+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

No, there is nothing 'Israeli' about Jordan's gold medal olympian

A number of Israeli websites preferred to forget the fact that Palestinian-Jordanian olympian Ahmad Abu Ghosh’s family comes from a village conquered by Zionist forces in 1948.

Jordanian-Palestinian olympian Ahmad Abu Ghosh who won the gold medal in Taekwondo at the 2016 Olympics. (Salem Khamis/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Jordanian-Palestinian olympian Ahmad Abu Ghosh who won the gold medal in Taekwondo at the 2016 Olympics. (Salem Khamis/CC BY-SA 4.0)

How much nonsense can go into a single news item? The answer is, unfortunately, a lot. Nothing has angered me recently quite like an article published by the news site Virtual Jerusalem with the following headline: “Palestinian with Israeli Roots Wins Jordan’s First-Ever Olympic Medal.”

That Palestinian olympian is Ahmad Abu Ghosh, 20, who was born in the Al-Nasser refugee camp to a Palestinian family from the village of Abu Ghosh (which according to the article is “known for its hummus restaurants and convenient location on the main road connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv”). According to the article, Abu Ghosh has Israeli roots because his family comes from a village conquered by Israel in the 1948 War.

Furthermore the article claims that the village is located in an area that launched “attacks that killed hundreds of Jews” during the war, and thus the villagers were threatened with expulsion. But following public pressure and protest by leftist and rightist Israelis, the residents were allowed to return to their homes (thank you very much!) This is how the village, which collaborated with the Zionist forcers, turned into a culinary powerhouse and an island of coexistence between Jews and Arabs (how many Jews actually live there?)

What this and a number of other articles fail to mention is that a large number of families from Abu Ghosh became refugees in 1948, lost all their property, and lived in refugee camps in Jordan. Ahmad Abu Ghosh’s family left the village by choice and followed their family members to a Palestinian camp. Not exactly “immigration” in the traditional sense of the word, and not something that represents a strong connection to Israeli identity.

If Israel wants a gold medal so badly, take it and give back Ahmad his Jordanian identity. Better to continue being a Palestinian refugee with Jordanian citizenship than an Israeli who is unaware of his roots and denies his Israeli identity, no?

Now with the end of the Olympics, and in the wake of Israel’s tepid successes there, the Jewish state should start considering a new route if it wants to get the gold. Here are two options:

The first is to force olympic champions to make aliyah from the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Britain, and Germany.

The second way is to start investing in athletes here, instead of spending millions upon millions on ‘hasbara’ initiatives and complaining about racism, anti-Semitism, and persecution. Look around and see how two immigrants from Kenya brought Bahrain a gold and silver medal, respectively.

Most Western delegations include athletes of different shades and with different roots. Sorry if I come off as cliché, but an American woman with a hijab won a medal for fencing. Perhaps it is time, then, that Israel give a chance for its asylum seekers, refugees, and foreign workers to excel at sports?

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

Newsletter banner

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. BaladiAkka 1948

      Thank you, Samah, I was pissed off too by hasbara concerning Ahmad Abu Ghosh’s “Israeli” roots, particularly Avi Mayer, the official hasbara parrot.
      Just one point: I’m not sure the two Kenyan girls, Ruth Jebet and Eunice Kirwa, running for Bahrain are the best examples of “immigrants” having succeded.
      If they hadn’t been talented athlets they would never had been naturalized: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahraini_nationality_law#By_Naturalization
      And let’s not even mention places like Qatar where the “bidoun” and foreign workers have no rights whereas athlets are naturalized only to bring medals.

      Reply to Comment
    2. massie

      Israel has NO roots in that land

      Reply to Comment
    3. A load of trash. Stop crying that your genocide against the Jews failed. We returned home and if some Arabs had to leave or land because you failed to kill us too bad. We are a rainbowed nation, dint know what you are talking about. We treat lawful Arabs better then most other nations including Arab ones.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Carmen

      A load of trash is what you’ve written. The genocide against Jews took place in Europe Yaron and was committed by Germany. Palestinians fought as best as they could and as is their right to resist the zionist enterprises continued plunder, theft and murder of Palestinian land, treasure and people. The genocide in Europe does not give the zionist enterprise the right to do what it has done for 70 years.

      Reply to Comment
    5. R5

      “Better to continue being a Palestinian refugee with Jordanian citizenship than an Israeli who is unaware of his roots and denies his Israeli identity, no?” Uhh….pretty sure most “Palestine refugees” in Jordan would prefer Israeli citizenship…since most Israeli Arabs are happy to stay and take little interest in the anti-Zionism of the Zoabi/Adalah crowd. FYI – this guy is not a “Palestinian refugee” under international law. He is a “Palestine refugee” (thanks UN!). To be a refugee, Palestinian or otherwise, he’d have to have been born in a country that he fled from. Please make the correction next time and stop willfully misrepresenting what international law actually says. Thx!

      Reply to Comment
    6. Baladi Akka 1948

      If Palestinian citizens of Israel (who have not asked you to speak their cause) were little interested in Zoabi, Adalah etc, explain why the Joint Party got the majority of the Palestinian citizens of Israel’s votes.
      And you’re wrong: descendants of Palestinian refugees born outside their homeland are considered refugees by the United Nations, that’s why there are 2 million Palestinian refugees registered by the UN only in Jordan, most of them by the way Jordanian citizens (cf. the UNRWA website).
      The Right of Return is inalienable according to UN resolution 3236. Deal with it or not, it doesn’t change anything: one day they will return whether you like it or not.

      Reply to Comment
    7. R5

      BaladiAkka1948: blowing steam out my ears right now buddy. You’ve got me so mad..oh man…really sticking it to me. Typing so hard right now might break my own keyboard. Flustered as heck is what. But seriously you’re 100% wrong, its “Palestinian refugee” – no such thing as “Palestinian refugee” under UN resolutions. Check your cites.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Richard Lightbown

      A straight Google search of “Palestinian refugees registered by the UN” leads to the UNRWA report “The United Nations and Palestinian Refugees”.
      http://www.unrwa.org/userfiles/2010011791015.pdf

      Perhaps Baladi is 100% right after all.

      Reply to Comment