NBA Plays Ball with Hasbara and Removes “Occupied Territory” from Website
By: Michael Springmann/Arab America Contributing Writer
Last week it was reported that the NBA (National Basketball Association) had agreed to Israel’s demands to alter its website “after listing Palestine as ‘occupied territory.’” The NBA also apologized for this entry. According to reports from RT, the source making demand was Israel’s Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev (the same woman unhappy at New Zealand singer Lorde’s cancellation of her Tel Aviv concert). Regev asserted that Palestine is “an imaginary state…”.
Long a right-wing hawk from Netanyahu’s Likud party, the minister had earlier claimed the sports league was contradicting Washington’s official position that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem (Al-Quds). In her remarks, Regev also declared “Israel’s lands are not occupied; therefore what was written was false and should have been deleted.”
The origin of all this was the NBA “[offering] its [website] users the option of ‘Palestinian Territory, Occupied’ as their country of origin after voting for players from the Eastern and Western Conferences to participate in 2018 All-Star Game.” Regev’s reaction was this can “cause harm and distort the facts and historical reality,”
The Association claimed “that as soon as they found out, they updated the site, which now has “Palestinian Territories” listed as the option [for national identity].”
COMMENT. Hasbara means explanation in Hebrew. It is generally used now as propaganda designed to support the Jewish entity’s political positions and denigrate those of its opponents, particularly Palestine or those backing that truncated state.
The Nation noted that Regev is a former Israeli Defense Force brigadier general. The magazine added that the now-minister has referred to African migrants “as cancer” in Israeli society. Yet, as the Nation wrote: “The NBA not only does a great deal of work in Africa, and it not only has several star players from the African continent, but their brightest young star is arguably Giannis Antetokounmpo [an African]…”
What’s really behind Regev’s remarks? “Ramah Kudaimi, Director of Grassroots Organizing for US Campaign for Palestinian Rights made the following point to me [David Zirin, Nation writer] that helps explain it. ‘Miri Regev’s job is to spread propaganda to whitewash Israel’s continued denial of Palestinian rights,’ she said. ‘As more and more people of conscience take action in support of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice, and equality, including artists like Lorde and athletes like Michael Bennett, Israel feels the pressure to combat its growing isolation due to boycott, divestment, and sanction campaigns.’”
J. Michael Springmann is an attorney, author, and political commentator. He has written Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World and a second book Goodbye, Europe? Hello, Chaos? Merkel’s Migrant Bomb. Both are available on Amazon. The books’ website is: www.michaelspringmann.com