Hip hop mogul Russell Simmons’s more than 300,000 Twitter followers were surprised to learn late Saturday night that the Def Jam co-founder considered former prime minister Ariel Sharon a friend.
Then again, maybe it wasn’t such a surprise in light of photos of Sharon with Michael Jackson that cropped up across social media.
In any case, Simmons tweeted “R.I.P. my friend Ariel Sharon great pleasure working with you, special occasions your work to promote tolerance was inspiring (sic).”
Soon after, the Phat Farm owner responded to an inquiry by The Jerusalem Post on Twitter as to the nature of his work with Sharon as follows: “Confused Ariel Sharon with longtime friend, Shimon Peres. Certainly was no fan of Sharon. Sorry for mistake.”
Simmons’ response also came after many anti-Israel tweets in response to his original message, calling Sharon a murderer, comparing him to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and Hitler, and using the foul language that is common to Twitter arguments.
In a subsequent tweet, Simmons further clarified that he was “on stair master…a little light headed. Confused ariel Sharon with longtime friend, shimon peres. Sadly Sharon promoted war, not peace.”
Many responded by questioning Simmons’s friendship with Peres, considering that he and Sharon don’t particularly resemble one another.
One sarcastic tweet read: “Totally understand, man. Us Jews all look alike.”
On Sunday morning, Simmons tweeted about the Foundation of Ethnic Understanding, which promotes Muslim- Jewish relations and black-Jewish relations.
“Very proud of the work, as Chairman of FFEUny, we do around the world to promote a more peaceful relationship between Muslims and Jews,” Simmons tweeted. “Last year, I spoke at Shimon Peres’ conference in Israel about our work at the FFEUny to bring Jews and Muslims together in peace.”
Simmons came under fire last year while showing his friendship at a panel on Muslim-Jewish relations at Peres’s Presidential Conference.
The hip hop personage said Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham Foxman alienated African Americans, just like Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan alienated Jewish people.