Israeli Minister Demands NBA Remove Term From Website

Miri Regev didn't like seeing 'Palestine—occupied territory' on basketball site
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2017 2:16 PM CST
Israeli Minister Demands NBA Remove Term From Website
In this June 21, 2015, file photo, Miri Regev speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.   (AP Photo/Dan Balilty, File)

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn't usually the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about the NBA, but the basketball association has found itself suddenly mired in the political due to one particular term on its website. The Times of Israel reports that a pop-up list for an online poll asking about favorite players included the phrase "Palestine—occupied territory," which irritated Israel's ultra-conservative sports minister, Miri Regev, enough for her to write to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Calling Palestinian territories "an imaginary 'state,'" Regev says the way the NBA's listing appeared was "legitimizing the division of the State of Israel and [was] gross and blatant interference," per the Guardian.

Regev was miffed in particular that the phrasing was not in sync with US President Trump declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel earlier this month. Israel has said all of Jerusalem belongs to Israel, while Palestinians have been vying to claim eastern Jerusalem as the capital of their eventual state. Much of the international community, including the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice, sides not with Regev but with using the term "occupied" to describe the West Bank and Gaza. An NBA exec said country names originated from a third party and that the association has since updated the website. Now, per the Times, there's no listing for any Palestinian entity at all on the NBA site. (Jerusalem may be naming a train station after Trump.)

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