Letter to World Rugby Chairman on South Africa Disinviting Israeli Team

February 15, 2023 

Sir Bill Beaumont
World Rugby Chairman

Dear Chairman Beaumont, 

The Anti-Defamation League is a 110-year-old American organization with a mission to “fight the defamation of the Jewish people and secure justice and fair treatment for all.”  

I am writing to you regarding the South African Rugby Union’s (SARU) decision to disinvite the Israeli rugby team Tel Aviv Heat to participate in the South African Mzansi Challenge tournament scheduled for March.   

The SARU’s decision was reportedly taken due to pressure from the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a campaign that seeks to demonize Israel in every manner possible, including by marginalizing them throughout the sporting world.   

Sadly, over the past few years, the politicizing of sporting events has become an all too frequent occurrence for Israeli athletes, who have encountered similar discriminatory BDS actions in several countries, including in the UAE, Morocco, and Maylasia.   

Sports and competition should serve to rise above politics and remain a bridge between countries and communities. Indeed, World Rugby’s mission statement proudly declares that “no matter your religion, gender, sexual orientation, race, ability or disability – everyone is welcome in rugby. We exist to ensure that rugby is accessible and inclusive for all.” The actions taken by SARU grossly violate these important principles.  

We therefore strongly urge World Rugby to speak out on this matter, making it clear the importance of ensuring the Israeli team is not discriminated against and be allowed to compete in the Mzansi Challenge.   

I look forward to your reply on this matter. 


Jonathan Greenblatt 

CEO and National Director