DEARBORN, Mich. — A touring Israeli basketball team walked out on a game with the University of Michigan-Dearborn after objecting to a pro-Palestinian protest at court side.
"We came to play basketball, not argue politics," said Muli Katzurin, coach of the Hapoel Hagalil Haelion team.
The visitors led by 8 points Monday night when they stopped play as protesters waved Palestinian flags and chanted anti-Israeli slogans.
"We definitely made our point--they left," said Mike Awad, 22, a student of Palestinian descent who organized the protest by about 50 students and other residents of the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.
"This team represents the Israeli government, which is denying 1.5 million Palestinians in the occupied West Bank their human rights, their right to vote and freedom of expression," he said.
Monday's game against Michigan-Dearborn was the Israeli team's seventh and final game on a Midwest tour. The team was to leave for Israel today.
"There was no other alternative but to cancel the game," Katzurin said. "We couldn't concentrate on the game . . . and you never know what could happen."