National Football League stars pull out of Israel visit, saying they feel 'used'

The decision for Michael Bennett also came down to wanting to live his life similar to how one of his hereos Muhammad Ali did

Seahawk Michael Bennett pulls out of planned trip by NFL players to Israel

Bennett, the Seattle Seahawks star defensive end, posted a notice on social media Friday announcing his decision to quit the delegation.

It's unclear if Avril will still make the trip, which is sponsored by the country's Ministry for Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy in cooperation with the Tourism Ministry.

The others scheduled to attend the trip: Oakland defensive tackle Dan Williams, Titans tight end Delanie Walker, San Francisco running back Carlos Hyde, Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks, New Orleans defensive end Cameron Jordan, Miami receiver Kenny Stills, Arizona defensive lineman Calais Campbell, Denver running back Justin Forsett, and ESPN commentator and former National Football League linebacker Kirk Morrison.

'I want to be a "voice for the voiceless", and I can not do that by going on this kind of trip to Israel'. But please know that I did this not for you, but to be in accord with my own values and my own conscience'.

During their seven-day visit to Israel, the players will visit Haifa's Rambam hospital in northern Israel, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, and meet with representatives from the Black Hebrew community in Dimona in Israel's south.

The letter urged the players "to consider the political ramifications of attending the trip, drawing connections between the struggles faced by Black and Brown communities in the US, and Palestinian, Eritrean and Sudanese communities in Israel/Palestine".

The Denver Broncos running back Justin Forsett also said he would not be going on the trip.

During the visit, the players will hold an exhibition game together with players from the Israeli Football Association on February 18 in Jerusalem.

The decision for Bennett also came down to wanting to live his life similar to how one of his hereos, Muhammad Ali, did. These trips bringing celebrities to Israel are part of a larger "Brand Israel" campaign to help the Israeli government normalize and whitewash its ongoing denial of Palestinian rights'.

Bennett explained he was initially excited about the trip, but once he found out he will be a brand ambassador of goodwill, he backed out.

It was undersigned by various far-left organizations, including the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and its U.S. -based counterpart, as well as Jewish Voice for Peace.

The announcement comes just days after Bennett's brother Marcellus, who plays for the New England Patriots, said he would reject an offer from President Trump to be honored with his Super Bowl-winning team-mates at the White House.

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