Rabbi Marc Schneier And Russell Simmons Voices On Antisemitism

In their work and in their friendship, Marc Schneier and Russell Simmons embody the principles of The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, which promotes face-to-face dialog as a means of combating discrimination.

The Jewish community simply cannot fight this battle alone.Fighting antisemitism is not exclusively a Jewish issue. Antisemitism is just another form of racism. It's the same sickness, whether it's about Christians, about Islamophobia, which is horrible.

People are aggressively working on Black-Jewish and on Muslim-Jewish and on, and just dialogue with all ethnicities and religions is a blessed action. And that kind of spirit translates. The whole idea that the best defense for any group of people is what we do to defend other people. That idea. To spread that idea is a great part of it.

"Our greatest challenge is the Jewish-Muslim piece. But I know the success that we have enjoyed in bringing ethnicities together. And that's really our, that's our shared passion, trying to create some kind of relationship engaging Jews and Muslims in this country and see if we can set that standard," said Marc Schneier.

"After 2000 years of our people's persecution and oppression and subjugation, and all the horrors, we are enjoined in the Bible that...remember that we too were strangers in Egypt. And that we too must fight and protect the rights of others,"Schneier added.

"I think we're looking at a whole world full of people on the fence. And you're looking at people who would be fundamentalists or would be loving people. And it depends on the moves that we make, what they become. The world will become what we envision it to be. And if we are fearful, and we think we should tense up and prepare for an ongoing battle, then that's what we'll have. But if we are open and we prepare for promoting dialogue and love, and a better understanding of each other, and tolerance and so forth, that's what the world will become, a more tolerant, loving place. So each individual that stands up is a part of a bigger prayer," said Russell Simmons.

And whether it's the Holocaust, whether it's Darfur, whether it's Islamophobia, no one should have to fight their battles alone. And I believe that's what this partnership brings to the table, that no one should have to fight alone.

Russell Simmons is a co-founder of the hip-hop label Def Jam Recordings and creator of the Phat Farm sportswear brand. Marc Schneier is an Orthodox rabbi. Though they are perhaps not the likeliest of partners, Simmons and Schneier serve as chairman and president of The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. In their work and in their friendship, they embody the principles of the foundation, which promotes face-to-face dialog as a means of combating discrimination.

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