NBA Removes ‘Occupied Palestine’ from League Website After Israel Intervenes

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (right) speaks with then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in June 2016. Credit: DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tim D. Godbee/Released.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) removed the term “Palestine – occupied territory” from the league’s website after Israeli Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev intervened.

In a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Regev described “Palestine” as “an imaginary state” and added that the league’s listing was not in line with President Donald Trump’s recent policy change on Jerusalem.

“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.

The “Palestine – occupied territory” term had appeared as an option on a list allowing fans to identify their country of residence when voting for NBA players to participate in the league’s All-Star Game.

Kathy Behrens, the NBA’s president of social responsibility, told Israel National News that the country list was provided by a third party.

“We do not produce the country listings for, and as soon as we became aware of it the site was updated. We apologize for this oversight, and have corrected it,” Behrens said.

Regev thanked the NBA for its decision to remove the listing, saying that Silver “proved his honesty and integrity.” She wished the commissioner “continued success in leading the best league in the world” and said she is “looking forward to meeting the NBA star team here in Israel as part of the 70th anniversary of [Israeli] independence.”


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