A pro-Palestine group intends to protest outside Quicken Loans Arena before Sunday night's preseason game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel-Aviv, David Blatt's former club.
The group, who calls Maccabi Tel-Aviv the "terror entity's team" on its Facebook page, has 87 confirmed guests, at last count.
"It has not been uncommon for Israeli basketball and soccer teams to attract protestors in Europe," writes Cynthia Blank in Israel National News
. "Now, with Maccabi, the Euroleague champs, returning to the United States, the trend appears to have spread."
Maccabi plays another exhibition game against the Brooklyn Nets, before which a similar protest is scheduled.
Adding fuel to the fire in Cleveland is David Blatt's outspoken support for Israel, which local Palestine supporters feel is inappropriate. His comments to an Israeli newspaper in August supporting action against Palestine have been published on the protest group's Facebook page
to generate support. Additionally, Blatt will be "headlining" a Sunday morning tribute to Israeli soldiers wounded in Gaza.
The Cleveland Jewish Federation, obviously, isn't pleased with the Palestinian group's decision to protest the match. In a statement to the NEOMG, president Stephen Hoffman said Palestinians are refusing to protest "in the right place."
"They should be protesting the terrorist leadership of Hamas that started the war this summer, prolonged the war this summer, and, in doing so, caused the death of its own innocent civilians."
Good news is, everyone has the right to express their views and protest on public property, which the Q most certainly is — thanks Sin Tax! — and the better news, for those protesting, is that Cleveland now represents the nucleus of the basketball universe and any protest or rally or pre-game hoopla of any sort is likely to gain much broader exposure.