Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green recently took a trip to Israel. But when the NBA Championship winner got home from his visit, he was criticized harshly online for it.
The Jerusalem Post reported the Green was in Israel on a Friends of the IDF-sponsored four-day trip around the country. He got to meet with President Reuven Rivlin, visited an IDF base and several historical sites around the country.
In a blog post, the organization wrote, "The basketball star learned about different firearms the (counterterrorism unit) force employs and played basketball at the (unit's) sports center, which FIDF supporters in Michigan donated," the organization wrote in a recent blog post. "At the end of his visit, Green presented Commander 'N' with a Golden State Warriors jersey with Green's number 23."
Even though the Michigan native didn't post any images of his trip to his Instagram page, several images appeared on social media which angered many people.
Critics responded to a video posted to the Israel Police Instagram page, showing Green shooting a firearm inside a training center.
כוכב האן.בי איי דריימונד גרין, שזכה לאחרונה באליפות במדי גולדן סטייט והגיע לביקור בארץ, הפגין את כישורי הצליפה שלו גם במהלך סיור שערך אצל לוחמי הימ"מ - היחידה המיוחדת ללוחמה בטרור של משמר הגבול ומשטרת ישראל. לאחר שהתנסה במטווחים, פגש גרין את מפקד היחידה, ניצב משנה נ' - לו העניק את חולצת המשחק הרשמית שלו @money23green @warriors #nba #israelpolice
"You got played," wrote Shaun King, a prominent Black Lives Matter activist and political commentator, on Twitter, according to The Jerusalem Post. "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."
CBN News Fact Check
CBN News' Middle East Bureau reported extensively on the violence at the Israeli border with Gaza in May and June propelled by the US embassy move to Jerusalem. A team from the bureau traveled there for a first-hand look. Israel attacked protestors who may not have been armed with guns but had thrown grenades, sent kite bombs, burned land and more. The Israeli government defended its border after following rules of engagement including dropping thousands of leaflets the day before an expected demonstration warning Gazans to stay away from the border fence.
A fact check by CBN News on the comment by King shows by our Middle East Bureau's reporting that most of that violence occurred in May and June around the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem. Watch the story below.
Jewish Voice for Peace called the trip a "disappointment," while Temple University Prof. Marc Lamont Hill said, "I'm confident that if he had been briefed, he would not have gone."
An article posted on the website The Nation on Tuesday pondered why Green would reject an invitation from President Donald Trump to visit the White House, but say "yes" to a trip to Israel.
"Draymond Green's trip raises the uncomfortable question of 'why?'" wrote Dave Zirin in the Nation. "Why go on a trip organized by Friends of the IDF? Why reject Donald Trump and accept the invitation of Rivlin? Why visit 'counterterrorism Border Police units' so soon in the aftermath of the May massacre?" he wrote, referring to violence along the Gaza border earlier this year that left around 60 Gazans – mostly Hamas members – dead."
Green appeared to be having a good time while meeting Rivlin and talking with IDF officials. He also gave Rivlin a Golden State Warriors jersey during his meeting with the Israel president.
"It's not every day that I meet an all-star," Rivlin joked at the time. The president, an avid sports fan, told Green that it has been "a true pleasure to watch you play. I hope this will only be the first of many visits," according to The Jerusalem Post.
Mayim Bialik, the actress who plays Amy Farrah Fowler on the hit CBS sitcom "The Big Bang Theory," has repeatedly told media outlets she is a proud Zionist, who supports the continued existence of Israel as a Jewish state.
That declaration has cost Bialik some followers on social media.
"I wish no one cared what celebrities think about the situation in Israel," Bialik wrote in 2014.
Bialik and other Hollywood celebrities participated in Israel's block party in New York City to celebrate the country's 70th birthday.
As CBN News reported, actress Scarlett Johansson stood by her endorsement of an Israeli soda company, regardless of the criticism she received from pro-Palestinian activists.
However, other celebrities have spoken out against Israel.
In April, Jerusalem-born actress Natalie Portman decided she would not accept an award from Israel's Genesis Prize Foundation due to "events in Israel that distressed her," according to her spokesperson. No events were mentioned, but can be assumed it was Israel's recent military response to Palestinian violence on Israel's border with Gaza.
Portman still holds dual Israeli and US citizenship.
Former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters has also joined some musicians in boycotting Israel through the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.
Waters had taken the lead in the BDS movement against Israel and has also urged other musicians and bands to boycott performing in the country.
Speaking to a press conference last year, Nick Cave, the lead singer with the band The Bad Seeds, said he wanted to "make a principled stand against anyone who wants to censor and silence musicians."
The band Radiohead was also slammed for performing shows in Tel Aviv last year.
Frontman Thom Yorke issued a statement: "Playing in a country isn't the same as endorsing the government… We don't endorse (Israeli Prime Minister) Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America. Music, art, academia is about crossing borders not building them."