New York, NY, July 12, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today spoke up in defense of New York Jets lineman Oday Aboushi, who has been subjected to withering attacks after recent claims that he is a “Muslim extremist” began circulating online. In a statement, the League said 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.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
There’s a lot of exaggeration and hyperbole in all the talk about Jets lineman Oday Aboushi. Absolutely nothing in the public record suggests that Aboushi is anything other than a young American athlete who takes pride in his Palestinian heritage. His 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.
There is nothing wrong with someone being proud of their ethnic or religious background, and this should be true regardless of one’s chosen profession. Even if one disagrees with the agenda of the groups whose events he has attended, it is unfair and farfetched to cite those as evidence that he is an extremist.
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.