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Monday, January 03, 2011

Meretz convinces Adidas to threaten Israel

From The Jerusalem Post, December 7:
Three Jerusalem City Council members from the opposition sent a warning letter last week to sports apparel company Adidas, one of the major sponsors of the International Jerusalem Marathon, calling on the company to withdraw its sponsorship of the race if the municipality did not remove east Jerusalem segments from the route.

“There’s no reason why it needs to go through the eastern part of the city,” said City Councilman Pepe Alalu (Meretz), who heads the opposition. “A marathon does not bring Jews and Arabs together. This is just an aggressive move.”

The letter was co-signed by Laura Wharton and Meir Margalit, both of Meretz.

The current route of the marathon, which will be held on March 25, starts at the Knesset and takes runners all the way out to Pisgat Ze’ev, before circling Hebrew University, entering the Old City at the Zion Gate, wending its way through the hills of Rehavia and Talpiyot to the promenade, and finally doubling back to the Knesset.

“As members of the Jerusalem City Council, we feel it is our duty to inform you that this year, the path of the marathon is due to run through parts of east Jerusalem that are considered occupied territory by the international community and by us,” the Meretz letter to Adidas stated.

“For that reason, we object to the marathon as it is now planned and believe it is important that you realize that a significant portion of the Israeli population as well as an overwhelming majority of the general population abroad will doubtless express their opposition once the details of the marathon are made public,” it continued.
I don't know if Adidas would have caved so easily had the letter come from BDS leaders, but since it came from people who pretend to represent Jerusalem, they did. From Ma'an:
Sportswear company Adidas forced the Jerusalem Municipality to reroute a planned marathon to avoid occupied Palestinian neighborhoods, Israeli media reported Sunday.

Hebrew-language daily Ma'ariv said Adidas threatened to withdraw sponsorship from the event after the company was lobbied by human rights organizations.

The newspaper reported that several organizations threatened to boycott the company over the issue.

The report said the March race would be held within the Green Line, in what Ma'ariv described as a submission to Adidas.
It is simply outrageous for members of a city council to lobby an outside company to threaten their own city.