NFL Players Trip to Israel

Background

Over the weekend I became aware of a story that tracked a planned visit of NFL players to Israel.

Story

Here is a good take of the story penned by Allison Kaplan Sommer:

Haaretz – Israel News
Link

What was supposed to be a high-profile image-buffing visit by a delegation of 13 NFL players to Israel ended up failing to draw enough players to field a team.
In the end, only five of the players originally slated on the seven-day trip designed to make them “ambassadors of good will” for Israel ended up arriving to tour the Holy Land and seeing the sights, after a public relations fumble caused the majority to pull out.

The players who made the trip were Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell, Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Dan Williams, New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker and Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks.

The decision of the other participants not to come on the trip took place after the visit was publicized by Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister Gilad Erdan on February 5, with a press release describing the trip as being part of an “intensive fight against the delegitimization and BDS campaigns against Israel, and part of this struggle includes hosting influencers and opinion-formers of international standing in different fields.” The football players would get “a balanced picture of Israel, the opposite from the false incitement campaign that is being waged against Israel around the world,” he said.

Move follows ‘open letter’ from Walker, Belafonte, Glover

The move was followed by the publishing of an “open letter” urging the players not to go, sponsored by pro-Palestinian activist groups and signed by high-profile activists and celebrities like Alice Walker, Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover. At the very beginning of the letter, Erdan’s words are cited as evidence that Israel was “aiming to use your fame to advance their own agenda: an agenda that comes at the expense of the Palestinian people.”

The decision by the other eight players not to travel to Israel was led by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, who signaled he was pulling out of the trip by tweeting a photograph of Martin Luther King Jr. and a statement expressing resentment at what he saw as a manipulation by Israel’s government and declaring he wouldn’t “be used in such a manner.”
Since Bennett’s post, the ministry that had unveiled the trip with great fanfare went silent. After promising various updates on the delegation, Revital Yakin-Karkovsky, executive director for communications and strategy in the ministry, told the Associated Press that it would not comment on the visit.

The Tourism Ministry and the nonprofit America’s Voices in Israel organization, which were also involved in the planning, have also distanced themselves.

According to ESPN, the players who canceled their participation include Bennett’s brother Martellus, a tight end for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, along with Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills, San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde and Denver Broncos running back Justin Forsett, along with retired NFL linebacker Kirk Morrison.

The five players’ government-sponsored trip began Tuesday in the north of the country with a visit to Rambam Hospital, where the five players were given a tour and shown a presentation of a device developed by one of Rambam’s researchers that detects concussions in real time. Later, the players were set to include Yad Vashem and the Hebrew Israelite community in the southern city of Dimona.

Two of the visiting players, Jordan and Kendricks, have kept their fans updated on their travels by posting their adventures on social media.

My Take

Personally, my take is that all of us should do good to the extent that we can.

Carry One Another’s Burdens
…Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to the family of faith.
( Galatians 6:9-10)

Other Do Gooders

  1. Obama
    • Governor Bill Richardson
      • Gov. Richardson endorses Obama
        March 21st, 2008
        Link
        He drew laughs with a story about how Obama had bailed him out when a moderator called on him unexpectedly during a Democratic debate.

        “I was about to ask the moderator to repeat the question when Barack whispered to me ‘Katrina, Katrina.’ And I gave my Katrina answer. He could have thrown me under the bus, but he stood behind me.”
        Obama had earlier praised Richardson.
        “Whether it’s fighting to end the Iraq war or stop the genocide in Darfur or prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists, Gov. Richardson has been a powerful voice on issues of global security, peace and justice,” Obama said in a statement released before the endorsement.
    • John McCain
      • McCain: Obama not an Arab, crowd boos
        By JONATHAN MARTIN and AMIE PARNES
        Dated :- 2008-Oct-10th
        Link
        McCain passed his wireless microphone to one woman who said, “I can’t trust Obama. I have read about him and he’s not, he’s not uh — he’s an Arab. He’s not — ” before McCain retook the microphone and replied:“No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man [and] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that’s what this campaign’s all about. He’s not [an Arab].”
  2. Brad Paisley
    • Flashback: Brad Paisley Salutes President Obama
      Singer visits the White House in 2009 to perform “Welcome to the Future” for Barack and Michelle Obama
      By Stephen L. Betts
      Date :-  2016-Nov-8th
      Link
      Paisley was a supporter of Obama’s candidacy, not an easy road for a performer in the predominantly conservative landscape of country music. But, as he told CNN in 2009, “On November 4th, I felt an emotion like I haven’t felt in my entire life. I think whoever you voted for, you had to be moved.”

      “Welcome to the Future,” penned with Chris DuBois, acknowledged the troubling history that made Obama’s victory even more significant, with Paisley recalling true events such as a classmate having a cross burned on his lawn because he had asked out the homecoming queen and referencing the brave actions of protester Rosa Parks and civil-rights leader Martin Luther King.Paisley, who had broken down in tears while running through the song during soundcheck earlier that afternoon, recalled doing “everything I could do not to lose it. I had to close my eyes, or I would completely break down.” After the performance, he tipped his hat to the president, thanked him and left the stage. Paisley recalled that once he was offstage he “just started bawling,” taking in the enormity of the moment. Paisley would again perform for the President and First Lady Michelle Obama on July 4th, 2012, and in January 2013 at the inauguration concert celebrating his second term.
    • Exclusive: Brad Paisley shares his night at the White House
      Link
      But this time, the phone call was essentially, “We would like to know if Brad would be interested in performing at the White House in the East Room.”
      It was as simple as that. It’s like, “Yes! More than yes. I’m floored. Why?!”
      And I could never get the answer why. They just wanted me to play.

      Ironically, I read this story just last week on CNN about Michelle Obama’s great-great grandfather, Jim Robinson, who was a slave in South Carolina. It’s insane to think about that.

      How the world has changed.On November 4th, I felt an emotion like I haven’t felt in my entire life. I think whoever you voted for, you had to be moved.My grandfather was in the Philippines fighting against the Japanese during World War II — and now I record for Sony and played Japan twice on tour, and loved every minute.If you’d go back in time and tell my grandfather during air raid sirens, “Hang on there. Your grandson — they’re gonna love him,” he never would have believed it.

Conclusion

Times are tough.

We all need help.

Sometimes it comes through friendship and actually working together.

At other times it comes through gracious and symbolic acts.

I am finding out that people sometimes view us different than we view ourselves.

In their lenses, we could have done more than we are doing.

We could have clarified something.

And, when they give us time to do so, and we choose not to do so, they will often move on.

But, that does not mean they forget or worse forgive.

I wish upon each of us “continuance in choosing good leadership“.

A while ago, we had a production problem and I needed help with instructions on how to get the system back operational.

One of seniors in the group explained to me how we got here and I was just staring and wondering if he thought an history is what I needed most of all.

I needed encouragement, access and privilege to the system, and an easy to understand guide.

A good friend shared with me a few years ago something to the effect that “sometimes people think or assume there needs are different than others“.

Closing Scripture

Paul Before the Areopagus ( Council or Court of Justice )
Nor is He served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.

From one man He made every nation of men, to inhabit the whole earth; and He determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands.
God intended that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.…
( Acts 17:25-27 )

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