Iroquois Nationals in Israel for World Cup

Updated- Thursday July 12 2018 at 12 p.m.

TEL AVIV ISRAEL-The Iroquois Nationals have arrived at Tel Aviv to compete in the FIL World Cup of Lacrosse.

The Iroquois Nationals, first game takes place at 1:30pm today on ESPN2 vs USA. On Monday, July 16 at 2pm, ESPN2 will also televise the Iroquois Nationals vs Canada.

The Nationals are the No. 3 team in the world behind Canada and the United States, will compete in Israel today (Thursday July 12, 2018) despite a recent call from a prominent group in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement imploring the team to stay home from the tournament as a show of solidarity with Palestine.

“As indigenous peoples, we have both seen our traditional lands colonized, our people ethnically cleansed and massacred by colonial settlers,” the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) wrote in an open letter addressed to the Nationals on July 4, eight days before the team was to face the U.S. in its opening game at the world championship.

“We are asking you to respect our nonviolent picket line by withdrawing from the 2018 World Lacrosse Championships, denying Israel the opportunity to use the national sport of the Iroquois to cover up its escalating, violent ethnic cleansing of Palestinians throughout our ancestral lands.”

The Nationals have been forced to forfeit games in the past including in 2010 at the world games in Manchester when the British government refused to recognize their Haudenosaunee passports. The National travel on the Haudenosaunee passports . In 2010

Marc Lemay, the Bloc Quebecois’ Indian affairs critic at the time, remarked that the right to travel internationally is limited to those with a passport from “a recognized country” — adding Quebecers aren’t able to make the same kind of appeal to nationhood.

Israel had said it would recognize the Nationals’ Haudenosaunee passports ahead of this year’s world championship, but the players were unable to board their direct flight from Toronto to Tel Aviv on Monday when their airline, El Al, withheld their boarding passes at the request of Israeli tourism officials, according to Jim Scherr, the CEO of the Federation of International Lacrosse. Ansley Jemison, the Nationals’ executive director,  said the delay Tuesday was due to a mix-up between Israeli and Canadian authorities.

The Nationals are one of the tournament’s favourites. Jemison said the team is promoting “a message of peace and healing.”

The Nationals can also face a $500,000 fine if they boycotted the tournament along with exclusion from future tournaments including the summer Olympics where lacrosse is expected to return as a sport.

“Our position is that we’re coming to play a medicine game,” Jemison said. “We’re hoping to bring some healing to the world.”



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