The Irish women’s basketball team will play Israel in this week’s FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2025 Qualifier on Thursday. But there is big opposition to the match taking place.
Sometimes it is claimed that politics must be left out of sport. This was the very reason why some argued that Ireland had to play against South Africa when it was under an apartheid regime.
Yet the sports boycott of South Africa was part of a wider global solidarity movement that eventually helped bring an end to the apartheid regime.
In the case of Israel, the argument makes little sense because the Israeli team has been openly consorting with the Israeli Defence Force who have been engaged in a murderous campaign in Gaza.
The Israeli women’s basketball team held a training session with soldiers from the Israeli Army, complete with guns on display, ahead of their clash with Ireland at the weekend.
On this ground alone, the match should not go ahead.
But there is also a serious case of double standards.
Following the invasion of Ukraine, several sporting bodies announced that Russian teams would no longer be allowed to participate.
FIBA removed Russia and Belarus in 2022 from international competitions and Basketball Ireland themselves also supported this.
People Before Profit salutes the five players who have refused to play with Israel.