LOS ANGELES -- A rabbi who accused Madonna of insulting Jews in a version of her song "Justify My Love" said he's satisfied with her explanation, but he still hopes the song fades away quickly.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies denounced the "Beast Within Mix," one of several versions of the song released by Warner Bros.
In it Madonna quotes Revelation 2:9: "I know your tribulation and your poverty and the slander of those who say that they are Jews, but they are not, they are a synagogue of Satan."
Cooper wrote to Madonna's manager, Freddy DeMann, in a Jan. 2 letter that the center was outraged and wanted the quotation removed.
"The imagery of 'Jew as Devil' has led to untold violence against the Jewish people and slander against Judaism over the course of the last 2,000 years," Cooper wrote.
Madonna responded through her publicist.
"I certainly did not have any antisemitic intent when I included a passage from the Bible on my record. It was a commentary on evil in general. My message, if any, is pro-tolerance and anti-hate. The song is, after all, about love," said Madonna, who was raised a Roman Catholic.
Cooper said in an interview Friday that he took Madonna at her word.
"She was direct to the issue, she responded quickly, and we're relieved that she did so," the rabbi said. "The issue which remains is what kind of shelf life will her song have. We would hope that it won't have a much longer shelf life."
"Justify My Love" first generated controversy with its racy video, which was banned from MTV.