oday-aboushi

JETS OL ODAY ABOUSHI DEFENDS HIMSELF AGAINST EXTREMIST CLAIMS - New York Jets rookie offensive lineman Oday Aboushi, is one of the few Palestinian-Americans to play in the NFL, and on Friday Aboushi defended himself against a website’s article that called him a “Muslim extremist.”

Aboushi was angered by the story, published Tuesday by FrontPage Magazine, as well other comments in response to the piece.

“It is upsetting to see people try and tarnish my reputation without even knowing me,” he said in a statement issued by the team. “But I appreciate all the support I have been getting from people of all backgrounds across the city and country.”

Aboushi was born in Brooklyn and now lives in Staten Island. He was drafted of Virginia in the fifth-round by the Jets. He is one of just a small handful of Palestinian-American players to enter the NFL, including former linebacker Tarek Saleh, former quarterback Gibran Hamdan, and former defensive lineman Nader Abdallah.

The story by FrontPage Magazine said Aboushi’s “latest infraction” came last month when he was in Virginia and “gave a speech at a radical Muslim conference sponsored by a group denying Israel’s right to exist and associated with blatantly anti-Semitic and terrorist propaganda.”

The Anti-Defamation issued a statement in Aboushi’s defense, saying “there’s a lot of exaggeration and hyperbole in all the talk about” the player.

“Absolutely nothing in the public record suggests Aboushi is anything other than a young American athlete who takes pride in his Palestinian heritage,” ADL director Abraham H. Foxman said. “His participation in a conference organized by the El-Bireh Society, a Palestinian community organization that was until recently defunct, should not be used to tar him as an extremist.”

Foxman added that being pro-Palestinian “does not mean you’re an anti-Semite or an extremist. The record simply does not show that Aboushi has crossed that line.”

In an interview with the Associated Press in May, Aboushi said being a Palestinian-American in the NFL was an honor and added that being able to break that mold and sort of open the door for other people and show them that it is possible, it’s a great feeling.“

The Jets, addressed the situation in a statement, saying they "strongly believe in diversity, inclusion and tolerance of others.” (Photo: Steve Helber/Associated Press)

Submitted by Keith Clay

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MLB’s new media coordinator compared an Muslim NFL rookie to a murder suspect, just because he’s of Palestinian heritage

In what might be one of the more ugh-worthy stories of the week, Jonathan Mael, an employee of Major League Baseball in charge of the league’s new media program, compared Oday Aboushi, a recently-drafted New York Jets player whose parents are Palestinian and who is a Muslim, to Aaron Hernandez, the New England Patriots tight end who was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd. (It’s only one in a series of controversial racially-tinged attacks on Aboushi, the recent subject of an attack piece on Freedom Center, a site owned by noted anti-Muslim critic David Horowitz.) When Mael’s tweet was noticed by the public, a number of critics spoke up, notably at The Nation, The Electronic Intifada and The Daily Beast. Mael is a former intern for AIPAC, a lobbying group that supports pro-Israel policies; he apologized for his comment a short while ago, but it’s unclear if he will face further discipline.

Palestinian-Americans are split on a fundamental American issue: football. Many of those from my father’s generation of immigrants are simply confused by the whole concept. They came from a land and time where “football” meant kicking a ball with your foot into a goal. Trying to divorce them from this word association is extremely difficult. The children of these immigrants, like me, who grew up in this country see football as the beautiful American tradition that it is. I have tried to explain to my father that a touchdown is basically a goal, and each team is trying to get more touchdowns than the other. I told him it is “soccer with helmets,” or “football with helmets,” if, to you, “football” actually means “soccer.”

But football is also a violent sport with fierce impacts, armor, and screaming. It brings men together in a passionate, non-sexual way. And it includes barely dressed women on the sidelines jumping up on down and sometimes even climbing on top of each other. Once my father learned these things, he became interested.

Oday Aboushi is a Palestinian-American. A few months ago, he was drafted by the New York Jets to play professional American football. I am sure this was a dream come true for him. Of course, we Palestinians all immediately heard the news. We were proud. We didn’t know him, but we were proud.

Then last week, Yahoo! Sports published an article by Adam Waksman accusing Oday of “anti-Semitic activism.” At just about the same time, an employee of Major League Baseball, Jonathan Mael tweeted, “The @nyjets are a disgrace of an organization. The Patriots have Aaron Hernandez, the Jets have Oday Aboushi.” Of course, Aaron Hernandez was a star NFL tight end who has been arrested for murder. Oday is just a Palestinian.

