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Many hip-hop heavyweights are ignoring the concerns and pleas of the Jewish community and using their platform to promote outright propaganda

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Nick Cannon taking the time to learn about Judaism was a step in the right direction. But others are not following his lead. Photo: Loren Javier/Flickr via JNS

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There’s a scene in Straight Outta Compton where N.W.A. manager Jerry Heller (played by Paul Giamatti) and Eazy-E (played by Jason Mitchell) listen to Ice Cube’s diss track about them, “No Vaseline.” Heller immediately gets furious when he is called out for being Jewish and starts threatening to sue. 

Eazy, however, is nonplussed. “Jerry, you gotta relax,” he says, suggesting that Ice Cube doesn’t “even know what antisemitic means anyway. It’s a f***ing battle rap.”

With antisemitic tweets and theories being shared by rappers like Nick Cannon, Wiley, and Cube, this scene has played out in my head recently, because being ignorant or uneducated isn’t quite the same as being hateful.

As the director of Hasbara Fellowships Canada, which trains students to combat antisemitism and anti-Israel discrimination by educating others on campus, I have seen firsthand how meaningful and respectful dialogue can lead to personal growth. That’s why it was refreshing to see Cannon take the time to meet with a rabbi and learn more about Judaism. His apology on Twitter seemed sincere, as was his review of Bari Weiss’ book How to Fight Anti-Semitism

It was a step in the right direction. But others are not following his lead.

Wiley continued to rehash Naziesque tropes in his Instagram videos and Tweets before he was removed. Ice Cube seems unremorseful. Charlamagne Tha God claimed that “Jews have all the power.” Alongside other hip-hop heavyweights, they are ignoring the concerns and pleas of the Jewish community and using their platform to promote outright propaganda. That is not ignorance, it’s enmity.

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This spike in antisemitism from high-profile Black figures has been worrying to leading sports figures such as Charles Barkley and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. But there is one man who has worked decades for it to come to fruition: 

Louis “Jews are the devil” Farrakhan.

In the wake of the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd, and the fight for racial equality worldwide, Farrakhan has somehow managed to find an audience again. While mainstream publications seldom give him a voice, his sermons are being viewed by tens of millions who follow Madonna, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Cannon, Russell Simmons, Chelsea Handler, and others on Instagram.

To paraphrase Handler’s justification, Farrakhan’s experience as a Black American outweighed his utter loathing for Jewish people. While she eventually deleted her post, she has yet to seek education, like Cannon did, or address the harm she caused by exposing her followers to a man who aspires to be this generation’s Hitler. Nor has Madonna, Diddy, or Simmons.

The leader of The Nation Of Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan, said in his three hour speech on July 4, “They tell lies to make you think I am a bigot or antisemite, so that you won’t listen to what I’m saying."

Another example is rapper Jay Electronica, a proud Farrakhan disciple, who also made headlines recently for tweeting antisemitic conspiracy theories. In February, Electronica released A Written Testimony, a record that earned the praise of music pundits and reputable outlets alike – despite the usage of lyrics decrying “the Synagogue of Satan.” There was also something else notable about the album: it heavily featured a rapper by the name of Jay-Z.

He has won 22 Grammy Awards, most of any rapper, and his 14 number-one albums is the Billboard record for a solo artist. Along the way, he married Beyonce.

Unlike Wiley, the gross antisemitism in Electronica’s album barely made headlines save for a public spat with radio host Pete Rosenberg, and a few articles in Jewish media. Jay-Z did not earn any scorn for endorsing an album that helped feed lies about Jewish and Israeli people to unsuspecting listeners. 

These are the same theories Farrakhan promoted during his recent July 4 address on Diddy’s Revolt TV, where he claimed that “Jews hate me because I reveal their wickedness” and referred to the head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as “Satan.” After George Floyd’s murder, the ADL worked with several major companies such as Coca-Cola and Starbucks to stop advertising on Facebook, until the social media giant took a stronger stand against racism. The ADL is one of the oldest organizations in the United States with a mandate to fight hatred. Referring to its leader as “Satan” warrants the type of scorn reserved for the most evil and contemptible of men.

By the end of July, the online Jewish community launched a 48 hour boycott of Twitter after the platform allowed English rapper Wiley to rant for 12 hours spouting Jew-hate.

It is Farrakhan’s vile and inaccurate rhetoric that has directly inspired the likes of Electronica, Desean Jackson and others promoting antisemitism online. 

If you peruse through Nick Cannon’s recent photos on Instagram, you’ll see hundreds of commenters promoting Farrakhan’s brand of revisionist history, and contributing to the delegitimization of Jewish people by claiming they “aren’t the real Jews.” 

We are at a critical point in social discourse. While many are working towards eradicating hatred through education, Farrakhan is using this period of civil unrest to promote his own despicable agenda. His is not an ideology of justice and equality. Like the Nazis, he looks to scapegoat the Jewish people as the sole reason for the world’s problems. 

Jay-Z, Diddy, Madonna, Handler, Ice Cube, and any others who validated the dishonourable Louis Farrakhan are guilty of spreading misinformation and hate. If they truly care about the fight against bigotry, it is imperative they denounce him, apologize, and educate their followers about his history of wilful discrimination. After all, with great followership, comes great responsibility. 

If we agree that DeSean Jackson’s fake Hitler post and Wiley’s vindictive rants about Jews do not belong on social media, nor does Farrakhan. As Charles Barkley so eloquently said, you can’t beat hatred with more hatred.

Daniel Koren is the Canadian director of Hasbara Fellowships.

 
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Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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