Several dozen anti-Israel protesters, many of them waving Palestine flags, gathered outside Quicken Loans Arena before the Cavaliers hosted Maccabi Tel Aviv. Holding signs that read: ”Hold Israel Accountable” and ”Boycott Israel,” the protesters peacefully chanted behind barricades set up across the street from the downtown arena. Cleveland police, including several on mounted horseback, kept a watchful eye as fans made their way into the building Sunday for Cleveland’s first exhibition game.
Magic Johnson, Russell Westbrook, and Derrick Rose were among a group of NBA superstars set to travel to Israel to support a basketball team co-owned by Amare Stoudemire — but TMZ Sports has learned the trip’s been 86’d due to the Gaza conflict. Our sources in the Holy Land tell us the legion of NBA talent — which also included Robin and Brook Lopez and Hall of Famer Chris Mullin — was going to attend the opening of a new arena in Jerusalem on September 4.
David Blatt: It’s not easy for me when I’m constantly thinking about what’s happening in Israel. My two older daughters happen to be on their global post-army service tour, my son is overseas playing in in the European Youth Basketball Championship, and my youngest daughter is also out of the country for a few days. They’re all returning to Israel, though, and I’m planning on seeing them again at the beginning of August. I had a plane ticket with Delta Airlines, but I changed to El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) as soon as Delta canceled its flights to Israel.”
Do you support the operation? David Blatt: “Absolutely. In my opinion, this war is Israel’s most justified war I can remember in recent years. I’m really sorry about what’s happening in Gaza, but there’s no doubt that we had to act there, so that Israel will have quiet there once and for all, and we can live in peace.” Do you feel support for Israel in the US? David Blatt: “There’s support, although sometimes it’s not enough. In my opinion, though, there’s more support this time than before.”