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New York Jets’ Oday Aboushi Faces anti-Palestinian Smears

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 15 North Carolina at Virginia

One really hopes that both Jonathan Mael of and Adam Waksman are severely disciplined for their outrageous anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian prejudice. Relying on FrontPageMag, a well known racist and Islamophobic site for news should be grounds for dismissal.

By Ali Abunimah (Electronic Intifada)

Football player Oday Aboushi, recently drafted to the New York Jets NFL team, is the target of an escalating media smear campaign to associate him with terrorism and extremism, apparently for no other reason than his Palestinian ancestry.

Aboushi compared to accused murderer

In the most recent smear, Jonathan Mael, the new media coordinator for, the official website of Major League Baseball, tweeted that the New York Jets “are a disgrace. The Patriots have Aaron Hernandez, the Jets have Oday Aboushi.”

Hernandez, who formerly played for the NFL’s New England Patriots, is currently facing trial on murder charges.

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

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

According to his LinkedIn profile, Mael was a “Community Relations Intern” at the Israel lobby group AIPAC in 2010.

A rare Palestinian American in the NFL and a role model

Aboushi, a native of Brooklyn, New York, was a well-respected and recognized player during his college career at the University of Virginia, from which he graduated this year.

The Jets signed the 6 foot 6 inches, 308-pound Aboushi in May on a four-year contract.

Aboushi also drew attention for being a rare Arab American player in the NFL, and a community role model.

“You don’t see many of us in the sport,” Aboushi told the Associated Press at the time. “So for me to kind of break that mold and sort of open the door for other people, and show them that it is possible, it’s a great feeling. It’s a pleasure for me, an honor, and I’m happy to be able to be that sort of person for people.”

He also spoke to HuffPost Live’s Ahmed Shihab-Eldin:

Smears started by racist, Islamophobic website

The smears against Aboushi appear to originate in a 9 July article on FrontPageMag, a website published by notorious anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian agitator David Horowitz, who is also a key figure in the Islamphobia industry.

The article, by Joe Kaufman, claims that Aboushi “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.”

What was this supposedly radical conference? It was the El-Bireh Convention, an annual community gathering of Palestinian Americans, especially people with connections to the town of the same name, near Ramallah.

In typical smear tactic fashion, Kaufman makes a laundry list of other speakers at the conference, alleges various nefarious ties to them, and then hopes that these outlandish accusations will rub off on Aboushi – guilt by association.

Accused of using the word “Nakba”

Even FrontPageMag’s Kaufman could not find any inflammatory words to attribute to Aboushi, but expressed outrage that Aboushi tweeted on 15 May, “65th anniversary of the Nakba and palestinians all across the world are still thriving. #perseverance.”

Kaufman claims, “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.” In fact, “Nakba” is the term Palestinians, mainstream media and even Israeli organizations like Zochrot use to describe the systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestinians that began in 1947. As Zionist militias invaded their lands to create Israel, 750,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled from 500 cities, towns and villages in historic Palestine. For Kaufman, however, Aboushi’s acknowledgment of Palestinian and Israeli history and praise of Palestinians’ perseverance amounted to a call for “terrorism.”

Smear spreads to Yahoo! News

The scurrilous smears against Aboushi have now spread to Yahoo! News, where Adam Waksman wrote a column, linking back to Kaufman, headlined: “Could Oday Aboushi Jeopardize His NFL Career with Anti-Israel Activism?” With nothing to go on other than the outlandish smears from FrontPageMag, Waksman alleges that Aboushi “has been accused of playing an increasing role in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activism.”

Silencing and smearing Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians

It is clear that Aboushi has done absolutely nothing to deserve these smears and that they are aimed at him because he is publicly identified as Palestinian American and participates in his community’s activities. Aboushi’s high profile and recognition as a positive role model may also be threatening to hate groups invested in ensuring that Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims are always perceived in a negative light. Aboushi himself has not commented on the attacks directly, but retweeted this message of support from another person:

He also made this tweet that may be an indirect reference to the smear campaign:

Contacted by The Electronic Intifada, the New York Jets media office said it had not issued any statement about the matter.

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  • Just_Stopping_By

    ” I never made any claim that others don’t try to define Zionism differently,…” I use the commonly accepted definition. You use your own definition in which members of the group that refers to itself as “Jews Against Zionism” are Zionists and those commonly known as “Christian Zionists” are not. That, as far as I am concerned, ends an ability to have a thoughtful discussion with you on this topic in which anyone can understand what you mean. You waste my time.

    You say earlier, “you’re wasting my time.” Tanveer and I were having a conversation that we both thought was productive. Then you joined in for what you apparently now feel is a waste of your time. I suggest that in the future, you be logical and not waste your time by addressing me on this topic.

