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Palestinian football player defeats the ‘lies and smears’

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Aboushi
New York Jets draft pick Oday Aboushi (Photo: AP/Steve Helber)

A right-wing smear campaign targeting a National Football League player rose and crashed this week. At the center of it is Oday Aboushi, a Palestinian-American Muslim draft pick for the New York Jets, who appears for now to have come out of the smearing proudly.

“It is upsetting to see people try and tarnish my reputation without even knowing me,” Aboushi said yesterday 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.”

The smear began at Frontpage Magazine, a website started by rightwing Islamophobe David Horowitz. On Tuesday it published a story painting the lineman as a Muslim extremist and anti-Semite and headlined, “NY Jets Player Speaks at Extreme Anti-Israel Conference.” The story sought to support its claims by linking to an Aboushi tweet, in which he praised Islamic Relief USA for helping Palestinian refugees, and another 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.

Writer Joe Kaufman, who has advocated using a nuclear bomb on Middle Eastern countries, alleged that the UK-based Islamic Relief is “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.” While it’s true the Israeli government accused the British group Islamic Relief of being associated with Hamas–hardly a conclusive or persuasive claim–Islamic Relief USA is not the same as the British organization. It’s an “affiliate” of the British group, and there is no proof of any Al Qaeda links. Islamic Relief USA has worked with the U.S. government and boasts of corporate sponsors like JP Morgan Chase–not the usual relationships for a terror group.

No matter. The lie was on its way, and bounced from FrontPage to Yahoo Sports. As Greg Howard at Deadspin explained:

Adam Waksman… part of Yahoo’s contributor network…. penned an article in which he came to the same conclusion as the FrontPage buffoons—that Aboushi “is a potential disaster that needs to be dealt with before it becomes anything real.” The link doesn’t work, because the article was taken down.

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.

Once the inaccuracies in Kaufman’s piece were pointed out, Waksman took the piece down, or Yahoo Sports did.

But the ball kept rolling. JD Mael, said to be a new media coordinator for Major League Baseball, also got into it. On his twitter feed, he compared Aboushi to an accused murderer who formerly played for the New England Patriots–

“The @nyjets are a disgrace of an organization. The Patriots have Aaron Hernandez, the Jets have Oday Aboushi.”

Mael subsequently deleted and apologized for the tweet. By now the smear was beginning to hurt those who were promoting it. Even the Daily News headlined its story: “NY Jets’ Oday Aboushi unfairly compared to alleged murderer Aaron Hernandez by MLB.com employee on Twitter.”
 

When challenged by other Twitter users for this outrageous comparison, Mael promptly deactivated his entire Twitter account.

Reached by telephone at MLB.com’s corporate offices by The Electronic Intifada, Mael said, “I’m sorry I can’t help you right now,” and immediately hung up phone.

Meantime, our own Scott Roth engaged Waksman, who published the hit piece in Yahoo!:

Waksman responded:

The smearers are surely on the defensive. The latest example of how the smear campaign has fallen flat on its face is that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has now condemned the attacks against Aboushi.

“There’s a lot of exaggeration and hyperbole in all the talk about Jets lineman Oday Aboushi. Absolutely nothing in the public record suggests that Aboushi is anything other than a young American athlete who takes pride in his Palestinian heritage,” said ADL leader Abe Foxman in a statement. “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.”

The Sporting News also showed great sympathy to the athlete:

After three days of being thrust into an unwanted spotlight after three separate published attacks on his Palestinian ethnicity, Jets rookie offensive lineman Oday Aboushi defended himself against his critics Friday.

In an interview posted on the New York Post website Friday afternoon, Aboushi—a Palestinian-American born in Brooklyn and drafted out of Virginia in April—said: “My family‘s been just as shocked by the lies and smears as I’ve been … I don’t think I’m radical at all. I have never done any radical behavior. For the writer to come out and claim that just builds lies on top of the lies.”

