Lemon appeared on "The View" Tuesday to promote his new book "This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism". During the conversation, Lemon insisted that the nation needs to be "realistic" when speaking about God and The Bible. According to him, that starts by presenting "the true identity of Jesus" as a "Black or Brown person."
"I think we should start with a true depiction of what Jesus looked like and put that in your home," Lemon said. "Either a Black Jesus or a Brown Jesus, because we knew Jesus looked more like a Muslim or someone who is dark, rather than someone who is blond, a blond-looking carpenter.
"And when your children ask you, 'Who is this?' [you respond], 'This is Jesus. Jesus was Middle Eastern. Bethlehem was not in Sweden. Jesus does not look like the popular depiction we have in our churches and our homes and that we see all over the media,'" Lemon continued. "And I think that is a good place to start. And that’s a good place that your kids will ask questions and then you can go from there and then we can — then we can come to a true reality about what America really is. And then try to figure out how we fix this issue of racism in the country. It is a spell that must be broken."
Lemon's remarks have sparked an intense backlash on social media.
Michael Dickson, the executive director of the pro-Israel group StandWithUs, tweeted at Lemon that he had "inadvertently contributed to the erasure of Jewish identity. You told people to 'present the true identity of Jesus, as a [B]lack or [B]rown person.. more like a Muslim or someone who is dark.' Jesus was a Jew."
"You rightly asked for a truthful conversation about who Jesus was in order to foster understanding," Dickson wrote in a subsequent tweet Wednesday. "Omitting the actual truth erases the very identity, heritage and birthplace of Jewish people. It also denies the diversity of Jews, who are [B]lack, [B]rown, [W]hite and everything in between. I am sure this was not your intention and hope you will correct the record."
StopAntisemitism.org agreed, tweeting: "According to @donlemon there are no [B]lack or Brown Jews in the Middle East ... only Muslims. The erasure by a top CNN reporter is quite frankly not only startling but frightening."
CNN did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.