  • SarahAB

    I am a Zionist by some definitions, although to say so might give the wrong impression in a US context, because the whole centre of gravity is so much more pro-Israel than in the UK. I read this first on the IF (I have been having problems accessing LW, now apparently resolved, so didn’t notice your coverage till just now). I retweeted this

    because I thought the criticism of Aboushi seemed very unfair and I was pleased to see the ADL come out in support. For example, I saw nothing sinister or in any way remarkable about his reference to the Nakba – it’s certainly a word I have used myself whereas the smearing article says it is always used by enemies of Israel. So – I don’t think it is enough to say ‘Zionist’ rather than ‘Jew’ (and I’m not Jewish), because there is a spectrum of Zionist opinion.

  • Just_Stopping_By

    Thanks, Jon.

    I assumed that’s what you meant but that it did not come out clearly before. You did not seem like the type to attribute the worst attitudes or actions of members of a group to all its members, so I’m glad your position is now clear to all.

  • Jon Diamond

    You are correct I should clarify that.

    I certainly cannot hold the entire Jewish population responsible for what three people did. That would be ridiculous on my part. I definitely did not mean to give that impression.

    There are Jewish people speaking out against Kaufman, Mael, and Waksman as we speak. I saw Mael’s twitter account before he privatized it, and there were many Jews giving him a piece of their mind.

    This is also true on Ben Shpigel’s twitter account as well. Also, in the story he wrote, he has gotten his from his community. His weak attempt to cover for these Loons has hurt his credibility.

  • Just_Stopping_By

    I take it you still have not invested in a dictionary yet, as I previously recommended. Please do so – you’re wasting my time.

    Hey, if we just change the pronoun references, we agree on this!

    I guess we should stop wasting each others’ time. I think you have misrepresented me and vice versa.

    And, when you get the dictionary, you can perhaps come up with some definition of Zionism that lets you count Neturei Karta, which calls itself “Jews Against Zionism” as Zionists (as you claimed before) but not count Christian Zionists of the early 19th Century as Zionists for the purposes of your discussions (as you now claim).

    To be clear, they both believe in the traditional Jewish way of defining who is a Jew (descent and conversion), so that does not distinguish them. If anything, the 19th Century Christian Zionists were in favor of actual policies to establish a Jewish homeland, while Neturei Karta are not. Given that, I really don’t understand your reasoning, and all I can say is that it is not worth the effort to debate you if you insist that “Jews Against Zionism” are Zionists and groups that everyone refers to as Christian Zionists are not Zionists.

    At best, you define Zionism not as everyone else defines it, but as those parts of either its ideology or history that you disagree with. Under that form of argument, everyone should be against every ideology so defined!

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    Didn’t even know about him, thanks Eslaporte.

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    Jon, all of the Jewish commenters on this page I am certain and they have mentioned it in their comments have shown they oppose the slandering of Aboushi. They are rightfully responding however to you calling this a “Jewish attack.” I don’t think this can or should be described that way.

    The fact that Kaufman, Mael, Waksman are Jewish does not entail this being a “Jewish attack.” I do not know the background of Waksman but Kaufman is definitely a racist psycho Islamophobe and extremist Zionist, Mael is a Zionist, he worked for AIPAC. Kaufman certainly traffics in the most outrageous and far-fetched lies and slanders about Muslims and it is shocking that Mael and Waksman perhaps due to a prejudiced attitude towards Palestinians and a fear of their and Muslims’ enfranchisement in general so easily ran with his story–that is extremely disturbing.

    As you can see however their attempt at slandering Aboushi magnificently backfired.

    Many Jews such as Max Blumenthal and others have also spoken out against this and so I would caution you once again not to generalize.

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    Jon, you make some valid points here but why is it really so hard for you to clarify that you are not targeting all Jewish people but criticizing a specific group of Jewish Islamophobes?

    You can save us a lot back and forth by that one clarification.

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    I have not known Jon to make any bigoted statements in the past. I am not familiar with all of his comments but I do think he needs to clear this up. I find the whole brouhaha unfortunate and one that could easily have been nipped in the bud.

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    Being familiar with Reynardine, I know he is an outspoken opponent and critic of Islamophobes and racists of all types.

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    Jon Diamond Reynardine Cyrus

    I’m coming rather late to this. Jon, from the comments I have read in the past I have not known you to generalize about a whole group of people which, honestly, is how your one sentence, “it was an attack by Jews…” will and has been understood by those perhaps unfamiliar with the fact that you are not an antiSemite.

    If you clarify that this was not your intent I think both Reynardine and Cyrus will accept this.

  • HeGG

    My two cents:

    1) I haven’t posted much lately, but from time to time I read the comments section and from what I’ve seen, Reynardine’s posts are among the most insightful, fair and interesting to read. In my book, he/she is one of the most credible members of the community.