We can only hope that the attacks will not deter Aboushi where it counts: in his effort to make the team. Happily, many Americans have glimpsed his valor and pride and have wished him well: 

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36 Responses

  1. just
    just
    July 13, 2013, 10:07 am

    May peace, health and success be yours Oday Aboushi! Once again, the American/Israeli bigoted corporate disconnect from reality and truth is fully exposed. It’s becoming more difficult to hide, thank goodness. All the best to you and yours.

    (It’s good that Foxman and the ADL have spoken out, but they still have a journey to be made for them to be fully honest wrt to Palestinians, Israelis and Muslims in general– some more introspection is on the menu, imho).

  2. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    July 13, 2013, 10:11 am

    Abe Foxman in a statement. “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.”

    That last sentence stood out for me. Exactly what is this line of which Foxy speaks? I think he’s hedging his bets.

  3. annie
    annie
    July 13, 2013, 11:29 am

    Once the inaccuracies in Kaufman’s piece were pointed out, Waksman took the piece down, or Yahoo Sports did.

    i’m pretty sure it was yahoo. i was alerted to these tweets about 4-5 hrs after it erupted and i went to waksman’s twitter feed. there were still 2 tweets there promoting his own article. when i clicked on it the article was dead. wakesman’s tweet, asked, paraphrasing “Could Oday Aboushi Jeopardize His NFL Career with antisemitism? ” to which i replied to his tweet https://twitter.com/anniefofani/status/355506935488978945

    Could #Waksman Jeopardize His Journalism Career with Racist hit pieces? @AdamWaksman @YahooSports_NFL http://www.thenation.com/blog/175216/slander-ny-jet-oday-aboushi#

    about an hr later wakesman had then deleted his own tweet. had he been the one to take down his own article one would imagine he would have deleted his tweets promoting the article at the same time. that did not happen.

    on another note, here’s a petition https://www.change.org/petitions/allan-selig-major-league-baseball-commissioner-dismiss-jonathan-mael requesting MLB Commissioner to dismiss Jonathan Mael. i know he apologized, and he probably realized he jeopardized his career. but still, he outed himself and his own racism. no one should be able to be a spokesperson for MLB after such a blatantly racist tweet. mael used to work for aipac. he was co president of of Yeshiva University Political Action Committee while in college http://blogs.yu.edu/news/2009/12/09/students-meet-with-lawmakers/
    which in itself shouldn’t be a disqualification for representing MBL, but now that he’s outed as a racist, i don’t think that’s something someone can cure in the course of a couple hrs when the tides have turned against you.

    • MRW
      MRW
      July 13, 2013, 4:21 pm

      Thanks for the link, annie. Everyone, sign the petition, and give a reason (there’s a slot for it).

  4. mijj
    mijj
    July 13, 2013, 11:31 am

    woah! .. wait a minute .. aren’t Palestinians semitic? What is it about the atrociously inaccurate term : “anti-semitic” : that makes it the preferred slur of smear happy people?

    • piotr
      piotr
      July 13, 2013, 2:18 pm

      I think that historically this was the case. I am somewhat familiar with anti-Semitic slogans of 1930ties, and one of them was roughly “Beduins to Palestine”. I would say that anti-Semitism is a bit like cancer, in the sense that the latter is a large family of quite distinct diseases.

      Quite importantly, the traditional (as opposed to “New”) anti-Semitism has almost no connection to the opposition to Israel. For example, many traditional anti-Semites believe that Jews cunningly control the world through domination of US politics, worldwide banking etc. so it is a necessary prudence to be nice to them and to Israel.

      • mijj
        mijj
        July 13, 2013, 2:36 pm

        the “anti-semitic” shield makes judaism a useful host for those with nefarious motives, doesn’t it. If some kind of dubious info or action is being exposed, then using this shield will deflect responsibility to the whole of judaism and be grounded by the holocaust privilege.

  5. seafoid
    seafoid
    July 13, 2013, 11:53 am

    The dehumanisation process in the territories can’t function properly if the Palestinians have role models that appeal to people in the west. Mohammed Assaf desn’t count because he sings in arabic. The success of people like Muhummad Ali helped to change white attitudes to black people in the US and Zionism is so afraid of a similar thing playing out in Erez Israel. Zionist thought control can only function properly ln Hebrew really.

