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Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt to headline event for Israeli soldiers injured in Gaza
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Before leading the Cleveland Cavaliers against his former team, Maccabi Tel Aviv, this Sunday, coach David Blatt will headline a tribute to Israel Defense Forces troops injured in the war in Gaza.
Non-profit group Friends of IDF will host the reception Sunday morning at The Q. The group has teamed with Blatt and his former Israeli basketball club for the event, which will include honoring a dozen IDF soldiers wounded in action, according to a news release from FIDF.
The move comes amid controversy over the Cavs taking on Maccabi Tel Aviv and previous comments Blatt made in support of Israel. Pro-Palestine group Al-Awda isset to protest the game.
"Cleveland refuses the presence of the Israeli terror entity's team playing at Quicken Loans Arena. ... We will not be silent as we freshly remember Gaza," the group said on Facebook.
Protest organizer Abbas Falasteen Hamideh called Blatt's participation in Sunday morning's reception shameful.
"The Israeli army is responsible for massacring almost 2,200 Palestinians in the latest round of genocide against the Palestinian people," Hamideh said. "For Blatt to honor a brutal occupation army as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers is irresponsible to say the least and mind blowing to Palestinians who are die-hard fans of the team."
The Cavaliers did not return a request for comment.