Russel Simmons, founder of hip-hop recording label Def Jam Records and clothing lines such as Phat Farm, eulogized former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Saturday after the former leader passed away, then took it back.
Initially Simmons appeared to echo many world leaders in expressing sorrow over Sharon's passing on his Twitter account.
"R.I.P. my friend Ariel Sharon great pleasure working with you...special occasions, your work to promote tolerance was inspiring," wrote Simmons Saturday night at 10:15 p.m.
However, after several responses of criticism over the Tweet, Simmons Tweeted again, this time writing:
"Confused Ariel Sharon with my longtime friend, (President) Shimon Peres. Certainly was no fan of Sharon. Sorry for mistake. I deleted tweet," he explained. “On stair master…a little light headed. confused ariel sharon with longtime friend, shimon peres. sadly sharon promoted war, not peace,” he added.
In June of 2012, Simmons had attended President Shimon Peres’s “Facing Tomorrow” Conference in Jerusalem, representing Rabbi Marc Schneier’s Foundation for Ethnic Understanding—for which Simmons has served as chairman over the last 12 years.
The end of his trip was marred by comments he made likening Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s alienation of Jews to Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman’s alienation of African Americans.
Foxman said in a statement that hearing “doublespeak” from Simmons was not surprising because “he’s been doing that for years.” However, what did surprise the ADL leader was the fact that Simmons was invited to speak at the conference.
“What’s disappointing is that someone who has a history of having a blind spot to one of the most vociferous and ugly anti-Semites would be given a platform in Jerusalem,” Foxman said.