Palestinian-American football player denies accusations he's an anti-Semitic radical

NY Jets' Oday Aboushi says article claiming he is a "fundamentalist Muslim" is nothing but "smears and lies."

July 14, 2013 13:48
2 minute read.
New York Jets' offensive lineman Oday Aboushi

New York Jets' Oday Aboushi 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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 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."

The article in 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."

ADL 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."

He 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 line."

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.

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