Chris Hine
The Los Angeles Times
July 16, 2008 - 3:23pm

Like other NBA players, Jordan Farmar will head overseas this summer, only with a different mission -- to facilitate peace in the Middle East.

The Lakers' guard, who is Jewish, will travel to Israel to run basketball camps for Israeli and Palestinian children in association with the Peres Peace Center. The goal of the camps, which take place Aug. 4 to 11, is to bring Israeli and Palestinian children together through basketball and create a foundation for peaceful relations between them in years to come.

"If you can have a good time with someone you're supposed to be enemies with, and you guys can work together, things can be better for your future," Farmar said.

Farmar, who averaged 9.1 points and 2.7 assists in his second season with the Lakers, also participated in the NBA's fifth-annual "Play for Peace" clinic in 2006, a little more than a month after he was drafted out of UCLA.

"Sports can be a ground where everyone has fun and when you're out there having a good time; you don't really think about everything else that's going on," Farmar said.

The Peres Peace Center was founded by Israeli President Shimon Peres with the goal of fostering peace in the Middle East through social programs, cooperation and interaction between Israelis and Palestinians. Farmar said programs such as the camp are important for promoting peace, because the NBA is popular in both countries.

"For us to come, we're icons in both communities and we're taking time out to go out and show there's something important that needs to be changed," Farmar said.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017