Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman has extended an invitation to Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, after Jackson shared a series of anti-Semitic messages on Instagram over the weekend.
“I know he said some ugly things, but I do see an opportunity to have a conversation,” Edelman said in a video shared on social media Thursday morning. “I’m proud of my Jewish heritage and, for me, it’s not just about religion. It’s about community and culture as well.”
Edelman, whose father is Jewish, offered to meet up with Jackson in Washington D.C., so the pair could visit both the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Then, Edelman suggested, the two could eat some burgers and chat.
“This world needs a little more love, compassion, and empathy,” he said.
Jackson drew backlash after he posted a screenshot of a quote falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler, saying, in part, that the Jewish population “will extort America.” In another post, he showed support for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who is known for anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Jackson has since issued multiple apologies.
“I will fully educate myself and work with local and national organizations to be informed and make a difference in the community,” he wrote. “I will consider my words and actions moving forward.”
Edelman called the matter “a complicated issue.”
“I’m unusual because I didn’t identify as Jewish until later in my life,” he said. “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 and fear.”
In his remarks, Edelman noted he did not want to distract from the Black Lives Matter movement. He asked for everybody to listen, learn, act, and “have uncomfortable conversations” in order to create “real change.”
“I think the Black and Jewish communities have a lot of similarities,” Edelman said. “One unfortunate similarity is that they are both attacked by the ignorant and hateful.”
In December 2018, following the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Edelman spoke up about how he has been called slurs and has heard anti-Semitic taunts on the field. He also wore an Israeli baseball cap and a pair of customized cleats in remembrance of the 11 victims.
“There’s no room for anti-Semitism in this world,” Edelman said.