A Palestinian-American NFL football player for the New York Jets denied
accusations that he is a fundamentalist Muslim who associates with
radical anti-Israel groups.
Speaking in an interview with The New York Post
published Saturday, Oday Aboushi referred to as "lies and smears"
claims in an article on website Frontpagemag.com that he is "a
fundamentalist Muslim with radical associations and a heritage that
pushes him towards a destructive world of violence and hate.”
Aboushi told the Post,
"I don’t think I’m radical at all. I have never done any radical
behavior. For the writer to come out and claim that just builds lies on
top of the lies."
The Anti-Defamation League came to Aboushi's
defense on Friday, saying that "there’s absolutely nothing in the public
record to suggest that Aboushi, a Palestinian-American who was born and
raised in Brooklyn, had crossed a line in his expressions of pride in
his heritage and support for the Palestinian people."
in Frontpagemag.com said 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."
National Director Abraham Foxman said that Oday's "participation in a
conference organized by the El-Bireh Society, a Palestinian community
organization that was until recently defunct, should not be used to tar
him as an extremist. Allegations claiming that he is affiliated with
other extreme groups are similarly unsubstantiated and appear to be
exaggerated for the express purpose of smearing Aboushi."
added: "Being pro-Palestinian does not mean you’re an anti-Semite or an
extremist. The record simply does not show that Aboushi has crossed that
Aboushi told The New York Post
that he does not hold radical views on the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. "My feelings are very fair — I wish both sides would come to a
peaceful agreement and both live in peace...I want to see them live
together in harmony and enjoy the land instead of focusing on conflict
with each other."
On allegations that he is anti-Semitic, Aboushi
said, "Some of my best friends are Jewish. I have teammates who are
Jewish, and I was brought up with Jewish kids. I never had any problem
with them, and I respect them just as much as they respect me...At the
end of the day, I don’t have any disrespect or hateful things to say
against the Jewish community, and I’m definitely not anti-Semitic."
Aboushi, a rookie offensive lineman who is yet to play in his first NFL contest, was selected by the Jets in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He played his college ball at the University of Virginia.