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ADL Calls Russell Simmons Remark At Jerusalem Conference 'Divisive And Ugly'

Jerusalem, June 21, 2012 The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today responded to an outrageous comment by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, who in remarks at the presidential conference in Israel accused ADL leader Abraham Foxman of having "alienated blacks" in the same way Louis Farrakhan has antagonized the Jewish community.


Farrakhan is the racist and anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam. 


The hip-hop mogul was a participant in President Shimon Peres's "Facing Tomorrow Conference," where he and Rabbi Marc Schneier participated in a panel discussion representing The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.


Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement from Jerusalem, where he was also participating in the conference: 

We've heard this kind of doublespeak before, so it is not surprising to hear Russell Simmons once again making excuses for the polarizing anti-Semitic and racist speech of Louis Farrakhan.  He's been doing that for years.


What's surprising is that Simmons did it in Jerusalem.  What's disappointing is that someone who has a history of having a blind spot to one of the most vociferous and ugly anti-Semites would be given a platform in Jerusalem.  And what's outrageous is how divisive and ugly his attack on us was.


And, finally, what's shocking is that his colleague and partner, Rabbi Marc Schneier, stood by in silence.  Where was his defense of this 100-year-old organization that has not only defended against anti-Semitism but has worked alongside the African-American community on some of the most important civil rights struggles in our nation's history?  Shame on Simmons, and shame on Schneier.

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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.

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Russell Simmons' Blind Spot for Bigotry
(op-ed, 3/16/12)
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2012 Anti-Defamation League