Palestinian Olympic Committee chairman and convicted terrorist Jibril Rajoub should be suspended from the International Olympic Committee for inciting violence, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan wrote in a letter to IOC President Thomas Bach on Tuesday.
“Sports should be used to build bridges and spread peace between nations, and should not be used to promote divisiveness and racism,” Erdan wrote.
Erdan highlighted Rajoub’s ban and fining by FIFA earlier this year for inciting violence against players on the Argentinian national football team, and called on the IOC to follow suit. The Argentinian team had been planning to play a friendly match against the Israeli team this June, but canceled following threats against the players and their families.
“Rajoub called on football fans to burn shirts and posters of Argentinian National Team player Lionel Messi, simply because Messi was in favor of playing in Israel,” the minister recounted.
The Olympics, he wrote, are meant to “unite the nations of the world through sport, in peace and harmony.”
“There should be no room in respected international organizations for those who support terror, promote violence and employ threats and intimidation,” Erdan said. “Rajoub’s behavior stands in direct opposition to the values of the Olympics.”
In August, FIFA ruled that Rajoub violated its disciplinary code and can no longer cannot attend any soccer matches for a year, and had to pay a fine of more than $20,000 or NIS 74,000, due to “media statements he gave…[that] incited hatred and violence.”
Rajoub, a senior official of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party, was convicted in 1970 of throwing a grenade at an Israeli army bus and of membership in a terrorist group. He was one of 1,150 Arab prisoners Israel released in 1985 in exchange for three Israeli hostages, but was arrested twice more for terrorist activities.