong via Peoples Dispatch Picketers outside of a Puma store in Boston on Black Friday. Puma’s decision comes at the height of a global movement for Palestine and a call to boycott companies that sponsor Israeli apartheid, the writer says.

By Peoples Dispatch

After years of pressure from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which has intensified in recent months, the German company Puma announced on December 12 that it will drop its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association.

Since 2018, the BDS movement has been organising to put pressure on Puma to drop its sponsorship of Israel’s national football team and “end its complicity in Israeli apartheid”. The movement has claimed this announcement as a victory, writing that “leaked internal messages revealed that PUMA was under tremendous pressure to drop the contract”.

Puma itself claimed that the decision to end its sponsorship was taken a year ago and had nothing to do with the global movement for Palestine. The Israeli Football Association rejected what BDS claimed, stating that it was a “pathetic attempt … to mislead” and that it rejected the option to extend its contract with Puma back in September.

Puma’s stores have been the target of protests in recent weeks, such as a picket line outside of a Boston store on Black Friday, and an occupation of a store by demonstrators in Manchester, England yesterday.

BDS cited Puma’s decision to drop the IFA as “a lesson to the deeply complicit, Western-dominated FIFA, which continues to shield Israel from accountability despite the [teams based in illegal settlements] violating its own statutes.”

“We thank the hundreds of grassroots solidarity groups, athletes and teams across the world who supported the call from 215 Palestinian teams to boycott PUMA,” BDS stated.