NAACP Silent About Philadelphia Leader’s Antisemitic Social Media Posts
Jonah Gottschalk and Cameron Gray
Last week the president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP and well-connected Democratic consultant Rodney Muhammad used his position to promote antisemitic content on social media. The high-profile action has met anger from local leaders, but silence from the national media and the national NAACP.
It marks just one of numerous recent instances of antisemitism from high-profile public figures, celebrities, and sports stars.
A Facebook post from Muhammad included images of three celebrities—Ice Cube, DeSean Jackson, and Nick Cannon—all of whom have recently been criticized for promoting antisemitic content or supporting those who do. Below them was a caricature of a Jewish man frequently used in white supremacist circles, along with a quote falsely attributed to Voltaire: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” The quote appears to actually be from a neo-Nazi cult leader.
While the post was eventually deleted, numerous other posts from Muhammad promoting antisemitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan remain up. Here’s one example.
Muhammad also made a post claiming numerous African American thinkers, such as Booker T Washington, were falsely labelled antisemitic in their day. No source is provided for the claim.
The NAACP is the nation’s largest and most influential civil rights organizations in the country, with more than 2 million claimed members.
Muhammad is also closely linked to the Philadelphia’s mayor, Jim Kenney. Kenney paid Muhammad nearly $100,000 for “consulting services” during his re-election campaign in 2015 while serving as the nominally partisan organization’s president. Muhammad has also been paid to lobby for the mayor’s soda tax—a role he did not disclose, landing him in legal trouble.
Local Anger, National Silence
Over the last five days local Jewish community groups, Kenney, three City Council members, the area’s representative to Congress, and Monday Pennsylvania’s Gov. Tom Wolf have all gone public condemning Muhammad’s antisemitic posts. Several have raised questions about his fitness for the role.
The anti-Semitic meme shared by Philadelphia NAACP president Minister Rodney Muhammad is vile.
Sharing this type of racist content is unacceptable—especially from a civic leader.
I’m joining the call for Minister Muhammad to resign. Hate has no place in Pennsylvania.
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) July 28, 2020
Despite the high-profile complaints, Muhammad has not stepped down, nor even apologized for the post. He eventually issued a short statement claiming the post had been “an attempt to start a dialogue around criticism and understanding,” and that he had “later learned… the quote and image had been used previously by white supremacists.” He went on to condemn antisemitism and hate speech.
His promotion of Farrakhan was never addressed.
The national NAACP has yet to issue a direct statement on the issue. It reposted Muhammed’s statement on its website and kept any mention of the controversy off their social media. As ofthis writing, there was no mention of the incident on NAACP’s Twitter or Facebook pages.
While other local NAACP leaders have stated their concern, they are unable to take any steps to remove the public official. Such steps must be ordered by the national organization, something it has not done.
The Federalist reached out for comment to the national NAACP, but it has so far declined to comment on the situation, including on whether Muhammed will face any consequences.
Swept Under the Rug
It hardly needs to be emphasized that what’s happening in Philadelphia is immensely important. An influential city leader is holding his position despite blatant antisemitism and calls from major local politicians.
But while local Philadelphia media covered the story, it was completely swept under the rug by the national media. There was no national coverage on Saturday. Sunday. Monday. And as of writing this Tuesday, still no national news outlets had mentioned the incident.
Saturday afternoon search for Philadelphia @NAACP leader Rodney Muhammad’s name@ABC News: Nothing@CBSNews: Nothing@NBCNews: Nothing@FoxNews: Nothing@CNN: Nothing@nytimes: Nothing@AP: Nothing@Reuters: Nothing#AntiSemitism, once again ignored by the national MSM https://t.co/9QlsaYWdh3
— Cameron Gray (@Cameron_Gray) July 25, 2020
Remember that the statement the NAACP posted was only from Muhammad, with nothing additional by the national President Derrick Johnson or anyone else in the national office. There was no mention of any sanction, firing, or resignation.
Where the story of the NAACP chapter president and political operative ends is yet to be seen. But most telling is that, according to the national media, the controversy never even began.