Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian-Americans’

First Palestinian-American in NFL

April 28, 2013

This post first appeared in The Times of Israel.

Oday Aboushi, newly drafted by the NY Jets, is the first Palestinian-American NFL player. (Courtesy Oday Aboushi's Facebook page)

Oday Aboushi, newly drafted by the NY Jets, is the first Palestinian-American NFL player. (Courtesy Oday Aboushi’s Facebook page)

The National Football League has its first Palestinian-American player now that Oday Aboushi has been drafted by the New York Jets. The 6’6”, 310 pound offensive lineman, a recent graduate of the University of Virginia, was selected by his hometown team with the No. 141 overall pick in the fifth round on Saturday.

Selected to the Senior Bowl as one of the top players in the country at his position, Aboushi was Virginia’s best offensive lineman and earned first team all-ACC honors. Playing both right and left tackle, he started every game during the past three years.

He’s not particular about what position he’ll play with the Jets. “I’m going to play any position, wherever I’m needed to play, whatever is going to help the team be better and help the line come together as a group,” Aboushi said to the Washington Post.

“I don’t think I can put into words how excited I am to be a New York Jet, to be with my hometown team,” said Aboushi, the ninth of ten children of a family that immigrated to Staten Island, New York from Beit Hanina. As a professional athlete, he has distinguished himself among his siblings, who are all professionals in the legal, medical, business and academic fields.

Click here to read more.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.


Texas City May Elect Palestinian Mayor

March 7, 2013

This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.

Mayoral candidate Amir Omar

Mayoral candidate Amir Omar

An affluent suburb of Dallas may become the first American city to elect a mayor of Palestinian descent.

Richardson, a city of 100,000 in northern Texas, will decide May 11 whether to elect Amir Omar, a former city councilman believed to be the first Muslim-American elected to public office in the area. Should his campaign succeed, it appears Omar would be the first American of Palestinian background to serve as mayor of such a sizable US city.

A conservative Republican in his late 30s, Omar refers to himself on hiscampaign website as “living proof that the American Dream is alive and well.”

Born in Wisconsin and raised in Texas, Omar has worked primarily in telecommunications, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University.

His mother was born to an upper-middle-class family in Iran, and his father comes from a family of Palestinian farmers. They met while attending college in Arizona.

Their son, first elected to Richardson’s city council in 2009, previously ran unsuccessfully for the US House of Representatives in 2006 — a campaign that would have made him the first Iranian-American in Congress.

His work in local politics has been more popular with voters; he was re-elected in 2011 with 63 percent of the vote.

 Click here to read more and watch Amir Omar’s campaign video.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.