A delegation of eight professional basketball players visited Israel earlier this month. Yet this was no simple sightseeing visit: Multiple reports suggest the trip was part of a renewed, multimillion dollar effort to oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Organized by Omri Casspi, an Israeli player for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, the first reports appeared on JNS.org, a global Jewish news service, which claimed the trip was sponsored by “a foundation [Omri] Casspi has formed, which seeks to fight anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement initiatives.” Casspi, along with eight teammates, flew aboard a private jet on a tour of his home country. Later, Casspi insisted the trip was “nothing about politics,” forcing JNS.org to add a correction to the story.
However, the private jet on which players flew to Israel is owned by Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino magnate known for pouring millions of dollars into opposing the BDS movement. Further, Casspi is known to sponsor an anti-BDS foundation in his own name, and the trip also featured “charity” events designed to build goodwill for Israel, sponsored by the basketball nonprofit NBA Cares.