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Protesters 'denounce' presence of Israel at Canada Cup in South Surrey

International softball tournament draws pro-Palestine attention
Team Canada heads to the dugout just before Game 1 of a Canada Day double header at Softball City in South Surrey.

An international softball tournament in South Surrey has drawn the attention of pro-Palestine protesters.

An email advisory sent Wednesday, July 3, said "community members and athletes" were gathering "to denounce the inclusion of the Israeli national team in the international Canada Cup Women’s International Softball Championship taking place in Surrey, and to call for the Canada Cup to sanction Israel’s participation."

The action took place at a game between Team Canada and Team Israel that started at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Calls for Israel to face accountability through sports institutions for its occupation of Palestine have a long history in the global civil society BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement, the email said, adding numerous sporting organizations have echoed the call for a boycott on Israeli sporting teams.

"For months we have been calling for Canada to end its support for Israel and to implement a full two-way arms embargo and sanctions on Israel. In light of this, we are deeply troubled and angered by the warm welcome for Israeli sports representatives by the City of Surrey and Government of Canada,” said Palestinian organizer Dania Barakat in the email.

Members of the group in attendance planned to reiterate the call for a boycott and a bar on Israeli national teams and representatives from participating in all international competitions, including Canada Cup, until Israel ends the occupation of Palestine, the email said. 

Greg Timm, chair of the Canada Cup Host Committee, noted the the Canada Cup International Women’s Softball Championship is a not-for-profit organization "which is apolitical and has hosted national teams of many different nations over the years."

"The Canada Cup invites the team designated as the official national team of each country to participate in the annual tournament, and it remains the decision of each federation to accept or not," Timm said.

"Israel remains a team in good standing with both senior softball organizations, the International Olympic Committee and World Baseball Softball Confederation.”

On Thursday, Surrey South MLA Elenore Sturko took to social media to voice her support for the Israeli team, saying she was "disgusted and heartbroken to see the blatant antisemitism displayed by protesters."

Premier David Eby added his voice on X, calling the actions of the protesters "unacceptable."


Tricia Weel

About the Author: Tricia Weel

I’ve worked as a journalist in community newspapers from White Rock to Parksville and Qualicum Beach, to Abbotsford and Surrey.
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