Aliya Hasan says she’ll boycott Toronto Raptors if they choose to visit Israel

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Aliya Hasan. Photo: Facebook video Aliya Hasan – screenshot

Aliya Hasan is a Co-Manager of Canadian Defenders For Human Rights (CD4HR), a pro Palestinian Canadian registered non for profit organization (NO.1067715-9).

On June 13, 2019 Aliya Hasan posted video message aimed at the Toronto Raptors, its co-owner Larry Tanenbaum and players. Here is the transcript of Aliya Hasan’s message:

As you guys all know I’ve posting about the Toronto Raptors while the series has been going on, the NBA finals, we as a family are huge Raptor fans, we’ve been supporting them the whole season, and we’ve been very excited about the fact that they made the finals and, you know, we we went to games and we try to keep it non political, because you know we were just in it for the fun and to support our local Canadian Team.

But today it was in different articles in the Times of Israel and all over Facebook that the co-owner, Larry Tanenbaum, has stated that if they do win the title that he will be taking the team to Israel. So obviously this is very upsetting to us in pro Palestine activist community.

This is unacceptable, especially at a time when Israel is committing atrocities against the Palestinians on a daily basis, they’re, actually Gaza is under attack right now. So to be, trying to make it sound like Israel is somewhere they should be visiting right now it just doesn’t make any sense, especially at a time when many many many have boycotted Israel Including sports teams, like for example Argentina when they didn’t play that friendly [game] because they knew that it was not an appropriate time to be showing support for Israel in anyway.

You know many artists around the world have been distancing themselves from the apartheid illegitimate state of Israel. BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] is gaining momentum. We had a very successful 2018 for the BDS movement. Basically nobody wants to be seen as complicit in Israel’s war crimes and crimes against indigenous Palestinians.

So the fact that the Toronto Raptors’ co-owner is now stating that he would take them to Israel if they win the championship title is just absurd. And of course as human rights activists we have to speak out against it. People say sports shouldn’t be politicized, right, like a lot of people have that stand. It’s just fun, you know, let’s not make it about politics, but unfortunately the raptors co-owner has chosen right now to politicize this series.

So this can’t be taken lightly, because when you’re on the brink of winning an NBA championship title people in the masses are going to be listening and paying attention to your stance on major world issues. You have the ability to have a huge positive impact or negative impact with the platform that you’ve been given, so to use that to try to shed Israel in a positive light at this time in history is just appalling, and it’s naive to think that they shouldn’t be taken seriously. It’s absolutely something that has to be taken very seriously.

So I just want to say, we’re actually headed to Celebrations Square in Mississauga to watch the game and I’m my Raptors gear, my Toronto Raptors jersey, my Kawhi Leonard jersey, because I’ll continue to support the players until and when they choose to lose my support if they choose to go on this trip to Israel then I’ll boycott the team.

But I have faith that if they get this message from activists around the world that are against this obviously for very very good reasons that they will have a change of heart. So there’s still a chance and an opportunity to enlighten them and to educate them on what it is that they’ve chosen if they do you agree to go to Israel.

So to the owner, to Larry Tanenbaum, I’d like to say that you need to stop trying to whitewash Israel’s crimes. You’re ignoring ethnic cleansing, genocide of indigenous peoples, Israeli supremacy, you know, dispossession and violence against innocent civilians. That’s happening right now as we speak. Gaza is being attacked. Easy go settlements, okay. Israel continues to build illegal settlements on internationally recognized Palestinian territory. This is a violation of international law and constitutes a war crime. So these are war criminals that you are supporting.

So you can’t just pretend that you’re taking them on some vacation. You’re taking them to occupied stolen lands, to occupied territory. It’s not me saying this is occupied territories, it’s international law. So you can’t keep whitewashing these crimes. We can’t pretend that over the last year that we haven’t watched innocent civilians being massacred in Gaza from behind a fence by the IOF, the Israeli occupational forces, the snipers that are shooting at innocent civilians, at innocent children, women, medics. We have seen people that are clearly marked as press, as medics, murdered by Israeli snipers with absolutely zero remorse.

So this is not a time in history to be showing support. This is a time in history to be standing up against this, and speaking out loudly, okay. So it’s just disgusting that he nonchalantly expressed that the team is going to be going to Israel if they win the title. It’s basically promoting everything that is wrong about Israel, all of the gross violations of international law. It’s saying that it’s okay.

But I just want to say to the players and I hope that this message somehow can reach them. Please guys share this and let’s be loud about this, because this is completely unacceptable. I want to say to the players that you can choose to refuse to go, to visit Israel, okay. You’re being used as propaganda tools to further this Zionist agenda and you should decline, you should say that I don’t want to go. Join the many many many people very many famous people like Roger Waters and Lorde and Shakira that recently, you know, last year boycotted going to Israel. So join the many that have taken the right stance. Otherwise you’re complicit in the war crimes that continue to happen against the the indigenous Palestinians. It’s time for all of us to take a stand. Time to refuse to normalize Israel’s war crimes.

Israel is already granted impunity from international law. And we know that we can’t rely on world powers to stop these crimes that we’ve seen. They have turned a blind eye to what is happening to the Palestinians. So it is us the people that need to put an end to Israel’s culture of impunity. It’s up to us. It is a moral obligation as human beings of conscience to do the right thing and stand on the right side of history.

And I have faith that the Toronto Raptors players when they realize what they are being asked to do that they will make the right choice and refuse to be complicit in this. So I’m still cheering for the Raptors, I’ve still got my Raptors Jersey on. I’m still going to watch the game, but I know that the co-owner wants to take them to Israel if they do win this championship, and I know that there’s still time to turn this around, time to get the message to the players they might not be aware. A lot of people might not know. They’re not into politics. They don’t pay attention to the news and we need to make sure that they are. So let’s all be loud about this, okay.

We have to share this message and to continue to speak out when we see things like this happening. We can’t pretend that that this isn’t a big deal because it is, okay. Yeah, I just I don’t like that he’s using this as an opportunity to politicize this championship, you know, and since he has, then then we’ll take it there too… Please do share this message. Thank you everyone for your support…

Yeah he [Larry Tanenbaum] is Jewish. He is a Jewish co-owner of the Toronto Raptors, but again I will reiterate as I always have that our problem is not with Jews or Judaism. It is always has been and will always be with Zionism and it [Zionism] is a political ideology that has hijacked the Jewish faith and made people should believe that they are superior to others…

I’m going to watch it [the game between Toronto Raptors and the Warriors] in Toronto with my Palestine flag… We’re really excited the entire series obviously Canada never won NBA championship title. We won’t be silent while this happens. Thank you everybody for watching. Please share this so that we can get this message to the Toronto Raptors organization and make sure that they make the right decision and that they stand on the right side of history and against injustice, against oppression, against inequality and with human rights and with the Palestinian people. Free Palestine.