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11 Jan, 2019 14:47

‘Blatantly politicized’: Australia beat Palestine in Asia Cup match protested by Jewish group

‘Blatantly politicized’: Australia beat Palestine in Asia Cup match protested by Jewish group

Australia have beaten Palestine 3-0 in their second Asia Cup group match in Dubai on Friday, in a match which faced protest from the Australian Jewish Association (AJA) on grounds of "political bias against Israel".

The 'Socceroos' won with first half goals from Jamie Maclaren and Awer Mabil before substitute Apostolos Giannou made it three late on at Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium to keep their hopes of qualifying in Group B alive after a shock 1-0 loss to Jordan on Sunday.

Initially, The AJA had demanded the game against Palestine not take place, or at least do so under protest at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), which it accused of antisemitism, political bias, and of erasing Israel, who won the cup in 1964, from a video of past winners. The organization also criticized Football Federation Australia for allowing the nation to take part in the competition.

"The FFA board should not allow the Socceroos to play Palestine," AJA president Dr David Adler said in a statement released on Tuesday. "If compelled to do so, then at the very least it must do so under protest.

Adler went on to say: “Australia’s participation in the Asian Cup in these circumstances legitimizes the politicization of the Cup as it renders Australia complicit with the AFC’s political bias against Israel."

‘Blatantly politicized’: Australia beat Palestine in Asia Cup match protested by Jewish group

Israel were expelled from the Asian football governing body in 1974 and now play their games under the auspices of UEFA in Europe. Adler went on to claim that the match had been “blatantly politicized” by the AFC and that admission of Palestine as a participating country is antisemitic.

"Palestine is in part controlled by Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation and in part by the Palestinian Authority which incites and rewards the murder of Jews in Israel," the statement read.

Nevertheless, the match went ahead with Australia picking up their first points of the tournament and will next play Syria at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.