Anti-Israel protest at Timberwolves-Haifa game leads to assault allegation [VIDEO]

A pro-Palestinian group isn't happy the Wolves hosted an Israeli opponent.
A pro-Palestinian group isn't happy the Wolves hosted an Israeli opponent.

Last night, the Timberwolves hosted Maccabi Haifa B.C., a professional basketball team from Haifa, Israel, for an exhibition game at the Target Center.

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Minutes into the game, pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel (or perhaps more accurately, anti-apartheid) protesters made their presence known. A group gathered in lower-level center-court seats and waved signs, while protestors in the cheap seats unfurled banners that hung down from the upper level. 

The protesters created quite a scene. Some fans yelled "Go home, Nazis!" and called for their removal, and indeed, arena security and Minneapolis police told them to put down their placards or be removed from the game. Today, a group representing the protesters is alleging that one observer who was monitoring the situation was assaulted while being ejected from the game and has sent along video footage to support the claim.

Here it is:

The man shown getting pushed around is local attorney Jordan Kushner, who was characterized by the Star Tribune in 2010 as "the go-to attorney for Twin Cities protest groups taking on the establishment." According to one of Kushner's colleagues, after the camera stopped rolling, he was ejected from the game, issued a citation, and told he'd be receiving a ticket in the mail.

A local group called Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign organized the T-Wolves game protest. On October 12, Break the Bonds, along with 100 organizations from around the world, sent a letter to each T-Wolves player asking them "to boycott the exhibition game against Maccabi-Haifa, the Israeli team that you are scheduled to play next Tuesday."

"Israel is committing grave human rights abuses involving an elaborate system of racial apartheid which discriminates against the native Palestinians in violation of international law," the letter continues. "Israel's abuses have been confirmed by the United Nations Security Council and the International Court of Justice."

Click to page two to read a press release distributed this morning by Minnesota Break the Bonds that discusses the incident.

A call to the Timberwolves seeking comment wasn't returned. We've also reached out to the MPD for their take on the incident, and will let you know what they have to say if and when they get back to us.



[Minneapolis] Following in the footsteps of the sports boycott of South Africa that contributed to the demise of apartheid, approximately 20 protesters advocating for human rights for Palestinians made their presence known at the Tuesday night Minnesota Timberwolves game against Maccabi-Haifa. Palestinian flags and banners calling for a boycott of Israeli apartheid were displayed and anti-apartheid chants were heard throughout the Target Center minutes into the game clearly catching the attention of the players.

As the banners were unfurled, Target Center security accompanied by Minneapolis Police began ejecting most of the protesters who were waving Palestinian flags and the anti-apartheid banners which were equivalent in size as those waved by pro-Israel counter-protesters, who were not ejected. An experienced legal observer and civil rights attorney who attempted to film the actions of a Target security guard was assaulted by a Target security supervisor, placed under arrest by an accompanying police officer and ejected with the promise of prosecution. Several persons were witness to the incident, which was also filmed by a protester.

The game was preceded by a letter to each of the Timberwolves players signed by over 100 worldwide human rights organizations requesting that the players boycott the exhibition game against the Israeli team. In addition, hundreds of individuals added their support to this letter through an online petition, tweeting, and Facebook. The organizations, which include church, veteran, women, student and lawyer groups, have all signed onto the Palestinian Civil Society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until Israel complies with international law and ends its human rights abuses against Palestinians.

According to the letter, the Israeli government sends cultural ambassadors, like the Maccabi-Haifa team, to Europe and the United States to present Israel as a "normal" society for the purpose of whitewashing its human rights and international law violations which include discriminatory laws and a system of apartheid.

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