Despite activists from the anti-Israel BDS movement claiming victory over the Toronto Raptors canceling their planned visit to Israel this summer after winning the NBA championship this year, the team’s co-owner Larry Tanenbaum said the issue pertained to scheduling conflicts.
Tanenbaum, who is Jewish, said that the #RaptorsDontGo campaign by the Canadian BDS Coalition played no role in the trip not transpiring.
“Following our NBA championship win, as an organization, our intention was to take the Raptors to Israel, but as you can imagine, managing a group of championship basketball players with increasingly demanding schedules, as well as having many of our players and coaches participating in the FIBA World Cup in China during August, made it simply impossible to find dates that worked for the whole team in this shortened off-season,” Tanenbaum told The Canadian Jewish News.
“I find it curious that anti-Israel activists, about whom I have little knowledge, are taking credit for our scheduling challenges. I think legitimate questions can be raised about the intentions of a group that is attempting to sow division through sport,” he continued. “It seems to me that sport should be used as a vehicle to bring people together. Look at the Raptors. Our approach to diversity, in part, won us a championship.”
The Canadian BDS Coalition stated, “Our campaign was launched in June 2019 (and) seemed to strike a chord with many people, both in Canada and globally. Although the Israeli lobby has engaged in other sportswashing events, this particular attempt struck many as an incredibly blatant and crude exploitation of a popular victory for an overt political agenda … Why exactly the Raptors team never went on the ‘promised trip’ may have been the result of several factors, not the least of which was the quick and overwhelmingly negative response by so many basketball fans,” reported The Canadian Jewish News.
The Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors 4-2, earning its first championship.