    • just
      just
      July 13, 2013, 12:22 pm

      Exactly, seafoid. Exposure and education and yes, the fact that many amazing people of color all over the world have and still “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” helps a lot. They take horrible circumstances and turn them into beautiful songs, culture and thought. They and others are still discriminated against right here at home. How far we have to go yet remains to be seen, but it is worth traveling this road to justice. All humans are born with a thirst to be free and respected, to have food and clean water, to have unvanquishable hope for life.

      Internet media has changed things– mostly for the better, imho.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        July 13, 2013, 2:44 pm

        Listening to “if I had a hammer” this week. 1963 hit for Trini Lopez and written in 1949. Imagine if the bell of freedom and justice could ring in Israel. All over that sad land.

      • just
        just
        July 13, 2013, 3:21 pm

        We can hope and join the struggle. We cannot become dispirited or disillusioned while lives need our help. I’m an old folk music person– those songs are prayers for peace and justice and truth!

        All over all of our lands.

  6. Philip Munger
    Philip Munger
    July 13, 2013, 1:00 pm

    I don’t follow athletes on twitter, but Oday Aboushi joins Chris Kluwe on the short list of athletes I follow. I just tweeted to him:

    Philip Munger ‏@PhilipMunger

    @Oday_Aboushi75 Keep showing the courage and character you have brought to the fore this week. Palestine’s heart beats proudly.

    He is getting a lot of support tweets, and has responded to some of them.

  7. chris o
    chris o
    July 13, 2013, 1:08 pm

    The NY Times Headline (national edition) from 7/13 says it all: “Jet Faces Aspersions for Being Palestinian.”

  8. NoMoreIsrael
    NoMoreIsrael
    July 13, 2013, 1:10 pm

    The fact of the matter is, people like Aboushi are a far greater threat to Israel than any terrorist could ever hope to be. Once Americans recognize Palestinians as people—much like themselves, they begin to care about them and empathize with their plight. They begin to question what is being done to these people in our name. That’s the beginning of the end for Israel and they know it. Their very existence is predicated on a denial of the fundamental humanity of Arabs. Once they lose that, they’ve lost everything.

    The facade Israel has worked so hard to maintain is beginning to crack. And they are understandably panic-stricken about it. Hence the desperate attacks we see, the attempts to place Aboushi in the familiar “terrorist” pigeon hole they have constructed.

  9. American
    American
    July 13, 2013, 2:17 pm

    Mael should be fired.
    After all the character attacks the zios have made on people it’s past time for them to get some payback.
    Glad to see all the support Aboushi is getting..hopefully more people are getting fed up with this Muslim and Palestine bashing by the Isr crowd.

    • NoMoreIsrael
      NoMoreIsrael
      July 13, 2013, 3:05 pm

      The problem is, the entire state of Israel is an anti-Arab hate organization, overseen until recently by a sexual predator, now serving prison time for multiple rape. Until Israel is understood as a mental disorder and listed in the DSM IV, we will make little headway. First things first, they should be completely disconnected from the internet, as this is how the Israeli contagion spreads.

      • Obsidian
        Obsidian
        July 14, 2013, 9:43 am

        @NoMo

        ” First things first, they should be completely disconnected from the internet, as this is how the Israeli contagion spreads”

        You’ll have to pry my laptop from my cold, dead fingers!

  10. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    July 13, 2013, 3:39 pm

    Q: The latest example of how the smear campaign has fallen flat on its face is that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has now condemned the attacks against Aboushi.

    R: Let’s just call it what it is – damage control.