    2) Sometimes there is more worth in debating comments made in an article than the article itself, especially in one like this, where the unfounded smears against Aboushi are so self-evident that I doubt any rational person would support them. But that doesn’t mean there is a free pass when replying with a different kind of bigotry.

  • Just_Stopping_By

    Chameleon: “John’s word choice of “Jew” or even “Israeli” was poor when it appears fairly clear from the context and his other posts that he meant Zionist.”

    Jon: “From what I get, they want me to say they are Zionist instead of Jewish. I can’t.” Guess what you, Chameleon, thought was fairly clear, just wasn’t so (once again).

    The rest of your conclusions are just as faulty, though I do like how you go from “I refuse to be hoodwinked by juvenile propaganda” to “Anyone who believes that they are not being successfully manipulated to some extent by propaganda is a fool. No one is immune — not me, not you, no one.” I guess you are successfully manipulated only by adult propaganda?

    I quote you as saying, “The only reason Christians support so-called “Zionism” is due to the well-financed success of the Islamophobia industry…” And you reply, “Ad hominem fallacy. Strike two. I never denigrated people because they were Christian.” It’s not ad hominem: that would be saying that your arguments are wrong because of something else about you. I attacked your quote directly and did not say that you denigrated Christians because they were Christian. I said that you you denigrated Christians by asserting that they are incapable of coming to a conclusion that you disagreed with in the absence of well-financed propaganda.

    And your statement, “The word “masses” is implying a very diverse and extensive population, not any group in particular.” is silly given that I quoted you as saying “The only reason Christians support…” I did not quote your statement about the masses; I quoted your statement about Christians. Thus, my response to you was related to the group in particular that you mentioned by name. I understand your desire to change what Jon said, but for heaven’s sake, if you say “The only reason Christians support,” don’t later claim that you were not referring to any group in particular! You were referring to Christians in that sentence. That’s what it means to use the word Christians.

    Basically, your view is that the Zionists are so powerful that they caused Christians to adopt views that they otherwise never could have reached (“the only reason” they have their views is well-financed propaganda). Most people can accept that others can reach views that they disagree with. I can accept that others can reach views on Zionism that are in accord with mine or that are different from mine not because they are brainwashed by propaganda, but because they think differently than I do.

    You would be wise to do the same.

    I don’t have time to respond to the rest of your nonsense.

  • Tanveer Khan

    Thanks for the heads up Cyrus. I realise that now. Also, I think it’s unfair calling Mr Diamond a loon. I think he just has some wording problems (as do I sometimes ).

  • Jon Diamond

    Thanks JSB for bringing facts to this as opposed to name calling. For the record, if I knew they were Zionists, I would use that term as opposed to Jewish.

  • Just_Stopping_By


    Thanks for clarifying that you were pointing out that the people who made those hateful remarks were Jewish and not Zionists. That at least clarifies what you mean, and anyone can decide what they think of it based on what you said rather than what they think you meant to say. (As an aside, I find it rather insulting for people to claim that you did not know what you were saying. We can debate what it means to point out that certain hateful statements were made by Jews in one instance, Christians in another, or Muslims in a third, but it’s illogical to try to deny what you meant to say, especially after you kept defending your view in a number of posts.)

    For the record, my citation of the ADL’s criticism of those who wrongfully slandered Aboushi was an endorsement of the condemnation of Mael and anyone else who would make such comments. As pointed out by the ADL and others, there is absolutely no evidence that Aboushi said or did anything wrong, and those who attack him are clearly in the wrong.

    Best of luck to Aboushi in his career. And shame on Mael, Schlussel, and anyone else who has attacked him based on his religion and/or ethnicity.

  • Jon Diamond

    Ben Shpigel, of the NY Times wrote a piece on this:

    Shpigel did not mention the names of the perpetrators who attacked Aboushi. He has been criticized for this. Also, the article seems to be more of a hit piece against Aboushi and his family. His response on twitter.

    “The intent of the piece was to put everything in its proper context and explain oday’s background..

    The purpose wasn’t to give people/outlets whose views have been discredited further voice”

    The person he was responding to was Ayman Moheldin of NBC News:

    “Poor journalism for ignoring the sources of bigotry…

    Not to mention the piece is entirely focused on his family having to defend itself as opposed to sources of bigotry.”

    Of course I am sure that the fact that the writer is Jewish had nothing to do with the fact as to how he wrote the article. Of course, if the story was about three men who had attacked a Jewish guy, he would not have named them. Right guys? C’mon.

    If you want any further proof, then just look at this page on Loonwatch. Instead of the Jewish commenters on this page criticizing the three people who slandered Aboushi, their primary tactic is to accuse people who criticize them of being anti-Semitic. Dershowitz would be proud.

