On Wednesday, rapper Ice Cube appeared to liken NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the Biblical Judas after Abdul-Jabbar wrote a column published in The Hollywood Reporter in which he criticized Ice Cube and other black celebrities for promoting anti-Semitism.
Ice Cube tweeted, “Shame on the Hollywood Reporter who obviously gave my brother Kareem 30 pieces of silver to cut us down without even a phone call.”
Shame on the Hollywood Reporter who obviously gave my brother Kareem 30 pieces of silver to cut us down without even a phone call. https://t.co/XRXPu0NRBW
— Ice Cube (@icecube) July 15, 2020
On June 11, The Daily Beast noted Ice Cube’s recent and not-so-recent forays into anti-Semitism, reporting that he “offered up a dog-whistle to his 5.3 million Twitter followers: a Star of David enveloping a black cube. He posted the image above a quadriptych of similar black cubes in four places around the world: California, New York, Denmark, and Australia … The image in question, what those with vivid imaginations have come to call the ‘Black Cube of Saturn,’ has ties to the occult—the entirely unsubstantiated idea being that it’s a sign of chaos. Further, placing it inside a Star of David heavily implies that the Jewish people are stoking the flames.”
Just prior to the Star of David post, Ice Cube posted a meme showing a mural by the graffiti artist Mear One that The Daily Beast said was “clearly intended to be anti-Semitic.”
“Some of the older white Jewish folk in the local community had an issue with me portraying their beloved #Rothschild or #Warburg etc as the demons they are,” Mear One said of his mural.
“He’s an ardent supporter of Louis Farrakhan, one of the world’s most prominent anti-Semites,” The Daily Beast noted, adding, “On ‘No Vaseline,’ a diss track off the 1991 album Death Certificate, the rapper took aim at Jerry Heller, N.W.A’s former manager, who is Jewish. ‘Get rid of that Devil real simple / Put a bullet in his temple / ’Cause you can’t be the N*gga 4 Life crew / With a white Jew telling you what to do…”
In his column, Abdul-Jabbar wrote:
Recent incidents of anti-Semitic tweets and posts from sports and entertainment celebrities are a very troubling omen for the future of the Black Lives Matter movement, but so too is the shocking lack of massive indignation. Given the New Woke-fulness in Hollywood and the sports world, we expected more passionate public outrage. What we got was a shrug of meh-rage …
Ice Cube’s June 10 daylong series of tweets, which involved some creepy symbols and images, in general implied that Jews were responsible for the oppression of blacks. NFL player DeSean Jackson tweeted out several anti-Semitic messages, including a quote he incorrectly thought was from Hitler (not your go-to guy for why-can’t-we-all-get-along quotes) stating that Jews had a plan to “extort America” and achieve “world domination.” Isn’t that SPECTRE’s job in James Bond movies?
These statements would be laughed at by anyone with a middle-school grasp of reason, but then former NBA player Stephen Jackson, a self-proclaimed activist, undid whatever progress his previous advocacy may have achieved by agreeing with DeSean Jackson on social media. Then he went on to talk about the Rothschilds owning all the banks and his support for the notorious homophobe and anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan. That is the kind of dehumanizing characterization of a people that causes the police abuses that killed his friend, George Floyd …
Yes, some of the above have apologized — DeSean Jackson, Stephen Jackson, Chelsea Handler — while others continue to defiantly marinate in their own prejudice. Their arrogant and irrational response to accusations of anti-Semitism, rather than dissuade us, actually confirmed people’s worst opinions. Ice Cube’s response was remorseless: “What if I was just pro-Black? This is the truth brother. I didn’t lie on anyone. I didn’t say I was anti anybody. DONT BELIEVE THE HYPE. I’ve been telling my truth.” His “truth” was clearly anti-Semitic but, like Trump, he believes his truth exists outside facts. As writer Roxane Gay summed it up: “It is impossible to take you seriously with regards to social justice or anything when you post anti-Semitic imagery. What the f*** are you doing?”
He continued, “…celebrities have a responsibility to get the words right. It’s not enough to have good intentions, because it’s the actual deeds — and words — which have the real impact. In this case destructive impact. In 2013, there were 751 reported hate crimes against Jews, but by 2019 the number had nearly tripled to 2,107. That same year, a gunman in San Diego entered a synagogue and murdered one person while wounding three.”
Abdul Jabbar concluded, “The lesson never changes, so why is it so hard for some people to learn: No one is free until everyone is free. As Martin Luther King Jr. explained: ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.’ So, let’s act like it. If we’re going to be outraged by injustice, let’s be outraged by injustice against anyone.”
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