BDS activists are targeting Puma in Boston

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Demonstrators outside Puma’s Assembly Row storefront distribute literature about the firm’s involvement with Israeli football leagues. (photo: Skip Schiel, Teeksa)
Puma is moving its corporate headquarters to Boston and BDS activists there are planning on targeting the shoe maker over its sponsorship of Israel’s football league.

By Michael Arria | Mondoweiss | May 5, 2021

“Puma is really branding itself as a company that supports Black Lives Matter, black athletes have been chosen as spokespeople for them, and yet they’re sponsoring the IFA and engaging the oppression of Palestinians,
— Ragini Shah, a law professor and BDS Boston member

In recent months supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) have been showing up outside a Puma store in the Boston suburb of Somerville to picket and hand out literature.

Puma became a target of the BDS movement in 2018 after the company signed a four-year deal to sponsor the Israel Football Association (IFA), which has multiple teams based in illegal West Bank settlements.

The IFA is an affiliate of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) and, beyond the obvious violations of international law, the teams that play on occupied land shouldn’t technically exist under FIFA’s rules. Leagues under the FIFA umbrella aren’t allowed to play games on the territory of another member association and the Palestinian Football Association is part of the federation. As Human Rights Watch has pointed out, FIFA acted swiftly in 2014 when the Russian Football Union tried to play games Crimea, but there’s been no action when it comes to the IFA.

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