Kyrie Irving Keffiyeh Covers His Empty Head
Famous for something to do with a ball and a basket – and hating Israel.
By Hugh Fitzgerald
Kyrie Irving is famous for something that has to do with a ball and a basket. He can dribble a ball, pass it to a teammate, throw it from an impressive distance into a basket above. For this skill, he infuriatingly makes forty million dollars a year. And he believes that his views on the world should be heard, and valued, by an audience impressed by his ability to dribble, to pass, to make that basket. He’s quite wrong. He is not capable of thought. He is adrift in a world whose complexity escapes him. He knows how to dribble, pass, and throw. That’s the limit of his universe.
But Irving is convinced that he has “thoughts.” And among those “thoughts” Kyrie Irving’s been thinking — he could be another Lincoln if he only had a brain — he knows that he doesn’t much care for the state of Israel. In fact, he doesn’t like the settler-colonial, apartheid, genocidal state at all. He’s stated that clearly, sometimes in propria persona, and at other times by retweeting the rabid anti-Israel sentiments of others. He did this in October 2022, when he recommended a film that contained “antisemitic narratives,” then took back his statement, which many had found to be antisemitic, but only after the league had suspended him for five games. Now he’s back at it, that same anti-Israel-grading-into-antisemitic-messaging, this time with a fashion statement that makes clear which side he is on in the war between Hamas, that wants to kill Jews, and Israel, which would really rather it didn’t. More on the comical empty head can be found here: “NBA Star Kyrie Irving Wears Palestinian Keffiyeh in Post-Game Press Conference,” by Shiryn Ghermezian, Algemeiner, November 20, 2023:
Professional basketball player Kyrie Irving, who plays guard for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, appeared at his team’s post-game press conference on Saturday wearing a black and white keffiyeh, a traditional headscarf worn by Palestinians that has become known as a symbol of solidarity with the Palestinian resistance against Israel.
Every one knows what that keffiyeh signifies. It signifies that “from the river to the sea/Palestine will be free.” It means that Israel is a settler-colonial, apartheid state, committing genocide on the poor Palestinians.” It signifies that the one Jewish state must disappear, to be replaced by a twenty-third Arab state.
The Australian-American NBA player, who also has Native American roots, did not address the headwear as he spoke to reporters after his team’s 132-125 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. He also posted a photo on Instagram over the weekend of himself wearing the headscarf as he walked around the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, DC, and accepted a Palestinian flag as a gift from a basketball fan at Saturday’s game.
He wants to make sure everyone sees him wearing that keffiyeh, gets that message, understands that Kyrie Irving is back to proclaiming his support of the Palestinians and his contempt for Israel.
Irving’s decision to wear a keffiyeh garnered significant attention on social media. Pro-Israel supporters lambasted the decision as “disgusting,” accusing him of antisemitism and calling him a “POS Jew hater.” Pro-Palestinian supporters, meanwhile, applauded him for wearing the keffiyeh “in solidarity with the Palestinians” amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip….
In October 2022, while playing for the Brooklyn Nets, Irving tweeted a link to a film that promoted antisemitic disinformation, including conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial. The Brooklyn Nets suspended him for five games when he did not immediately apologize — and even defended himself — for sharing the movie and failing to “disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so.”
The NBA star later apologized on Instagram for sharing details about a film that “contained some false antisemitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion.” He said he opposed all forms of hatred and would donate $500,000 toward organizations that combat hate. It was then reported in February that he deleted the Instagram apology.
When he deleted his obviously insincere apology, that he had begrudgingly and belatedly issued — it was not ungrammatical, so one of his PR flacks must have written it — only after he had been suspended for five days, he was making clear that the “real Kyrie Irving” was back, standing by his initial statement that landed him in hot water, in which he urged his followers to see a film that, as his first, apologetic pretend-disavowal put it, “contained some false antisemitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion.” Either he no longer thinks that that film “contained some false antisemitic statements,” etc., because he again believes them to be true, or he doesn’t care at this point about truth or falsehood — he is not at all bothered by antisemitic narratives, he likes them, he agrees with them. Which is it? I think it’s the latter. Irving made his little insincere apology to tamp down the contretemps, and then, once that PR crisis had passed, he waited a bit, and then, emboldened by the widespread criticism of Israel because of its invasion of Gaza, has resumed his mendacious slander of the Jewish state.
As for that $500,000 he promised in October 2022 to donate to organizations that “combat hate,” I have heard nothing more about it. I assume he never will fulfill that promise. He certainly won’t be donating anything to groups combatting antisemitism. Perhaps he’ll give that cool half-million to CAIR, or Students for Justice in Palestine, or the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in Israel, Irving has shared pro-Palestinian messages on social media. The athlete — who likes to go by his Native American name “Hélà” online — has more than once reposted tweets about genocide and “crimes of the empire,” seemingly referring to Israel, by an account on X/Twitter called “End All Colonialism, Free Palestine.” He also shared messages about the US funding Israel’s alleged “genocidal massacre” in the Gaza Strip….
What about the grand panjandrums of the National Basketball Association trying once again to rein in this antisemite? Suspend him for ten or twenty games, and see if that results in Irving’s having a sudden change of heart, and he will promise that he really means it this time, and you won’t hear an antisemitic peep out of him. No more messages about Israeli “genocide” will be retweeted. There’s no point in addressing him as a moral being capable of thought. He is neither. But he would hate to be suspended for all those games, and the loss of income such a suspension would mean.
For now, Kyrie Irving is “standing by the oppressed.” By that he means Hamas, which was so oppressed by Israel that its operatives simply had to behead babies, burn children alive, rape and torture young girls, gouge out eyes, slice off breasts, and cut off the genitalia from Israelis, both before and after death.
Actually, at this point no one should bother trying to extract from Kyrie Irving another false apology. What’s the point? We all know it would not mean anything. The only thing to do with Kyrie Irving is to punish him, by suspending him for.a good long time, no matter what sudden change of heart he pretends to have experienced. What about for a whole season? What about for life?