Portland Trail Blazers basketball team have rejected claims that they ended a partnership with an American rifle scope manufacturer due to its supply of equipment to the Israel Defense Forces.Commonly known as the Blazers, the National Basketball Association (NBA) team partnered with Leupold & Stevens since 2014 in a sponsorship deal for its “Hometown Heroes” program, a regular in-game segment to honor local military veterans and first responders. The Portland-based company manufacturers a range of scopes, surveying equipment, binoculars and related equipment for military, law enforcement and hunting purposes.Over the past year, however, local socialist and pro-BDS groups have repeatedly called on the team to terminate the sponsorship deal over a deal to supply sniper rifle scopes to IDF infantry units.The campaign was led by Portland Democratic Socialists of America, together with Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land, Portland’s Resistance and Jewish Voice For Peace - Portland Chapter.In late September, Blazers president and CEO Chris McGowan announced that the sponsorship deal had come to an end, leading to praise from anti-Israel groups. The team, however, has denied that the decision was the result of boycott pressure, but solely a business-related decision made by the scope manufacturer.“Leupold’s sponsorship contract officially expired at the end of last season and Leupold & Stevens made the decision not to renew,” the Blazers said in a statement, adding that the “Hometown Hero” program will continue despite the end of the partnership.“Their decision was business-related and not influenced by external pressure as being misreported by certain media outlets. Leupold & Stevens was a great partner and we wish them success for the future.”Dismissing the team’s statement, Portland Democratic Socialists of America proclaimed a significant victory for the BDS movement.“BDS works,” the group wrote on Twitter. “Continue the movement and make it hard for anyone to rationalize doing business with companies that help arm apartheid Israel and companies inside Israel.”On Thursday, the Blazers hosted Maccabi Haifa Basketball Club in Portland in a preseason game, defeating their Israeli opponents 104-68 at the Moda Center.