*(Via MSNBC.com) – As Israel sends air and ground troops into Gaza in violation of international law, more people in the United States, from members of Congress to Jewish American organizations, are speaking out against it. Constituencies whom the Israeli state has traditionally looked to for support are in rebellion. Criticism is also coming from the world of sports.
Constituencies who the Israeli state has traditionally looked to for support are in rebellion.
If there has ever been a third rail at the intersection of sports and politics, it has been expressing any kind of solidarity with the Palestinian people that requires criticizing Israel.
In 2014, as Israeli forces bombarded Gaza in what was called Operation Protective Edge, NBA All-Star Dwight Howard tweeted, “#FreePalestine.” The outrage was so intense that he took the tweet down and tweeted: “Previous tweet was a mistake. I have never commented on international politics and never will.”
This silence is enforced by a bipartisan consensus that “Israel has the right to defend itself,” even when its military goes on offense, occupying neighborhoods and expelling their residents. Palestinians are never, in the eyes of the U.S., granted that same privilege of the “right to defense.” Fears of transgressing a political consensus and of being branded as antisemitic have bred quietude in the face of violence and occupation.
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This commentary by Dave Zirin continues at MSNBC.com.