Mideast Conflict Comes to Cleveland Basketball, Protest Planned for Cavs Game

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Pro-Palestinian activists plan to rally outside the Q before and during the 6 o’clock game, to protest Israeli policy and Cavs coach David Blatt’s support for Israel when violence exploded in Gaza this summer.

Blatt is a dual citizen of the US and Israel, and former coach of Maccabi Electra.

"We find it problematic that coach Blatt, during the Gaza massacre, said that this is probably Israel’s most justified war on the Palestinian people!" said Abbas Hamideh, with the Cleveland chapter of The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition. He organized the protest.

Ahead of the game Sunday, Maccabi Electra and a group called Friends of the Israel Defense Forces will hold a ceremony to honor injured Israeli soldiers. The group’s website says Coach Blatt will participate. A spokesman for the team says that depends on his schedule.

Steve Hoffman, President of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, criticized the planned protest. He said in a statement the organizers should instead protest Hamas, the anti-Israel Palestinian leadership in Gaza, which Hoffman said was responsible for starting the recent war.

The Cavs declined to comment on the protest.

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