A New York City lawmaker said Thursday that an animal rights activist should apologize for comparing horse-drawn carriages in Central Park to the Holocaust.
Councilman David Greenfield issued a sharply worded statement, saying that Russell Simmons, a fashion magnate, “crossed the line” by comparing the suffering of animals to the six million Jews killed during World War II.
“Russell Simmons means well, but has crossed the line in comparing horse carriages to the Holocaust and owes the Jewish community an apology,” Greenfield said. “The Holocaust was the most horrendous act of genocide in modern history. Nothing should be compared to the systemic abuse, torture and murder of over 6 million human beings.”
Simmons, an African-American who also compared the horses to the plight of slavery, refused to apologize, telling the Observer that he used his words carefully.
“If the councilman is that upset, then I’m sorry,” Simmons said, “but my intention is not to offend the Jewish community but wake up the human family. We all agree the Holocaust is a horrific event.”
Greenfield insinuated that the latest comment may lead him to vote not to ban the carriages, something which Mayor Bill de Blasio promised in the run-up to his mayoral campaign in 2013.
“Quite frankly, I am one of many council members who is undecided on the horse-carriage ban,” Greenfield said. “Mr. Simmons doesn’t help his cause when he engages in outrageous hyperbole that minimizes the murder of much of my grandparents’ family.”