Hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons deleted a tweet eulogizing Ariel Sharon, in which he praised the former Israeli prime minister for his work promoting “tolerance,” following backlash from his 3 million followers. He later admitted that he had confused Sharon with current Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Simmons’ original tweet, deleted shortly after it was posted, read, “R.I.P. my friend Ariel Sharon great pleasure working with you..special occasions your work to promote tolerance was inspiring.”

Simmons explained in a later tweet:


Perhaps to prove that he actually knew something about the Middle East, Simmons was sure to shoot out a cluster of tweets on Sunday about his work with the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, which promotes Muslim-Jewish and black-Jewish relations.

“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 tweeted, adding: “During that trip to Israel, where I met with chief rabbi of Israel and grand mufti of Palestinian ppl, we launched 20 programs for ?@FFEUny.”

He made no mention of how, during that trip, he compared the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, Abraham Foxman, to Louis Farrakhan. Unless, of course, he deleted that one before anyone noticed.