FIFA attacks Palestinian football

Israeli settler and supposed “expert” on Palestinians Itamar Marcus appeared in the anti-Muslim film Obsession. (Clarion Project/YouTube)

FIFA has launched an investigation into Palestinian football based on allegations made by an anti-Muslim activist and West Bank settler, The Electronic Intifada has learned.

The ethics committee of world football’s governing body wrote to the Palestinian Football Association’s president in January laying out the allegations in a report by discredited Israeli group Palestinian Media Watch.

In his letter, FIFA’s Martin Ngoga wrote that Palestinian football’s president Jibril Rajoub had been accused of “incitement” and “glorification of terrorism” or of “not having condemned” supposed terrorism.

You can read the full letter below. FIFA’s letter encloses the Palestinian Media Watch report from 2017, which can be read online.

Ngoga did not reply to an email from The Electronic Intifada asking why FIFA took allegations from such an organization seriously, and why it had apparently taken two years for FIFA to launch its investigation.

The report was co-authored by Itamar Marcus, the director of Palestinian Media Watch.

No expert

In 2013, an Israeli judge ruled that Marcus was not the “expert” he claimed and was actually a “biased” party predisposed to portray all Palestinians as guilty of “incitement” against Israelis.

Reliance on Marcus’ testimony meant that that case – against the Palestinian Authority for an alleged policy of incitement – collapsed.

This was something for which Judge Dalia Ganot expressed regret, but she ruled that the complainants “did not meet the legal burdens imposed on them, and were unable to prove their case.”

Marcus is a settler who moved from New York to live in the Israeli colony of Efrat, which is built on stolen Palestinian land near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, a war crime.

Marcus was interviewed for the anti-Muslim film Obsession and has associations with notorious far-right Islamophobes like Geert Wilders and David Horowitz.

He is also published by the Gatestone Institute, an extreme think tank notorious for disseminating hoaxes designed to stoke hatred and fear of Muslims.

Marcus has previously worked for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of public relations.

Despite claims of independence, Palestinian Media Watch has received funding from the Jewish Agency, one of Israel’s government-backed national institutions.

After a long-awaited report, FIFA in 2017 refused to take action against football clubs located in Israeli settlements, based on land stolen from Palestinians.

“FIFA is intent on providing material support for Israel’s violations of international law amounting to war crimes against one of its own member associations,” the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel responded at the time.




This is pathetic. FIFA turns its head to the violations of Palestinian land by blatantly racist "Israel" football teams and turns its head to the violence meted out to Palestinian football players many of whom have been maimed for life. I wish somebody would start a new grassroots football organization. FIFA has become a monster.


FIFA is abandoning it principles for the satisfaction of Israel. Very corrupted organization.

Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley's picture

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who lives in London. He is an associate editor of The Electronic Intifada and co-host of our podcast.

He is author of the bestselling book Weaponising Anti-Semitism: How the Israel Lobby Brought Down Jeremy Corbyn (OR Books, 2023).