  11. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    July 13, 2013, 5:41 pm

    RE: “A right-wing smear campaign targeting a National Football League player rose and crashed this week. At the center of it is Oday Aboushi, a Palestinian-American Muslim draft pick for the New York Jets . . .” ~ Kane & Weiss

    MEANWHILE, BACK IN ISRAEL – “Suspicion and Hate: Racist Attacks On Arabs Increase in Israel”, By Julia Amalia Heyer, Spiegel Online, 6/05/13

    [EXCERPT] . . . Football fan Asi, 23, says that he isn’t a racist, just a nationalist. “I have no problem with Arabs, as long as they raise the Israeli flag and sing along when our national anthem is played.” Lieberman used the same logic to justify a bill he introduced calling for new citizens to deliver an oath of allegiance.
    Asi, who lives in a small village [in Israel] near Caesarea, supports the Beitar Jerusalem football club. On a Thursday evening, he and other Beitar fans are standing at an intersection in Herzliya. Asi has a friendly face and a neatly trimmed beard. Like his fellow fans, he is here to demonstrate against the club’s owner.
    When it was revealed in January that the Club planned to sign two Muslim Chechen players, the stands in the stadium became filled with hateful signs, with words like “Beitar — Pure Forever.” The fans chanted: “We are chosen, we are holy, but the Arabs are not.”
    Beitar Jerusalem, says Asi, that’s the holy menorah on a yellow background. The team, he says, can only win as a Jewish team, which is why Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to play in the club.
    Beitar’s management has since cancelled the contracts with the Chechens and sent the two men back home. There were simply too many problems [most especially, Israeli racism – J.L.D.], the club wrote in a statement.

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/racist-attacks-against-arabs-increase-in-israel-a-903529.html

  12. talknic
    talknic
    July 13, 2013, 8:03 pm

    OMG!!! In twelve simple easy to understand words Abe babe has destroyed forever one of the most essential mantras in the wholly holey olde Hasbara book of bullsh*t!!

    Any bets on any of the following:
    Abraham H. Foxman was mis-quoted
    Abraham H. Foxman was mis-translated (from English into English)
    Possible alternatives:
    Abraham H. Foxman is an Antisemite
    Abraham H. Foxman is a terrorist supporter
    Abraham H. Foxman wants to see Israel wiped off the map

    Cut and paste for future use folks

    “Being pro-Palestinian does not mean you’re an anti-Semite or an extremist” ADL National Director, Abraham H. Foxman http://www.adl.org/press-center/press-releases/miscellaneous/adl-deplores-attacks-on-ny-jets-oday-aboushi-accusing-him-of-being-muslim-extremist.html

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      July 14, 2013, 12:20 pm

      That does not sound like Foxman. Must be a fraud.

    • eljay
      eljay
      July 15, 2013, 10:50 am

      >> “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.”

      1. Why does Mr. Foxman hate Jews so much?! :-(
      2. Who keeps the official record?
      3. What are – and who determined – the qualifications for official record-keeper?

  13. Yasmeen
    Yasmeen
    July 13, 2013, 9:40 pm

    That front page article is disgraceful. They painted this young man as an America hating terrorist lover. The pic of a group of people stomping on the flag is a fake and so is the pole where it supposedly came from. David Horowitz and his gang are warning him of what’s to come if he engages in any more activism for Palestine. They link to the Jets so readers can complain. Well I complained alright . It’s nothing more than an attempt to ruin his career. So far it looks like it backfired.

  14. Cliff
    Cliff
    July 13, 2013, 11:03 pm

    Waksman crying to Deadspin:

    http://deadspin.com/dead-letters-this-is-truly-a-fucked-up-career-path-yo-757305414

    From: Adam Waksman
    To: The Staff

    Hi,

    I am writing with regards to a recent Deadspin article, found here.

    This article explicitly refers to me as being a racist with no evidence, link or citation of any sort. The sentence fragment used to slander me is taken very badly out of context. The quote used is:

    “is a potential disaster that needs to be dealt with before it becomes anything real.”

    The subject of that sentence (from the original Yahoo Sports piece) was the media circus, i.e. that anything about this could be a media disaster, and I advocated that Aboushi and the Jets talk about this and refute everything before the media has time to run with it. My article defended Aboushi in multiple places, including pointing out errors in Kaufman’s original article.

    I am now being negatively affected by reactions to this Deadspin article. I am hoping you can help me out. I’d like to either have the article removed or at least have my name removed from it, since it constitutes slander. Ideally, I’d like some sort of apology to me to be published, but I don’t know if I can expect that. I would be very happy to meet with Greg Howard (the author) to work things out. I do not have a way to contact him directly, but I am assuming that since he and I do not know each other, this slander was accidental on his part, which is why I would be willing and happy to talk to him about it.

