Pro-Palestinians Gird for Protests When Maccabi TA Plays NBA Preseason Games

In wake of Gaza conflict with Hamas, demonstrations may greet team's matches in Brooklyn and Cleveland.

AP

The prospect that pro-Palestinian demonstrations will greet Israel's champion basketball team during a visit to the U.S. isn't a slam dunk, but it's still a possibility, a media report says.

In October, Maccabi Tel Aviv will play two preseason games, against the National Basketball Association's Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers. In a blog post, the Nation magazine reports that the Euroleague champions will be playing in the U.S. for the fifth time in nine years.

The games come on the heels of Israel's seven-week conflict with Hamas in Gaza, which ended August 26 in a cease-fire. And the magazine says pro-Palestinian activists are girding to demonstrate.

The Nation reports that before the Nets game at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces – the New York-based advocate for the IDF – will be hosting a pregame celebration including 12 wounded Israeli soldiers.

The magazine also notes that the Cavaliers are now led by Coach David Blatt, formerly the coach at Maccabi. In August, Blatt told the Israeli daily Globes that Operation Protective Edge was Israel's "most justified war" in years.

And the magazine said that given the NBA's popularity in the West Bank and Gaza, Commissioner Adam Silver "should make it his mission to invite a Palestine club team to the U.S. and apply pressure to make it a reality."