Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Russell Simmons Compares Farrakhan to Foxman

Abraham Foxman said Russell Simmon’s likening of the Anti-Defamation League’s national director to Louis Farrakhan was “outrageous and ugly.”

Simmons, appearing in Jerusalem at this week’s Israel Presidential Conference with his Foundation for Ethnic Understanding co-founder Rabbi Marc Schneier, defended his friendship with the Nation of Islam leader by saying that just as Farrakhan had alienated Jews, Foxman had alienated African Americans.

“What’s surprising is that Simmons did it in Jerusalem,” said Foxman, who also attended the conference, although it was not clear if he attended the session with Simmons and Schneier. “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.”

Schneier, in an interview with JTA said Simmons, the founder of the Def Jam hip-hop label, was “winking” when he said it, and that it was in “jest,” which the audience understood.

“I find it sad that Abe would expend so much time and energy in attacking Russell Simmons, who is one of the greatest friends of the Jewish people and a tireless advocate of the state of Israel,” he said.

Schneier said he had “profound disagreements” with Farrakhan, but also that it was the objective of his foundation to engage with people who have such disagreements.

Foxman has publicly praised Simmons for his outreach work between African Americans and Jews, but also has faulted him for his praise of Farrakhan, who has likened Judaism to a “gutter religion” and has for years peddled anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Simmons has said his admiration for Farrakhan derives from his efforts to promote black self-respect.

Foxman in his statement noted the ADL’s decades of involvement in civil rights battles.

Speaking of Schneier’s silence, Foxman said, “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.”

Schneier said he and Simmons were in Israel not only to attend the conference, but to bring their mosque-synagogue twinning project to the country.

The annual twinning project, launched in the United States but now occurring in a number of other countries, brings together the Muslim and Jewish faith communities for shared projects.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.