July 16, 2020


The Disturbing Rise of Anti-Semitism Among Black Celebs (Cassie Da Costa, Jul. 15, 2020 , Daily Beast)

Recently, big-name Black entertainers like Ice Cube, Nick Cannon, Diddy, the Jacksons (Stephen and DeSean), and even beloved Black author Alice Walker, have spouted age-old anti-Semitic talking points--usually by quoting known bigot Louis Farrakhan--insisting that "the Jews" run everything, and locating Black liberation in anti-Jewish suspicion. 

On his podcast, Cannon spoke to fellow anti-Semitic conspiracist Professor Griff, formerly of Public Enemy (he was kicked out of the group for his anti-Jewishness, specifically for calling Jews "wicked"), agreeing with Griff's racist view that Jewish people control media and claiming that "Semitic people are Black people" so Black people cannot be anti-Semitic. After Cannon was dropped by ViacomCBS for his comments, Diddy then took to Instagram and invited Cannon to his network RevoltTV. On July 4th, Diddy's RevoltTV broadcast a speech by Farrakhan--a man who has praised Hitler and repeatedly calls Jews "Satanic"--worldwide, and also shared a Farrakhan video on Twitter in which the Nation of Islam leader called the Jewish head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, "Satan" and claimed that "those of you that say you are the Jews, I will not even give you the honor of calling you a Jew. You are not a Jew. You are Satan, and it is my job now to pull the cover off of Satan so that every Muslim when he sees Satan, pick up a stone, as we do in Mecca." 

The rapper and actor Ice Cube, for his part, has shared a series of anti-Semitic memes, and even lobbed an anti-Semitic trope at Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for denouncing anti-Semitism in a Hollywood Reporter op-ed, accusing him of accepting "30 pieces of silver" in exchange for the column.

It's difficult to make sense of the smoke-and-mirrors anti-Semitism that emanates from Farrakhan, who feels he gets to decide who the real Jews are and then leverages any critique amongst Jewish-led institutions he doesn't like on the basis of a Jewish identity he refuses to recognize. This is not too different from the "criminals" Trump claims are crossing the border from Mexico in droves--demonizing characterizations and willful erasure allow racist ideas to haphazardly take the form of concern. In the same way, Cannon denies that what he is saying is anti-Semitic because the only Semitic people he recognizes are Black people. 

What's more is that the crafted incoherence of these ideas make them easy to gloss over or outright ignore. Anti-Black and anti-Jewish racism are not interchangeable realities, but they are related and feed upon each other, undermining the liberation of Black and Jewish people (and, of course, Black Jewish people) alike. Like anti-Black racism, anti-Jewish racism cannot have a place in any legitimate anti-racist liberation movement, yet unfortunately, like with anti-Black racism, those who spout anti-Jewish ideas refuse to acknowledge their prejudice, instead qualifying their hateful words with claims to good intentions. 

...does not entitle you to discriminate against others.

I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State: For decades I argued for separation between Israelis and Palestinians. Now, I can imagine a Jewish home in an equal state. (Peter Beinart, July 8, 2020, NY Times)

About 640,000 Jewish settlers now live in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the Israeli and American governments have divested Palestinian statehood of any real meaning. The Trump administration's peace plan envisions an archipelago of Palestinian towns, scattered across as little as 70 percent of the West Bank, under Israeli control. Even the leaders of Israel's supposedly center-left parties don't support a viable, sovereign Palestinian state. The West Bank hosts Israel's newest medical school.

If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fulfills his pledge to impose Israeli sovereignty in parts of the West Bank, he will just formalize a decades-old reality: In practice, Israel annexed the West Bank long ago.

Israel has all but made its decision: one country that includes millions of Palestinians who lack basic rights. Now liberal Zionists must make our decision, too. It's time to abandon the traditional two-state solution and embrace the goal of equal rights for Jews and Palestinians. It's time to imagine a Jewish home that is not a Jewish state.

Equality could come in the form of one state that includes Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, as writers such as Yousef Munayyer and Edward Said have proposed; or it could be a confederation that allows free movement between two deeply integrated countries. (I discuss these options at greater length in an essay in Jewish Currents). The process of achieving equality would be long and difficult, and would most likely meet resistance from both Palestinian and Jewish hard-liners.

But it's not fanciful. The goal of equality is now more realistic than the goal of separation. The reason is that changing the status quo requires a vision powerful enough to create a mass movement. A fragmented Palestinian state under Israeli control does not offer that vision. Equality can. Increasingly, one equal state is not only the preference of young Palestinians. It is the preference of young Americans, too.

Critics will say binational states don't work. But Israel is already a binational state. Two peoples, roughly equal in number, live under the ultimate control of one government. (Even in Gaza, Palestinians can't import milk, export tomatoes or travel abroad without Israel's permission.) And the political science literature is clear: Divided societies are most stable and most peaceful when governments represent all their people.

That's the lesson of Northern Ireland. When Protestants and the British government excluded Catholics, the Irish Republican Army killed an estimated  1,750 people between 1969 and 1994. When Catholics became equal political partners, the violence largely stopped. It's the lesson of South Africa, where Nelson Mandela endorsed armed struggle until Blacks won the right to vote.

Posted by at July 16, 2020 8:09 AM