Hip-hop mogul attacked by ADL for 'ugly' comments in Jerusalem

By Josh Jackman, June 22, 2012
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Def Jam founder Russell Simmons in Israel

Def Jam founder Russell Simmons in Israel

The national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has reacted angrily to the hip-hop record chief Russell Simmons’s accusation that his behaviour towards African-Americans was similar to that of Louis Farrakhan’s towards Jews.

Mr Simmons, who was speaking at the fourth Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem on behalf of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, said that the ADL's Abraham Foxman had “alienated blacks” in much the same way that Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader, had antagonised much of the Jewish community.

In a statement given at the conference, Mr Foxman condemned the activist and co-founder of Def Jam record label for his “divisive and ugly” comments, adding that “it is not surprising to hear Russell Simmons once again making excuses for the polarising antisemitic and racist speech of Louis Farrakhan. He’s been doing that for years.”

The ADL leader also criticised Rabbi Marc Schneier, with whom Mr Simmons created their foundation to strengthen Muslim-Jewish relations, for not intervening. He said: “What’s shocking is that his colleague and partner, Rabbi Marc Schneier, stood by in silence … shame on Simmons, and shame on Schneier.”

Last updated: 12:36pm, June 22 2012