Basketball star slammed online for traveling to Israel

Draymond Green visited Border Police base during Friends of the IDF-organized visit last week.

July 11, 2018 17:05
4 minute read.
President Reuven Rivlin meets Draymond Green, July 4, 2018

President Reuven Rivlin meets Draymond Green, July 4, 2018. (photo credit: GPO)


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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-organized 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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