Jewish football star Julian Edelman reaches out to discuss anti-Semitism, racism

New England Patriots star receiver Julian Edelman wants to talk anti-Semitism with DeSean Jackson, who posted Hitler quotes last week.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

New England Patriots star wide-receiver Julian Edelman reached out Thursday to the National Football League football player who posted anti-Semitic quotes, telling DeSean Jackson he wanted to have an “uncomfortable” talk about anti-Semitism and racism, but it would be with “compassion, empathy and love.”

Edelman, one of a handful of Jewish NFL players, was responding to the controversy surrounding Jackson, who posted anti-Semitic statements attributed to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler that accused “white Jews” of having a “plan for world domination.”

Jackson subsequently apologized after receiving backlash for sharing the anti-Semitic post on social media, in addition to other posts he made expressing support for the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan.

Edelman posted a selfie-video on his social media feeds in which he discussed being Jewish and being exposed to anti-Semitism, and he offered to go with Jackson to Washington, D.C. to tour the Holocaust Memorial and the Museum of African American History and Culture.

Wearing a silver Star of David on a chain around his neck, Edelmen said, “We’ve communicated over social media. I’ve got nothing but respect for his game.”

“I know he said some ugly things, but I do see an opportunity to have a conversation.”

Turning directly to Jackson, Edelman said, “How about we go to D.C. and I take you to the Holocaust Museum, and then you take me to the Museum of African American History and Culture – afterwards we grab some burgers and we have those uncomfortable conversations.”

Speaking about his own background, Edelman said he is “proud of my Jewish heritage, and for me it’s not just about religion, it’s about community and culture as well.”

Edelman has three Super Bowl championship rings and in 2018 was the first Jewish football player to be chosen as the most valuable player in the championship game. He has been to Israel several times with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who sponsored Israel’s only football stadium in Jerusalem.

“I’m unusual because I didn’t identify as Jewish until later in my life. Whenever I encountered hatred it never really felt like it was aimed at me,” Edelman said in his video. “It was only after I was part of this community that I learned how destructive hate is.”

“Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest forms of hatred. It is rooted in ignorance and fear,” he said, sharing that in a 2011 game he was called a “kike” on the football field.

“There’s no room for anti-Semitism in this world,” Edelman said, but then spoke about how Jews and Blacks had to work together to fight hate.

“Even though we are talking about anti-Semitism, I don’t want to distract from how important the Black Lives Matter movement is and how we need to stay behind it. I think the Black and Jewish communities have a lot of similarities.”

“One unfortunate similarity is that they are both attacked by the ignorant and the hateful,” Edelman said, admitting it’s hard to see the challenges faced by a community when you are not part of it.

“What we need to do is: we need to listen, we need to learn, we need to act.”

“We need to have those uncomfortable conversations if we’re going to have real change,” Edelman said. “To that end, DeSean, let’s do a deal,” he said, tossing out the challenge to Jackson to go to Washington together.

“This world needs a little more love, compassion and empathy,” Edelman concluded.