    From what I get, they want me to say they are Zionist instead of Jewish. I can’t. I can’t prove they are Zionist, but I can prove they are Jewish. I can’t make up facts. That would make me just like them.

  • Well do you know who Laveranues Coles is? I sat in a class with him at FSU. Nice guy. a bit shy. Suffered injustice at FSU at a time when some were complaining that badly behaving football players were being let off the hook by the school. Glad he had some kind of NFL career in in spite of how the school treated him!

  • Check this out – especially the last goal! Holy mackinaw!

  • Those of us who follow the NHL know of Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs – a practicing Muslim who is living the Canadian dream. [ ] Kadri is becoming an inspiration for immigrant kids, his father born in Lebanon. I’m becoming a fan of Kadri, who played very well in the lockout-shortened season.


    Hockey Dreams: Nazem Kadri first Muslim Maple Leaf-

  • Pingback: New York Jets’ Oday Aboushi Faces anti-Palestinian Smears | Eseaf()

  • Just_Stopping_By

    “The only reason Christians support so-called “Zionism” is due to the well-financed success of the Islamophobia industry…

    And here I was arguing against denigrating people of a whole religion. Christians have seriously considered this issue on religious, political, and moral grounds. I accept that they are bright enough and diverse enough to have come to different views amongst themselves, some that I agree with and some that I don’t.

    You apparently think that Christians could not have disagreed with you based on their own reasoning, and the “only reason” they disagree with you is due to well-financed propaganda. (And let’s put aside that there were Christian Zionists in the early 1800s, well before any Zionist lobby:

    I must not be a good Emir of the Muzlamic Empire, because I would have said that denigrating the ability of people of a religion to reach their own thoughtful conclusions and blaming the fact that sometimes they disagree with you on their susceptibility to well-financed propaganda weren’t good things to do during Ramadan.

  • Chameleon_X

    “Why bother emphasizing anyone’s religion or political views unnecessarily?”

    Because political views oppress, persecute and kill. I agree with Tanveer that John’s word choice of “Jew” or even “Israeli” was poor when it appears fairly clear from the context and his other posts that he meant Zionist. Your continued effort to conflate politics with religion as a defense of Zionism is nothing more than old, hackneyed propaganda, since Judaism cannot rationally support the racist political creed of Zionism, as you already failed miserably to rebut in other posts. As far as I am concerned, Zionism is anti-Jewish to the core, and I am still waiting on someone to rebut this argument rationally and with facts. The same applies to conflating “pro-Israel” with Zionism, which is more nonsense propaganda. I could care less whether a piece of land is called Israel, Palestine or whatever. The name is irrelevant. We need to keep things much simpler. It’s about being pro-democracy, not pro-Israel or pro-Palestine. Heck, even I can call myself ardently pro-Israel as a true democracy, which I believe it can be one day. Zionism, by contrast, is racist and anti-democratic to the core, since its cornerstone has been and always will be the racist belief in a state for Jews, not for all citizens of the land. Moreover, as I have said many times, I don’t believe in dueling racist states, where a racist state for Arabs will somehow be the answer to a racist state for Jews. Democracy must prevail first, above all, as the foundation of all countries.

    We should never forget that the reason that Loonwatch was created in the first place was in direct response to Zionist propaganda. Zionist lobby money is what finances the Islamophobia hate machine, day after day, week after week, year after year, including David Horowitz, Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller and most of the other propagandists and terrorist promoters against Muslims that are profiled on Loonwatch. The proof is well documented in independent think tank reports, such as the “Fear, Inc.” report and in several investigative journalism studies. The only reason Christians support so-called “Zionism” is due to the well-financed success of the Islamophobia industry in dehumanizing the Palestinians (and Muslims in general) as savages and terrorists, in addition to pro-Zionists who continue to whitewash the disgusting racism of Zionism. What has made Zionism so palatable to the Christian and Jewish masses, who of course are not evil, is the same force that made Nazism so palatable to the German masses, who were also not inherently evil: large scale manufacturing of racist, dehumanizing ignorance by those who hate.

    Sorry, but I refuse to be hoodwinked by juvenile propaganda, and I will never forget the lessons of history as the Zionists so want us to do – ironic, indeed, given how the Jews were the victims of this same racism and ethnic cleansing dressed up as patriotic “nationalism”. Nationalism is all innocuous and wonderful until the ugly answer to the question, “Nationalism for whom?” is exposed, which Zionists desperately want to divert your attention away from. Zionism is racist and anti-democratic to the core, and no amount of whitewashing is going to change that fact. It’s just more of the same lipstick on a dolled up, flag-waving pig.

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