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BDS movement urges boycotting sportswear company Puma over Israeli soccer sponsorship

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A banner calling to boycott Puma hangs outside the German sportswear company’s store in London, England, on September 18, 2021. (File photo via Twitter)

The international pro-Palestine Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement has called for a boycott of German sportswear company Puma over its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (IFA).

The movement said in a statement that its online campaign aims to pressure the company, which is one of the world's largest providers of sports footwear, apparel and accessories, “to end complicity with the Israeli colonial and apartheid regime.”

BDS said Puma has signed a contract with an Israeli distributor, who conducts sale operations in illegal Israeli settlements built on Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank.

The BDS campaign is reportedly the sixth of its kind against the German company since 2018 to stop its IFA sponsorship.

The campaign has succeeded to persuade the Doha-based Qatar Sports Club not to renew its contract with Puma, a Malaysian university to end a contract with the sportswear company and the British Chester Football Club not to contract it.

Last September, BDS organized activities in more than 50 cities worldwide to pile pressure on Puma to halt its sponsorship of the IFA.

The BDS movement, which is modeled after the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations that were pushing for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”

Thousands of volunteers worldwide have since then joined the BDS movement, which calls for people and groups across the world to cut economic, cultural, and academic ties to Tel Aviv, to help promote the Palestinian cause.

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