The national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons to condemn anti-Semitism, starting with the bigotry espoused by Minister Louis Farrakhan.
“It may be painful sometimes to speak out against leaders in our own community who slip into bigotry, but it is necessary,” Abraham H. Foxman wrote today in a blog on The Jerusalem Post
titled, “What Russell Simmons Needs to Do.”
“One cannot pay lip-service to fighting anti-Semitism on the one hand, while giving legitimacy and credibility to someone who routinely engages in anti-Semitism on the other,” Mr. Foxman wrote. “Unfortunately, Simmons has for many years had a blind spot when it comes to Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.”
The remarks came in response to an op-ed in yesterday’s Jerusalem Post co-signed by Mr. Simmons and Rabbi Marc Schneier in which the two leaders attempted to explain an off-the-cuff remark Simmons made as a panelist at the recent Presidential Conference in Israel.
At the conference, Simmons charged that Mr. Foxman had “antagonized” the African-American community by speaking out against the anti-Semitism espoused by Farrakhan, the longtime leader of the Nation of Islam. Simmons appeared at the Jerusalem conference on a panel alongside Rabbi Schneier in discussing their work in promoting Black-Jewish and interreligious dialogue with the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.
In a subsequent tweet, Mr. Simmons wrote of Mr. Foxman, “That man has never met an African-American leader he didn’t label an anti-Semite.”
Writing in The Jerusalem Post, Rabbi Schneier and Simmons said that the “remark “was in no way intended to disparage Mr. Foxman or to dismiss the respect we have for him as a communal leader who has achieved a great deal for the Jewish people.”
Mr. Foxman responded that Simmons, “ . . . knows what he needs to do in order to reach out to me, and that is to condemn the anti-Semitism spewed by anyone, beginning with Minister Louis Farrakhan.”
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.