Philadelphia NAACP president under fire for social media post


UPDATED: 1:25 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — There's outrage in the Philadelphia Jewish community over a now-deleted Facebook post by the leader of a local civil rights organization, containing a meme being described as anti-Semitic.

The now-deleted meme was found on the page of Philadelphia NAACP president Rodney Muhammad. It featured a caricature known as the "happy merchant." 

"Probably the most anti-Semitic meme out there," said Steven Rosenberg, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, "originating from a neo-Nazi white supremacist back probably as far as the early 2000s, maybe earlier."

The post also included photos of Ice Cube, Nick Cannon, and DeSean Jackson, who have all recently made anti-Semitic comments online, and was accompanied by a quote that read, "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

"Ice Cube has doubled down on his anti-Semitism," detailed Rosenberg, "but Nick Cannon and DeSean Jackson have not only apologized, (they) have been working hard to work with the Jewish community. Particularly, our concern here in Philadelphia was DeSean Jackson."

Rosenberg made it clear that they don't believe the post is representative of the NAACP, and that they simply want Muhammad to be held accountable. The Jewish Federation is asking for his removal from the organization. 

In a statement to NBC 10 Philadelphia, Muhammad said in part, "I was not familiar with the images at the bottom of the post. I was responding to the individuals not able to speak out."

"He's clearly a smart guy," said Rosenberg of Muhammad. "You don't attain that position without being a smart man and there's no hiding on social media, so know what you post. Know what that image means and know that if you're going to offend somebody, you're probably going to get hit for it and it’s not worth it."

He added that the Black and Jewish communities in Philadelphia have been collaborative, and they will continue to do so.

The NAACP has yet to respond to KYW Newsradio's requests for comment, but Muhammed spoke to reporters in 2019 about the impact of spreading hateful ideas on social media, when 10 police officers were pulled from duty in June of last year after posting racist and derogatory messages online.

"These revelations that these posts are showing us is a clear signal that we are not safe," he said, "especially people of color, people of ethnicities that are different from those policemen that put up the postings and those of us that may not be of their religion."