OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green was at the center of a PR mess this week after photos of him surfaced holding a rifle like a sniper during a trip to Israel.
The images have ruffled feathers online, and Green found himself in the middle of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The controversy is fueled by the photo along with a video of Green, one of the Warriors’ four All-Stars, at an Israeli border training facility. The video, posted by on the Israel Police Instagram account, shows Green firing weapons and meeting with officers and other officials.
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כוכב האן.בי איי דריימונד גרין, שזכה לאחרונה באליפות במדי גולדן סטייט והגיע לביקור בארץ, הפגין את כישורי הצליפה שלו גם במהלך סיור שערך אצל לוחמי הימ"מ – היחידה המיוחדת ללוחמה בטרור של משמר הגבול ומשטרת ישראל. לאחר שהתנסה במטווחים, פגש גרין את מפקד היחידה, ניצב משנה נ' – לו העניק את חולצת המשחק הרשמית שלו @money23green @warriors #nba #israelpolice
According to the Warriors, Green was already on vacation in Israel with his family when he met with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin.
Raymond Ridder with the Warriors said the trip was not sponsored by the Friends of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), as reported by some outlets, and that photos were posted on their social media accounts and not Draymond’s own.
The photos have sparked an outcry online. Katie Miranda–International Solidarity Movement–said that Draymond is not the first athlete or celebrity to be swept into a controversy like this.
“This is an on-going tactic that the Israeli government uses to normalize Israel. I would invite Draymond to go and visit Palestine. Go and visit the West Bank and see what life is like on the other end of those fancy guns that he got to hold,” said Miranda.
“The specific issue is Israel using celebrities to further its Haspera agenda, and Haspera is Hebrew–it’s similar to propaganda or explaining things in a positive light for Israel. Having these photo opportunities with him holding these guns and saying, “Look, we’ve got this spokesperson promoting our cause,” it looks very bad if you’re one of the Palestinians, say in Gaza, who lost a family member to a sniper rifle,” explained Miranda.
In a telephone call, Ridder with the Warriors describes Green as a “very inquisitive guy.”
Bob Dorfman, creative director at Baker Street Advertising, doesn’t believe that Green’s image will be affected by this. “Maybe it was a bad idea to pose with a rifle, that might’ve been a little bit touchy. As far as everything else goes, I think it’s not going to hurt him,” he said.
The Warriors’ rep said Green remains on vacation out of the country.