Adjacent to Ramallah lies the city of El-Bireh in Palestine. Thousands of El-Bireh’s descendants live in America. A couple weeks ago, they held a convention in a hotel outside of Washington, DC. It is a sort of big family reunion. And I really mean that. When cousins start marrying each other, family reunions need to be held in a hotel. A big hotel. But on the bright side, Ancestry.com loves Palestinian customers. Coming up with their report takes like five minutes. “Dear customer, your father is your mother’s cousin. Your grandfathers are brothers, which also means they are each your great uncle. Your father is your father, but he is also your first cousin removed. Same goes for your mother. Your brothers and sisters are also each your second cousin. And you are also, in fact, your own cousin. Enjoy the rest of your day.”

Oday Aboushi attended this convention as an invited guest. Waksman used his attendance as evidence of Oday’s anti-Semitism. Oday was not quoted and none of his actions were detailed. He was just there… at a big family reunion. See, to supporters of Israel like Mael and Waksman, and to many Jews unfortunately, Palestinians are by default anti-Semitic. But labeling us all as anti-Semitic has a few problems. First, it’s not true. I can easily prove that I’m not anti-Semitic. I love bagels, cheesecake, and Seinfeld. And Jews invented the weekend, so those are my kind of people.

But using the “anti-Semitic” label so freely also does something else. It kills the conversation. Once someone is called a vicious racist, his opinion is less worthy. And so is his existence. And for Palestinians, we cannot end the conversation. We need to tell our story. So maybe those calling us “anti-Semitic” know exactly what they’re doing.

Now I wouldn’t mind being labeled, if only it were done accurately. Palestinian-Americans are some of the most successful and most educated citizens living in this country. We always do extremely well in whatever we path we choose. Now, that might be because we don’t have a country to go back to, but whatever. So none of us were surprised that Oday made all the way to the NFL. We expect excellence. Plus, for his own sake, he had to succeed. I don’t even want to imagine what his mom would have done if he didn’t get drafted.

Being Palestinian follows us wherever we go and whatever we do. Oday is now in the limelight. He will be seen as suspect. Fans will hold up signs. His existence will be highly politicized. Everything he does, good or bad, will have a lot of gravity to it. For every person praising him, there will be another expressing outrage. He is a Palestinian, and so he will be seen as some sort of threat to the working order of things. And whether he likes it or not, his entry into the NFL will mean more than just football. He is not a football player. He is a Palestinian football player.

Being Palestinian is relentless. Racism and media misrepresentation are things we are used to. There are no breaks. And just when it looks like everything’s OK, someone calls us “barbaric,” “resentful,” “hateful,” or invented. Our relatives who live in Palestine have to deal with daily killing and humiliation. Those of us who live everywhere else have to explain it.

Basically, Palestinians spend most of our time trying to explain to everyone that we are, in fact, human beings.

But don’t feel bad for us. When we meet each other, we get excited. We share stories. We laugh and cry at the same things. When we say goodbye, we can’t wait to see each other again. We have a connection to one another that no one else could ever understand.

And so Oday, when you were drafted, we were all drafted. And while my dad might not really understand football, he understands that.

New York Jets fifth-round draft pick Oday Aboushi, the 22-year-old offensive lineman from the University of Virginia, is a physical freak. He’s 6-foot-6 and weighs over 300 pounds, which is one of the main reasons why he’s in the NFL. He’s also a Palestinian Muslim, which is why the worst of us—the idiots, the trolls, the bigots—want him out.

Frontpage Magazine, a website started by David Horowitz, one of the nation’s foremost Islamophobic clowns, were first to alert Americans to Aboushi’s presence in the NFL when theypublished a story Tuesday painting the lineman as a Muslim extremist and anti-Semite. They supported their claim by linking to an Aboushi tweet, in which he shared a photo of an 88-year-old, Palestinian woman standing outside of her house in Jerusalem after being evicted to make room for Orthodox Jews.

That’s tragic. I think that’s tragic, at least, and some of you may, too. That doesn’t make us anti-Semites or terrorists of course, but most of us aren’t Muslim.

As Dave Zirin of The Nation points out, Aboushi was never quoted in the Yahoo piece. He was hardly even mentioned. Waksman used Aboushi as a stand-in for all potential Palestinians in the NFL. Waksman just rolled with FrontPage, because he didn’t know enough, or didn’t care enough, and was too lazy to report for himself. He didn’t pick up the phone and give Aboushi a call. In his mind, there is no doubt: Aboushi is a Muslim, and is therefore is taking taking part in “anti-Semitic activism.” In his mind, Aboushi is a Muslim, and already a criminal.

