Following local pressure, Adidas reconsiders sponsorship of Jerusalem marathon
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat decides to hold the first Jerusalem International Marathon in March 2011. He gets Adidas to sponsor the event. An Israeli runner registers and then discovers that the route runs through some of the most egregious examples of discrimination and dispossession in East Jerusalem: Sheikh Jarrah, Issawiya, the Shufat Refugee Camp, Jabel Mukaber and Sur Baher (see map on right.)
He approaches the Meretz representatives on the Jerusalem city council and they, with international human rights organizations, approach Adidas. Adidas smells a possible consumer boycott and gets cold feet. The company demands “clarifications” from the Jerusalem municipality. What does that mean? Time (and persistence) will tell.
Yosi Eli, Maariv, December 10 2010 [Hebrew original here and at the bottom of this post]
The sports giant Adidas, which is sponsoring the Jerusalem International Marathon, requested clarifications from the Jerusalem Municipality about the manner in which the event would be conducted [sic]. Sources in the company [say they] are even considering withdrawing the sponsorship because of fears of a consumer boycott, after it became clear that the route also runs through neighborhoods beyond the Green Line.
The company’s communication with the Jerusalem Municipality follows a series of protests it received from human rights organizations across the world, demanding that the company cancel its sponsorship of the marathon, which is scheduled for March 2011.
The calls for a boycott came after a left-wing activist, who will be participating in the marathon, complained to the Meretz faction in Jerusalem. He said that it was not proper that the route run through neighborhoods beyond the Green Line. Among other things, the organizations are threating to start a consumer boycott of it does not withdraw its support of the race.
In their letter to the Mayor Nir Barkat, which was communicated with the help of the Meretz faction in the Jerusalem City Council, headed by Councillor Pepe Alalou and Dr. Meir Margalit, the [company's] managers clarification over the planned route. A source in the Jerusalem Municipality said that following the approaches to the company, some of the Adidas management and its board, requested explicit clarifications regarding the event, which will be held for the first time in Jerusalem.