    Please let me know what the best course of action is.

    Thanks,
    Adam Waksman

  15. homingpigeon
    homingpigeon
    July 14, 2013, 3:01 am

    If a Palestinian village did not resist in ’48, it ran the risk of massacre at worst, or conquest without ethnic cleansing at best. If the people fought back, they were terrorists, and if they fled the onslaught it was proof they didn’t care for and thus didn’t deserve their homes and fields. But whatever, if we understand the Zionists, the bulk of non-Jews do not belong in Palestine and must leave. So this Aboushi family actually complies with the wishes of the Zionists and sadly departs the ancestral homeland. They become American. Their children become so American that one of them even plays football! And I don’t give a rat’s ass about football – thus falling very short on being American. Oday is more American than me and my patrilineal honkie ancestor came over in 1631! But still, that is not enough. Besides completely vacating Palestine and becoming American what penance is expected of the Palestinian just for existing?

    • just
      just
      July 14, 2013, 5:04 am

      What incredible insight and humility! Your comment is distinctly humane and very worthy of what Americans (and every citizen of the world) should aspire toward.

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976
      July 14, 2013, 7:56 am

      Don’t know if the moderators will stand for this, since it’s very off-topic. Just to say that I’m sorry not to have replied in time, HP, to your query about the Mesha Stela. As far as I can see all mainstream scholars accept it, though since it’s unprovenanced it would have great difficulty in getting published in mainstream journals now. But I am surprised that a story about a smashed stone, ‘restored’ with the aid of a torn papier mache impression, with everything blamed on stupid and greedy natives, is not questioned more rigorously. And would an inscription nearly 3,000 years old really just be lying there, still fairly legible, face up? Has anyone investigated why Mr. Klein, the ‘missionary’ and generally accepted discoverer, is not mentioned in all accounts – or looked to see if his name appears on the records of any of the missionary societies? Why was the reaction of the Christian representatives not to offer money to the Arabs to mark the site and to permit a proper investigation, at least to contemporary ‘Schliemann’ standards? There might have been (still be) an archive of documents from the 800s BCE, utterly invaluable as these would be to historical science.
      The counter-argument, I think, is that there was no model from which a forger could have constructed a language and script that was plausibly Moabite. So I’m not putting these questions forward with any confidence about the answer. But I do think that, despite (I admit) near-unanimous academic acceptance, it’s a dodgy story. You could very easily get credence for stories about incredibly stupid and greedy natives in the 1870s – we should be more sceptical now.

    • ritzl
      ritzl
      July 16, 2013, 5:03 pm

      Great comment, homingpigeon. Right and righteous!

  16. amigo
    amigo
    July 14, 2013, 8:25 am

    Rejoice—the Zonists are doing it again.

    Mouthing off when closed lips would serve them better.So let them bellow and whinge as it opens up the debate.Big tough football players will feel free to discuss P/I issues and bring same outside the locker rooms.

    This good for Palestine.

  17. Chu
    Chu
    July 16, 2013, 3:29 pm

    Good that Aboushi walks away clean, not becoming a target. I think the zio creeps are scared seeing the rise of Palestinian celebs around them. Arab Idol probably got them freaking out when the Palestinian won. This Jets linebacker was probably a tester case, small enough that no one knows him.

    • ritzl
      ritzl
      July 16, 2013, 5:02 pm

      @Chu
      …I think the zio creeps are scared seeing the rise of Palestinian celebs around them. Arab Idol probably got them freaking out when the Palestinian won. …

      You bet. Voice equals influence. They (zio creeps) screwed up making an issue of Oday. Especially in the sense that the current audience for the NFL knows full well the history of discrimination there. And the NFL knows full well that their audience knows that, and that they are fully dependent on that audience.

      They (zio creeps) can NOT win this argument. It’s a bubble argument posed from within the bubble, and without any apparent knowledge or consideration to what’s outside the bubble.

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