NBA free-agent Gal Mekel .
(photo credit: TNS)
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Hotovely called the NBA to put a stop to using the term “occupied” on their official website.
The sports site had recently launched a vote for the 2018 All-Stars game in which site users are invited to pick their favorite NBA players and then pick their own home country to complete the process. The NBA site lists Israel but states that the Palestinian Territories are "occupied."
Hotovely stated that politics and sports should not be mixed and that it is wrong to use such a term when describing lands "to which the Jewish people have been connected for thousands of years."
Hotovely added that "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."
This is not the first time the American basketball league found itself entangled in Middle Eastern affairs.
NBA player Enes Kantar, who plays for the New York Knicks and is a Turkish citizen, lashed out against Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan
and called him “The Hitler of our times."
The Turkish authorities declared him a ‘’fugitive” and revoked his Turkish passport.