I attended the recent Wales v Israel Women’s Euro 2017 qualifier match at Rodney Parade Ground, Newport, South Wales. I was aware that the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign was planning a protest and so took a video camera to film their activity.
A group of around 30 protesters gathered at one end of a pedestrian footbridge where they were held back by the police. Their chant of ‘Free, free Palestine, from the river to the sea’…resounded through a loud hailer. Their chant shows they do not recognise Israel’s right to exist and are therefore calling for its destruction. You can clearly hear their chant from the video I took here.
By contrast as you can see from the picture below a small band of Israel supporters crossed the bridge, waving Israeli flags, and were able to chat, through a fence, to some of the Israeli team staff members and one of the players.
Around 50 Israel supporters – adults, plus children – were in the ground, most seated together. Draping Israeli flags over the vacant seats in front, and waving them, they entered into the spirit of the game singing Hatikva and cheering the Israeli team, who came over and thanked them at the end of the game. The supporters’ behaviour was in marked contrast to the spurious chants of the protesters outside and the three who got into the ground. Upon opening their mouths, these three were evicted by the police. It is sad that a visiting national team coming to engage in a sporting activity is subject to this abusive and hateful conduct.