Jewish Leaders Call for Removal of Local Philadelphia NAACP Head After Antisemitic Facebook Post
Jewish leaders called for the removal of the head of the Philadelphia branch of the NAACP over the weekend after he posted an antisemitic picture on Facebook.
Rodney Muhammad posted an image of celebrities Ice Cube, DeSean Jackson, and Nick Cannon — all of whom recently made antisemitic statements — over a grotesque caricature of a stereotypical “Jew.”
The image was accompanied by a quote ostensibly from 18th century French intellectual Voltaire that stated, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”
Laura Frank, interim director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, called Muhammad’s post “vile behavior” that is “incredibly dangerous for Jewish communities across the world.” Frank called for the immediate removal of Muhammad from his post.
The regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, Shira Goodman, denounced the image “in the strongest possible terms.”
“It is inconceivable that a person who theoretically works to uphold civil rights would engage in such blatant hate,” she said. “To defend the antisemitic rhetoric of others is bad enough, but to post virulently anti-Jewish symbols and conspiracy theories is simply unacceptable.”
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said, “I share the outrage of Philadelphia’s Jewish community to this offensive message, and I am extremely disappointed that Minister Muhammad saw fit to post it.”
“I know Minister Muhammad to be a bridge builder,” he added, “and I hope he is up to the task of rebuilding the bridges that his unfortunate post has now damaged.”
Pennsylvania Congressman Dwight Evans said he was “appalled” by the post and that Muhammad “was wrong and he should apologize.”
Muhammad told the website Billy Penn, “To be real honest with you, I didn’t even pay attention to the picture.”
In a statement released Friday, he said he was “not familiar” with the antisemitic images and was “responding to the individuals not able to speak out,” an apparent reference to the celebrities who expressed antisemitic sentiments.
“I would be happy to have a discussion with other leaders to better understand our history,” Muhammad added.