Finley: New face of anti-Semitism is black
The new face of anti-Semitism in America is increasingly black, liberal and famous.
Last weekend, LeBron James, the biggest name in basketball, posted on Instagram the lyrics to a song by the rapper 21 Savage.
The line James typed out to his followers feeds off the ancient libel against Jews, that they control the world's money supply: "We been getting that Jewish money, everything is Kosher."
James quickly apologized, saying he didn't understand the historical context of the slur, or even that it was offensive.
The NBA and James' Los Angeles Lakers accepted that lame excuse, and now want to move on. No mandatory sensitivity training for James, no scrutiny of pro basketball for evidence of a broader problem. Starbucks should cry foul.
James is in good company. Alice Walker, African-American novelist ("The Color Purple"), is being called out for her embrace of the notorious British Jew hater David Ickes, and for a poem she penned condemning Israel.
It's a fair argument that criticizing Israeli policies in regards to the Palestinians, as Walker does in her poem, doesn't automatically equate to anti-Semitism. But the author confirms her bigotry by rambling on about the evils of the Talmud, the Jewish holy book.
Leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have shunned Jews, who played such a critical role in the struggle for civil rights, and produced a manifesto declaring Israel guilty of genocide and apartheid.
Tamika Mallory, co-chairman of Women's March Inc., is accused of marginalizing Jewish women. A women's march scheduled for next month in Chicago blew up over charges of anti-semitism. Mallory has publicly praised Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan, who is vying with white nationalist David Duke for the title of Most Hateful Man in America.
Farrakhan is still welcome on the public stage even though he now describes Jews as "termites" and argues they are the embodiment of Satan.
How does someone who spouts that venom get hugs and handshakes from members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Maxine Waters of California, who attended one of his rallies?
I know nothing of the rapper 21 Savage. But he also apologized for the lyrics of his song and, like James, expressed amazement they were deemed offensive. Would he be as nonchalant if a white singer threw around such trite stereotypes about blacks?
As for James, it's hard to fathom the NBA superstar, who earns a $35.5 million salary and has recently likened himself to a slave, could be that clueless, particularly since he is so acutely attuned to any slight against his own people.
Years ago I wrote a column asking when Jews got moved to the back of the bus of victimhood. I questioned then why folks can say hideous things about Jews and not be driven from the spotlight (the Rev. Jesse Jackson). The question persists today.
Anti-Semitism is the most murderous force in history. It's not OK to engage in it as casually as James did, nor as whole-heartedly as Farrakhan does.
You don't get a pass because you're a member of a group that has also endured racism and discrimination. Hate is hate.
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