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And sometimes, guys like Oday Aboushi, a Brooklyn-born Palestinian-American who beat all the odds and was rewarded by being drafted by his hometown team, has to suffer the consequences. He’ll have to his entire career. Because the scariest, saddest, and most tragic thing about all of this is that someone who read FrontPage’s article, or shared Yahoo’s article, or stumbled upon Mael’s tweet will sit back, think for a second, and say, “He’s got a point.”

Yahoo! Sports writer Adam Waksman is painting the Jets player is a “terrorist” because he supports Palestinian causes.

July 24, 2013

A STUNNING tweet came across the wires from Major League Baseball’s recently hired “new media coordinator” Jonathan Mael. It reads, “The @nyjets are a disgrace of an organization. The Patriots have Aaron Hernandez, the Jets have Oday Aboushi.” (Mael has since deleted his account, making him a rather ineffectual “new media coordinator.”)

Columnist: Dave Zirin

Aaron Hernandez is, of course, the former star tight end now on trial for premeditated murder. So who is Oday Aboushi? He’s a Brooklyn-born fifth-round rookie lineman from the University of Virginia. His crime, in the eyes of Mael, is being of Palestinian heritage as well as having the temerity to discuss what a life of dispossession this has meant to him and his extended family.

This ugly line of thought exists on a plane beyond tweets. In a stunningly unprincipled piece on Yahoo! Sports, a writer named Adam Waksman wrote last week that Aboushi was involved in “anti-Semitic activism” and asked whether he should be drummed out of the league. Waksman compared Aboushi with those who traffic in “anti-gay, anti-black, anti-immigrant, sexist [speech]” and asks, “Does the NFL want its image associated with prejudice, violence or fundamentalism on any level?”

Aboushi is not quoted once in this entire piece. He is just Waksman’s silent, hulking brown mannequin. Instead, the main source Waksman draws upon for proof of his “anti-Semitic activism” is Front Page Magazine. For the uninitiated, this is the creation of David Horowitz, the hard-right-wing minstrel best known for taking out ads in college newspapers arguing that people of African descent should thank Europeans for slavery.

Front Pge–which bills itself as “fighting the war at home and abroad”–is a one-stop shop for anyone seeking articles cheering on George Zimmerman or catching up on the most frightening anti-Arab rhetoric in Israeli politics. Quoting it for source material on Palestinian activism is like choosing to learn about the environmental rights movement by reading an Exxon/Mobil newsletter.

Front Page says that Aboushi’s “crime” was speaking at the annual convention of the El-Bireh Palestine Society. Waksman quotes Front Page as describing their convention as “a conference run by an organization which denies Israel’s existence and associates with those involved in violence against her citizens.”

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Palestinian NFL Player Oday Aboushi Under Attack

A stunning tweet just came across the wires from Major League Baseball’s recently hired “new media coordinator” Jonathan Mael. It reads, “The @nyjets are a disgrace of an organization. The Patriots have Aaron Hernandez, the Jets have Oday Aboushi.” (Mael has since deleted his account, making him a rather ineffectual “new media coordinator”.)

Aaron Hernandez is, of course, the former star tight end now on trial for premeditated murder. So who is Oday Aboushi? He’s a Brooklyn-born fifth-round rookie lineman from the University of Virginia. His crime, in the eyes of Mael, is being of Palestinian heritage as well as having the temerity to discuss what a life of dispossession this has meant to him and his extended family.

