The Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is urging famed cycling race Giro d'Italia to "steer clear of apartheid" by relocating the start of its 2018 race from Israel.
The Giro d'Italia, an annual multiple-stage bicycle race founded in 1909, has made foreign starts in recent years in Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Northern Ireland. Israel will be the first non-European country to host the start of a Grand Tour.
The race will start in Jerusalem, followed by stages from Haifa to Tel Aviv and the Negev.
The BDS movement has urged activists to take action "to stop this sports-washing of Israel's occupation and apartheid", noting that the decision has been described as "a big political coup for the country, which has been striving to paint a picture of 'normal' life in everyday Israel".
According to campaigners,
starting the race anywhere under Israel's control will serve as a stamp of approval for Israel's oppression of Palestinians. Would the Giro d'Italia have considered starting a race in apartheid South Africa in the 1980s?
The BDS movement is asking activists to "#RelocateTheRace and cycle away from Israel's occupation and apartheid", and has provided an online form to send a letter to RCS Sports, the competition's organisers.