Russell Simmons offers some highly disturbing thoughts in his piece criticizing my appeal to Black leaders not to support Louis Farrakhan's latest initiative, the Million More Movement.
First, he sees no problem having people who preach hatred-- Farrakhan and Malik Shabazz, continue to spew anti-Semitism-- being the centerpieces of an event that supposedly is intended to bring people together. One wonders how he would react had some White supremacist organized an event preaching tolerance.
Second, he engages in a blame-the-victim tactic in which he claims that if I continue to criticize the roles of Farrakhan and Shabazz and call on Black leaders not to give them legitimacy, that I would be causing anti-Semitism. One would have hoped that someone who is aware of racial hatred and hatred of Jews and their origins would not fall into that trap.
Thirdly, whatever happened to the golden rule? If there were a Jewish event which was led by an out-and-out racist, I would expect Black leaders to say to me that ADL should have nothing to do with it. And I would agree with them, rather than condemn them for their action.
At issue here are two important values. There is the need for good people to stand up and not give credibility to hatemongers wherever they appear. And secondly, moderate leaders in every community need to demonstrate what true leadership is about and not be dragged along by the demagogues. These are the principles about which we should be coming together.