The president of the Philadelphia branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) shared an anti-Semitic meme on Thursday in defense of black celebrities who have come under fire lately for anti-Semitism.
On his Facebook page, Rodney Muhammad shared the meme, which has pictures of rapper Ice Cube, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, and actor, rapper, director and TV host Nick Cannon—all of whom have lately been accused of anti-Semitism and/or posting anti-Semitic rhetoric—with a caricature below of a Jewish man with a long and crooked nose wearing a kipah that is engraved on the wrist with a large, bejeweled hand pushing down on a group of people.
The meme includes a quote misattributed to the French philosopher Voltaire: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”
The quote is actually attributed to American neo-Nazi, Holocaust denier and white supremacist Kevin Strom.
The meme suggested that the pushback against Ice Cube, Jackson and Cannon, as well as apologies from the latter two, was part of a controversy orchestrated by Jews.
When contacted by a reporter, Muhammad deleted the post, initially claiming that he didn’t recall sharing it. He eventually acknowledged the meme, but noted that he didn’t know that the image was anti-Semitic, reported local PBS affiliate WHYY.
“To be real honest with you, I didn’t even pay attention to the picture,” he said.
Muhammad, who also goes by “Rodney Carpenter,” did not apologize, instead saying that black people were being silenced by “members of it in agencies with other agendas” that decry anti-Semitism as a way to rebuke people.
“They use it as a trick,” he said. “If you’re in Europe and you criticize any of them like that, or if you’re in America, it’s anti-Semitism.”
Muhammad has praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has an extensive history of anti-Jewish rhetoric, on social media.
In a 2012 interview with Loyola University in Chicago, Muhammad slammed the Jewish people for their rebuke of Farrakhan’s statements.
“This is how much they think of themselves, that we’re supposed to [be] prioritizing their concerns before we deal with ours,” he told the interviewer. “What arrogance, man? That’s arrogance!”
In a statement on Friday, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia called for Muhammad to be fired from his NAACP role.
“Hate speech and the repulsive, purposeful spread of anti-Semitic imagery and messages can never be tolerated,” said the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia. “It is important, now more than ever, for Jewish and black communities to unite and work together to combat racism and bigotry in all their forms.”