NBA complicit in Israel’s crimes against Palestinians
UPDATE: The Cleveland Cavaliers opened up pre-season play against an Israeli team, Maccabi Tel Aviv, on Oct. 5 while several dozen pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered outside Quicken Loans Arena to protest the team’s first year head coach, David Blatt, who supported and attempted to justify Israel’s 51-day assault on Gaza this past summer, which killed 500 Palestinian children.
Al-Awda, the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition’s Cleveland chapter, organized the protest. The group is made up of grassroots activists and students that help educate the public on the rights of all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands of origin, and to full restitution of all their confiscated and destroyed property in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Cleveland.com reported that nearly 50 people gathered before the game to protest the game and the coach, who justified the large amount of innocent lives lost at the hands of Israel in Gaza.
“This war is Israel’s most justified war I can remember in recent years,” Blatt told Israeli business newspaper Globes in August. “I’m really sorry about what’s happening in Gaza, but there’s no doubt that we had to act there, so that Israel will have quiet there once and for all, and we can live in peace.”
The Cavaliers hired Blatt in June. Before he became LeBron James’ latest head coach, he was the head coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv, the team he helped lead to several Euro League Championships.
Abbas Hamideh, the protest organizer and the national chair of Al-Awda’s was interviewed by Cleveland.com and can be seen in the YouTube video below.
Maccabi Tel Aviv is scheduled to play the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center on Oct. 7 and protests are expected to follow. Human rights organizations such as Red Card Israeli Apartheid have argued that the celebration of Israeli sports teams across the globe is meant to “normalize” Israel’s crimes against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
The Nation reported the NBA singed off on a VIP celebration for Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces to be hosted at the Barclays Center two hours before the game against the Nets is supposed to occur.
“The VIP reception will pay special tribute to Israeli soldiers wounded in the recent IDF Operation Protective Edge and, at the same time, to the Guest of Honor, NBA Hall of Famer, Dolph Schayes, 86, the only Jewish player to be selected as one of the 50 all-time NBA best,” a press release for the event said.
Al-Awda told Palestine in America its New York chapter will protest the event and the game in front of the Barclays Center on Oct. 7.
Approximately 200 demonstrators protested outside of the Barclays Center as a fundraiser for Friends of the IDF occurred inside the arena.