Anti-Trump NBA star Draymond Green visits Israel on 'propaganda tour'
Draymond Green, an All-Star forward for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, visited Israel last week in a trip organised by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF).
Green met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and presented him with a Warriors jersey during their meeting.
The NBA star visited the Israeli Border Police's counterterrorism unit, where he played basketball on a court donated by the Michigan wing of Friends of the IDF (FIDF).
Pictures also emerged of Green posing as an Israeli sniper lying flat on the ground with a rifle, while Israeli police later uploaded a video of the NBA star doing target practice with a machine gun.
The visit by Green, a social justice advocate and anti-racism campaigner, caused outrage online.
In May, Israeli snipers killed more than 60 Palestinian civilians in one day during demonstrations along the Gaza border.
The massacre took place on the same day that the US embassy was relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in one of US President Donald Trump's most controversial foreign policy decisions.
Last year, the Warriors famously snubbed a White House invitation from Trump over his criticism of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racism.
"Dear Draymond Green (@Money23Green), You got played. Flashing a toothy grin w/ a sniper rifle in Israel on a trip sponsored by Friends of the IDF is so horribly offensive. They've recently slaughtered 100s of unarmed Palestinians w/ those rifles," US civil rights activist Shaun King wrote on Twitter.
"As a big Warriors fan with @Money23Green shirts/swag around my house, his stanning for Israel's violence, apartheid and racism is really a punch in the gut," another user wrote.
Last year, the Seattle Seahawks' Michael Bennett pulled out of an NFL delegation to Israel, citing the parallels between the plight of Palestinians and the Blacks Lives Matter struggle against police violence in the United States.
High-profile, all-expenses-paid visits by sporting celebrities have long been used by Israel as part of a propaganda strategy to whitewash the occupation and human rights violations against Palestinians, according to pro-Palestinian activists.
"Draymond Green is the latest celebrity to be posterized by Israeli apartheid," Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, told The Nation.
"It was a sad sight to see him collaborating with an effort aimed at normalizing Palestinian human-rights denial and selling it to his fans around the world."