An Israeli lawmaker of Ethiopian origin urged the top professional basketball league in the world on Tuesday to remove one of its owners who was caught on tape making racist comments.
Shimon Solomon, an Israeli member of Knesset from the Yesh Atid faction, wrote a letter on Tuesday to the commissioner of the National Basketball Association, the league which is mulling disciplinary action against Donald Sterling, the Jewish real estate tycoon and Clippers owner who was caught on tape urging his female companion not to associate with black people.
“As a Jew, as a citizen of a country founded on the ruins of racism in Europe, it hurt me to hear Mr. Sterling, especially on this painful day [on which Israel remembers the Holocaust],” he said. “It is sad to see someone of the stature of Mr. Sterling, who instead of choosing to lead and influence to change and fight these incidents, chose to make racist statements, so pathetic and disgusting like the last uneducated person in society.”
Solomon called on the commissioner, Adam Silver, to strip Sterling of the team’s ownership.
“Now the responsibility to deliver the message, sir, is on you,” Solomon wrote. “The NBA is known for their many activities for society and the community. United States, as the biggest superpower in the world, is an example to the rest of the world. The NBA has to condemn the statements like these posts, and those people within who expressed them.”
“The dismissal of Sterling from his position as owner of the NBA team will send a message loud and clear: ‘The NBA will not tolerate racism, and racism will not be tolerated.’ There are more important things than the game itself.”
Solomon signed the letter “a black Jew from Israel,” a reference to Sterling’s attempts to justify his views toward blacks by citing Israel’s treatment of Ethiopian immigrants.