Golden State Warriors forward Omri Casspi shoots over Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson during the first quarter at Barclays Center. .
(photo credit: ANTHONY GRUPPUSO-USA TODAY VIA REUTERS)
America's National Basketball Association (NBA) apologized Thursday after website users were given the option to choose "Palestine - occupied territory" as their country of origin in an "All-Star 2018" poll, resulting in complaints from senior Israeli politicians.
The NBA's President of Social Responsibility, Kathy Behrens, told Israel National News that country listings were provided by a third party.
“We do not produce the country listings for NBA.com and as soon as we became aware of it, the site was updated. We apologize for this oversight, and have corrected it,” Behrens said.
The NBA apology follows demands from two senior Israeli lawmakers that the listing be changed. The website now allows users to list their country of origin as "Palestinian Territories."
Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev sent a strongly-worded letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver demanding that he "immediately act" to change the listing.
"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," wrote Regev.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Hotovely also called on the NBA to take action.
"This week, US Ambassador Friedman called for the cessation of the use of the term 'occupied' in regard to Judea and Samaria, and an important sports league such as the NBA should respect this view," said Hotovely.Hagay Hacohen contributed to this story.