NY Jets Player Speaks at Extreme Anti-Israel Conference
Oday Aboushi has been touted as being the first Palestinian-American player in the National Football League (NFL), but his radical behavior since being drafted by the New York Jets less than three months ago could get him sent home early. His latest infraction was made as he gave a speech at a radical Muslim conference sponsored by a group denying Israel’s right to exist and associated with blatantly anti-Semitic and terrorist propaganda. When the New York Jets chose Offensive Lineman Oday Aboushi in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL draft, they did so because of Aboushi’s athletic skills. It seems, though, that his personal life was not a consideration, at least not enough to stop the team from picking him. Problems in the NFL usually revolve around drugs or alcohol abuse or players being bad influences in the locker rooms. Aboushi’s problem is an unusual one for pro sports. He’s a Muslim extremist. In January, Aboushi posted a photo to his personal Twitter page depicting an old woman looking down while three clearly Orthodox Jews converse with one another in the background. The photo, which is attributed to the anti-Israel publication Middle East Monitor (MEM), was part of a large-scale smear campaign against the Jewish state. The caption over Aboushi’s tweet reads, “88 year-old Palestinian evicted from home in Jerusalem by Israel authorities to make room 4 Orthodox Jews.” Aboushi might have gotten the idea to post the propaganda from his relative, Fatina Abuzahrieh, who also grew up in and resides in New York City. In November of last year, Abuzahrieh posted on her Facebook page a shockingly anti-Semitic cartoon portraying an evil looking Orthodox Jew with a huge smile on his face, wearing an Israeli flag across his chest, and an old Palestinian woman looking down, crying, claiming to be “thrown out” of her “own home.”   From there, Aboushi’s conduct has continued to get more extreme.   On April 19th, just one week prior to the draft, Aboushi praised a conference sponsored by Islamic Relief (IR), a charity that the Israeli government has labeled a front for Hamas and that has been cited for both receiving and giving huge sums of money to al-Qaeda related groups. Only weeks after the draft, Aboushi tweeted the following: “65th anniversary of the Nakba and palestinians all across the world are still thriving.” For persons unaware of the term “Nakba,” the statement might seem innocuous, but for those who care about Israel, the term is a very dangerous and provocative one. The Nakba or Catastrophe is a derogatory reference to Israel’s May 1948 founding as an independent Jewish state. It is used to spread enmity against Israel and to fuel terrorist attacks from groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Lest anyone believe this was an honest misunderstanding on Aboushi’s part, Aboushi solidified his extreme anti-Israelism late last month when he was a featured speaker at a conference run by an organization which denies Israel’s existence and associates with those involved in violence against her citizens. According to the group sponsoring the event, “El-Bireh Palestine Society was founded to perpetuate the strong ties among its members and to link their communities around the world together and with their ancestral roots in El-Bireh, Palestine.” One of the ways the group accomplishes this is by holding annual conferences. Speaking at the Society’s August 1986 Fifth National Convention held in Dearborn, Michigan was Fouad Rafeedie. Two years later, the INS charged Rafeedie with being a high-ranking member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist group. The PFLP is currently named as such on the U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Also speaking was Osama Siblani, the publisher of Arab American News (Sada al-Watan) and a public supporter of Hezbollah and Hamas. The three-day El-Bireh Convention 2013 (“Connect 2013″) began this past June 28thin Arlington, Virginia. Featured as a speaker at the event was Oday Aboushi. Also participating in the conference was Nitham Hasan, the President of the Islamic Center of South Florida (ICOSF). ICOSF’s mosque property is owned by the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), a group named by the U.S. Justice Department as being a party to the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas. El-Bireh Palestine Society’s logo, found atop the organization’s website, contains a graphic of the entire nation of Israel covered in a Palestinian flag – a patent denial of Israel’s legitimacy and right to exist. Like Aboushi’s Nakba, images such as this fuel terrorism and hate abroad and potentially here at home as well. Worse still, the Facebook page for the conference – which is administered by the same individual who created the Society’s website, Ashraf Abed – is accompanied by horrifically anti-Semitic, anti-Christian and terrorist propaganda. On the same El-Bireh Facebook site as the conference, there are contained different images of Hitler and rabid anti-Christian cleric Ahmed Deedat, who authored the infamous work CRUCIFIXION OR CRUCI-FICTION? There are terrorist memorials for Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, PLO leader Yasser Arafat, Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin and Hamas bomb maker Yahya Ayyash. About Arafat and Yassin, the site states in Arabic, “The martyr leader Yasser Arafat with the Mujahid Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. G-d have mercy on them.” As well, there are a number of pictures of the imprisoned head of the PFLP, Ahmad Saadat, and a photo glorifying members of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) in the process of launching rockets into Israel. There is also a photo of Oday Aboushi’s friend, Linda Sarsour, the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY), and a picture of four individuals stomping on an American flag, which they pulled down from atop a sign. Following the conference, Aboushi tweeted, “Al bireh convention was a pleasure. Proud Palestinians is always a good sight.” It is okay to be proud of one’s heritage. Few, if any, would disagree. But what is not okay is when the heritage that you are praising instills hatred and violence in its followers and threatens and brings terror to the lives of others. It is apparent that that is exactly what the organization Oday Aboushi spoke in front of believes.   What will the Jets do?   In a previous article, this author detailed the extremist ties and behavior of football player Oday Aboushi, which resulted in Aboushi removing material from his Facebook site. Yet, to this day, the New York Jets have ignored the actions of their Islamist draft pick, only to see his behavior get worse. So far, the team has appeared to put Aboushi’s athletic ability over his ties to Muslim fanaticism. This author, however, believes that the Jets have much more to worry about than whether or not Aboushi can create holes in the opposing team’s defense or if he can provide protection for the quarterback. Given the actions he continues to engage in and the dangerous persons and groups he chooses to surround himself with, the Jets must change the game plan they originally had when they took Oday Aboushi in the 2013 NFL Draft and release this player. In the end, those individuals Aboushi truly wishes to protect may very well be the ones we have to worry about the most.