Israel thanks NBA for removing ‘Palestine – occupied territory’ from website

Israel’s sports minister thanked the NBA for deleting the words “Palestine — occupied territory” from its website.

By: World Israel News Staff

The National Basketball Association (NBA) set up a new website for the 2018 All-Star Game in Los Angeles, allowing fans to vote for their favorite players. After voting, the fans are asked to identify which country they are from, picking from among a variety of choices that included both Israel and “Palestine — occupied territory.”

Several fans discovered the listing when voting this week for Israeli NBA player Omri Casspi.

Regev: ‘A gross and blatant interference’

“I view the inclusion of ‘Occupied Palestine’ in the list of countries appearing on your official website as legitimizing the division of the State of Israel and as gross and blatant interference, in contrast to the official position of the American administration and the declarations of President Donald Trump, who just recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Therefore, I would like to express my disapproval and ask you to immediately act to remove ‘Palestine – Occupied Territory’ from the list of countries,” Miri Regev, minister of Culture and Sport, said in a sharp letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Thursday.

The NBA complied with the request and the choice of “Palestine— occupied territory” was removed Thursday evening.

Kathy Behrens, the NBA’s President of Social Responsibility and the person who oversaw the league’s Basketball without Borders program in Israel last summer, told Arutz Sheva that the listing had been placed by a third party. “We do not produce the country listings for and as soon as we became aware of it, the site was updated. We apologize for this oversight, and have corrected it,” she said.

NBA spokesman Michael Bass told Times of Israel, “We apologize for the errant listing.  We do not produce the country listings for and as soon as we became aware of it, the site was updated.”

Regev thanked Silver on Friday for removing the language, reiterating that “Israel’s lands are not occupied.”