Erykah Badu, an American singer-songwriter, has been condemned by the ADL after claiming that she “sees the good in everybody”, including Adolf Hitler, in an interview with Vulture.
She was asked about a 2008 trip to the Palestinian Territories in which she was criticised for denying Louis Farrrakhan’s antisemitism, who has a long history of antisemitic comments, which can be read about here. Badu claimed that she sees “good in everybody”, saying:
“I’m not Muslim, I’m not Christian, I’m not anything; I’m an observer who can see good things and bad things. If you say something good about someone, people think it means that you’ve chosen a side. But I don’t choose sides. I see all sides simultaneously. I’m also okay with anything I had to say about Louis Farrakhan. But I’m not an antisemitic person”.
She then continued to say “I don’t even know what antisemitic was before I was called it. I’m a humanist. I see good in everybody. I saw something good in Hitler. He was a wonderful painter”.
When she was challenged on this she retracted her assertion that Hitler was a wonderful painter, yet continued to try to find ways to defend him, stating “Poor thing. He had a terrible childhood”.
Having previously defended a notorious antisemite, Badu now seems to be trying to find any excuse to portray Hitler as a person with salvageable moral qualities, something which is almost invariably a precursor to downplaying the nature of Hitler’s crimes. Describing Hitler as a “poor thing” is an outright statement of sympathy for the man responsible for the extermination of 6 million Jews and millions of others.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League responded to the comments almost immediately. In a statement shortly after the interview was released he wrote:
“I also like to think that there is good in all people, but Hitler is pure evil. I don’t care if he painted or was a vegetarian; Hitler is responsible for the deaths of 6 million Jews & a war that claimed the lives of tens of millions. Shame on you for downplaying that. You are a role model to many, and as such, you should immediately apologize for these irresponsible and misguided comments”