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American Thinker
American Thinker
24 Feb 2024
Andrea Widburg

NextImg:A Canadian NBA apparently team ejected a fan for wearing an Israel-themed shirt

At least since 2020, the National Basketball Association (“NBA”) hasn’t shied away from politics. It was all-in on Black Lives Matter, with everything from courtyard messages to kneeling for the National Anthem. However, when it comes to Jewish lives mattering, at least one NBA team—the Toronto Raptors—allegedly won’t allow that message. Instead, a report claims that the team kicked people out of its stadium because one dared to wear a sweatshirt with the message “Free Our Hostages” and a picture of the Star of David.

Canada’s National Post reported what happened:

Fans at a Raptors game in Toronto on Thursday night were asked to remove a hooded sweatshirt with the slogan “Free Our Hostages” and featuring a Jewish star.

“A female security guard came up and said, ‘You’re gonna have to stay here until a manager comes to speak to you,'” Leora Shemesh, one of the fans, told National Post.

“I knew then what we were about to deal with.”

Shemesh, a criminal lawyer who was dressed for court proceedings earlier in the day, attended the game at Scotiabank Arena alongside fellow attorney, Gary Grill, who was wearing the sweater when a Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) security guard instructed the two to stay put.

When a supervisor arrived, Shemesh and Grill were notified of an “MLSE policy” prohibiting “any attire that displays a political message,” said Shemesh, who is a Raptors season ticket holder. “I’m thinking to myself, ‘You gotta be kidding.'”


Stadium security offered Grill a Raptors jersey to replace the sweatshirt, but he refused to change. The two voluntarily left the game shortly after. “We were given the option. We were told what to do. We left peacefully. It was all very calm and peaceful, but we were flabbergasted,” Shemesh said.

This tweet shows the sweatshirt that aroused the Raptor’s wrath:

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To give some context, this is the Raptors in 2020:

FRED VANVLEET TRUDGED from the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Naples, out the double doors and into the stifling Florida humidity. The Toronto Raptors guard squinted, his eyes adjusting to the sunlight as the words came into focus.

He saw “Black Lives Matter” in large, white letters across each side of two buses that had arrived to take the Raptors to the NBA's campus at Walt Disney World Resort.

“It was dope,” VanVleet said. “They didn't even tell us they were doing that.”

The NBA and the Raptors are completely political. However, what’s becoming clear is that it’s a very specific type of politics. But of course, that’s true for all pro-sports, and nowhere more so than in Canada, a country that is now where Democrats want America to be. The National Hockey League in Toronto was fine with the American National Anthem being sung by a player draped in a keffiyeh, an aggressively pro-Palestinian piece of clothing.

Still, maybe there’s a little bit of sunlight. One of the reasons Democrats win is because American Jews relentlessly support them. There are a whole bunch of theories behind this madness, going back to Jews associating leftism with the opposite of the tzarism that led to the pogroms that sent so many fleeing Russia and Poland for America. Still, my preferred theory is that Jews are disproportionately likely to go to college. We’re seeing the same leftist trend in Asians, from East Asian Indians to Chinese, because they, too, have a college culture. But I digress.

Just as Democrats can’t afford to lose the black vote, they also can’t afford to lose the Jewish votes. However, what I’m seeing on a large, pro-Israel Facebook group I follow—a group that was started by and is filled with progressive Jews—is a shift in their awareness. They’re starting to realize that Democrats and American cultural institutions hate them and want them dead. They’re fighting that realization, but it’s happening.

That’s why I wasn’t surprised when the page founder put up this meme (creator unknown):

Perhaps we’re witnessing some minds being changed. And what happened in Canada—which I found via this Facebook page—is one of the things changing those minds. I know it can happen because I changed my mind when I saw NPR’s relentless anti-Israel bias in the 1990s, a switch in worldview that culminated with 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina (“Wow! The NRA was right. When seconds count, the police are minutes…or days…away.”)

Image: X screen grab.