Edelman, who is Jewish, opened by explaining that he needed a few days to collect his thoughts and write down what he wanted to say. What followed was not just a condemnation of anti-Semitism, but an attempt to bridge the gap between the Black community and the Jewish community.
Edelman didn’t identify as Jewish until adulthood, and discussed what it was like to hear people being hateful without feeling it was directed at him.
“I’m proud of my Jewish heritage, and for me it’s not just about religion. It’s about community and culture as well. 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. 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’s rooted in ignorance in fear.”
Edelman recalled experiencing hatred that was directed at him in 2011, when he was called a Jewish slur on the football field.
“There’s no room for anti-Semitism in this world,” he said.
Edelman then discussed his support of Black Lives Matter, and his goal of fostering compassion and understanding between two communities who are often the target of so much hate.
“Even though we’re talking about anti-Semitism, I don’t want to distract 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. It’s really hard to see the challenges a community can face when you’re not part of it. So 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 wrapped up his video with an offer to Jackson: a trip to Washington, D.C. for a cultural exchange.
“So to that end, DeSean, let’s do a deal. 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? And then afterwards we’ll grab some burgers and we’ll have those uncomfortable conversations. This world needs a little more love, compassion and empathy. Take care.”
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