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Irish Sponsor Pulls Out of January 8th Basketball Exhibition Celebrating Kim Jong Un's Birthday

Irish Sponsor Pulls Out of January 8th Basketball Exhibition Celebrating Kim Jong Un's Birthday

December 23, 2013

SWC Urges Ex-NBA Players to Boycott Rodman's North Korean Dictator's Birthday Gig

As word came that the Irish company, Paddy Power, sponsoring Dennis Rodman's basketball exhibition with unnamed former NBA stars in Pyongyang on January 8th pulled out, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading human rights NGO, is urging all former NBA stars to stay away from North Korea.

"Everyone it seems, except Dennis Rodman, understands that this is not a game to promote peace, but an undeserved birthday gift to murderous tyrant who heads a regime with the worst human rights record on the planet," charged Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and long-time activist for human rights in North Korea.

"Playing a basketball game in Pyongyang before a handful of cronies of the youthful dictator gives Kim Jong Un an undeserved birthday present that enables Kim to change the narrative for the international media from focusing attention on his execution of his uncle, on North Korea's brutal gulag, and his nuclear missile threats against his neighbors."

"There may yet be a time and place for basketball diplomacy in North Korea, but now is neither the time and Kim's birthday party isn't the place for such a gesture. We hope ex-NBAers will do the right thing,” Cooper concluded.

For more information, contact the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter
, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).