Head of the local Philadelphia NAACP chapter, Rodney Muhammad, is facing blowback for a Facebook post with a quote, pictures of celebrities recently under fire for anti-Semitic comments, and a widely used meme making fun of Jewish individuals.
The quote on the post read, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize,” and a meme — called the Happy Merchant — was placed next to it. The picture exaggerated stereotypes and is widely used by racists across the internet to alienate Jewish people.
The celebrities featured were Ice Cube, DeSean Jackson and Nick Cannon — all recently in headlines for anti-Semitic postings and comments. Cannon was fired from his network for comments on his podcast.
Muhammad is a local Nation of Islam leader and frequent vocal supporter of Louis Farrakhan, who has called Jews “bloodsuckers” and “termites,” according to the Times of Israel.
The blowback has been fierce. The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia called for Muhammad to be removed “immediately” in a statement and that he “intentionally initiated the spread of anti-Semitism on his Facebook page. This vile behavior from a civic leader is incredibly dangerous for Jewish communities across the world.”
The Anti-Defamation League has characterized the image as a hate symbol. Also noted, the quote is misattributed to Voltaire when it really came from an American neo-Nazi.
Muhammad responded to the criticism saying “to be real honest with you, I didn’t even pay attention to the picture.” He said he was unaware the image was disrespectful towards Jewish people and took it down.
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