Against normalising an Israeli marathon

Important and clever tactic, one that should be increasingly raised to highlight the insidious ways that the corporate world and the Jewish state attempt to whitewash occupation. The New York Times report:

A lawyer representing Palestinian government agencies sent letters this week to an American sneaker company and an international hotel chain threatening a boycott and legal action if they did not withdraw their sponsorship of the Jerusalem Marathon, which the Palestinians say violates international law.

The letters to New Balance, a footwear company based in Boston, and the InterContinental Hotel Group, which includes the Crowne Plaza hotel in Jerusalem, say that the marathon, scheduled for March 1, is a “serious breach” of international law because it runs through East Jerusalem, territory that Israel captured during the 1967 war and later annexed. The Palestinians, and much of the world, consider East Jerusalem occupied territory, but the Israelis see it as part of their capital city.

“As the marathon neither caters to the needs of Palestinian civilians nor serves any genuine military purpose, the marathon constitutes an illegal activity in occupied East Jerusalem under international humanitarian law,” read the letters, sent on behalf of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, Athletics Federation and Higher Council of Youth and Sport. Citing United Nations resolutions, the Fourth Geneva Convention and an International Court of Justice ruling, the letters warn: “If your company does not immediately withdraw sponsorship of this illegal activity, my clients will be forced to pursue this matter legally.”

The letters do not specifically mention the United Nations General Assembly vote on Nov. 29 that upgraded Palestine to a nonmember observer state, but a senior Palestinian official said the companies could be targets if Palestinians leaders decide to use the new status to pursue claims in international courts. Another possibility is action by the Arab League, whose 22 member states called for a boycott of Adidas over its sponsorship of the Jerusalem marathon last year.

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