Bas­ket­ball star slammed on­line for trav­el­ing to Is­rael

Golden State War­rior Dray­mond Green vis­ited Bor­der Po­lice base dur­ing Friends of the IDF-spon­sored trip last week

Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By AMY SPIRO

A week after re­turn­ing from a trip to Is­rael, NBA star Dray­mond Green has been slammed on­line for his visit by crit­ics of the Jewish state.

While in the Holy Land, the Golden State War­rior and Michi­gan na­tive met with President Reu­ven Rivlin and vis­ited an IDF base, in ad­di­tion to tak­ing in the sun and the sites.

Many crit­ics were par­tic­u­larly up­set over a video posted to the Is­rael Po­lice In­sta­gram page, fea­tur­ing Green shoot­ing a gun inside a Bor­der Po­lice train­ing cen­ter.

“You got played,” wrote Shaun King, a prom­i­nent Black Lives Mat­ter ac­tivist and po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor, on Twit­ter. “Flash­ing a toothy grin w/ a sniper ri­fle in Is­rael on a trip spon­sored by Friends of the IDF is so hor­ri­bly of­fen­sive. They’ve re­cently slaugh­tered 100s of un­armed Pales­tini­ans w/ those ri­fles.”

Green didn’t share any im­ages from his trip on his own In­sta­gram page, which is fol­lowed by more than three mil­lion peo­ple. But other im­ages posted on so­cial me­dia raised the ire of many peo­ple on­line. Jewish Voice for Peace called the trip a “dis­ap­point­ment,” while Tem­ple Univer­sity Prof. Marc La­mont Hill said, “I’m con­fi­dent that if he had been briefed, he would not have gone.”

Green – who is a for­mer team­mate of Is­raeli NBA player Omri Casspi – was in Is­rael on a Friends of the IDF-spon­sored trip around the coun­try.

Ac­cord­ing to the or­ga­ni­za­tion, Green was led around Is­rael for four days by FIDF’s Mid­west Re­gion ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Tamir Op­pen­heim.

The bas­ket­ball star “learned about dif­fer­ent firearms the [Coun­tert­er­ror­ism Unit] force em­ploys and played bas­ket­ball at the [unit’s] sport cen­ter, which FIDF sup­port­ers in Michi­gan do­nated,” the or­ga­ni­za­tion wrote in a re­cent blog post. “At the end of his visit, Green pre­sented Com­man­der ‘N.’ with a Golden State War­riors jer­sey with Green’s num­ber 23.”

An ar­ti­cle in The Na­tion on Tues­day won­dered why Green would re­ject an in­vi­ta­tion from US President Donald Trump to visit the White House, but say yes to a trip to Is­rael.

“Dray­mond Green’s trip raises the un­com­fort­able ques­tion of ‘why?’” wrote Dave Zirin in The Na­tion. “Why go on a trip or­ga­nized by Friends of the IDF? Why re­ject Donald Trump and ac­cept the in­vi­ta­tion of Rivlin? Why visit ‘coun­tert­er­ror­ism Bor­der Po­lice units’ so soon in the after­math of the May mas­sacre?” he wrote, re­fer­ring to vi­o­lence along the Gaza bor­der ear­lier this year that left around 60 Gazans – mostly Ha­mas mem­bers – dead.

But Green ap­peared happy and com­fort­able dur­ing his trip, in­clud­ing meet­ing with the Is­raeli president and con­vers­ing with IDF of­fi­cers. The NBA star also pre­sented Rivlin with a Golden State War­riors jer­sey dur­ing a visit to his res­i­dence in Jerusalem.

“It’s not ev­ery day that I meet an all-star,” Rivlin joked at the time. The president, an avid sports fan, told Green that it has been “a true plea­sure to watch you play. I hope this will only be the first of many vis­its.”

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