The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is pleased to learn about the effective removal of Rodney Muhammad as leader of the Philadelphia Chapter of the NAACP. We applaud the actions taken by the executive committee and NAACP national president Derrick Johnson’s decision to appoint an administrator to usher in new local leadership. “This has been a painful period in the long-standing and exceptional relationship between the Black and Jewish communities,” said Steve Rosenberg, COO of Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. “The NAACP is a pre-eminent civil rights organization, and we are grateful to both the local branch and national office for taking steps to address this situation and promote healing. We look forward to working with the NAACP to forge closer bonds with our two communities to address systemic racism and bigotry of all kinds.”
We are extremely disappointed with the NAACP for excusing Mr. Muhammad’s anti-Semitic posts and refusing to remove him from his position as a leader of a civic organization. While Mr. Muhammad still has yet to fully apologize for his most recent actions, an examination of the social media channels maintained by him and the mosque he leads shows an alarming amount of bigoted and anti-Jewish sentiments. While we are willing to engage in dialogue with NAACP national president Derrick Johnson, the Pennsylvania Conference and other local NAACP chapters, our obligation to oppose hate and discrimination will prevent us from working with the Philadelphia chapter while Mr. Muhammad is employed there. We are proud and grateful for the dozens of local civic leaders and organizations who have joined us in condemning anti-Semitism and hate speech, and we look forward to working closely with them to build a society that is welcoming for people of all races and faiths.
Mr. Muhammad’s statement regarding his anti-Semitic Facebook post is utterly insufficient. Given the chance to apologize for his actions, he declined to do so. It is clear that Mr. Muhammad has no remorse for the pain he caused our Jewish community and all those who stand opposed to bigotry and discrimination. However, we will not allow this incident to prevent us from continuing our work to unite Philadelphia’s Black and Jewish communities in our common pursuit of racial equality and religious tolerance and understanding.
STATEMENT ISSUED 7/24
On Thursday, Rodney Muhammad, President of the Philadelphia NAACP, 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 Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia deplores Mr. Muhammad’s actions, and calls on the NAACP to remove him from his position immediately. Hate speech and the repulsive, purposeful spread of anti-Semitic imagery and messages can never be tolerated. 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.