NBA apologizes for 'Occupied Palestinian Territories' listing

NBA clarifies it did not produce country listings for website, apologizes for oversight.

Elad Benari ,


The National Basketball Association (NBA) apologized on Thursday night after its website listed the "Occupied Palestinian Territories" as a country.

The website in question was set up for the 2018 All-Star Game in Los Angeles. It enables fans to vote for their favorite players. After the vote, fans are directed to a page where they are instructed to pick which country they are from. Israel was listed, but so were the "Occupied Palestinian Territories".

Such terminology is often used by Israel's enemies to describe Judea and Samaria and is offensive to many Israelis, as it negates the Jewish connection to its historical homeland.

Kathy Behrens, the NBA's President of Social Responsibility, and the person who oversaw the league's Basketball without Borders program in Israel last summer, told Arutz Sheva that the listing, which has since been removed from the site, was placed 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,” she said.

Earlier on Thursday, Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev (Likud) sent a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, demanding he act to remove the listing from the website.

"I was surprised to discover that on the official website of the NBA, where hundreds of millions of basketball fans are voting and who are currently choosing the players for the 2018 All-Star Game, the state of ‘Palestine - Occupied Territory’ was listed as one of the many countries to which basketball fans belong," wrote Regev.

She noted that “Palestine” is “a country everyone knows doesn’t exist,” and added, “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. Therefore, I would like to express my disapproval and ask you to immediately act to remove ‘Palestine – Occupied Territory’ from the list of countries.”

“I am sure that you will know how to act quickly in order to prevent this publication which can cause harm and distort the facts and historical reality,” wrote Regev.