Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is questioning how celebrities are getting away with blatantly perpetuating anti-Semitism more and more these days, especially in light of the larger-than-ever exposure of the Black Lives Matter movement. In a new column for The Hollywood Reporter, the NBA legend points out the lack of outrage toward celebrities for spewing anti-Semitic views, despite the growing support for BLM and the fight against systemic racism. In the piece, which dropped just hours before Nick Cannon was fired by Viacom on Tuesday (July 14th) for allegedly expressing anti-Semitic remarks during his rant about white people, Kareem expresses his fear that the lack of explicit outrage towards this anti-Semitism “in the face of sustained prejudice” will cause what he calls an “Apatholypse”—”apathy to all forms of social justice.”
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Turner Sports
He goes on to call out certain celebrities by name for their recent anti-Semitic tirades, including Ice Cube, who went on a bizarre Twitter spree last month in which he tweeted a number of “creepy symbols and images,” that “implied that Jews were responsible for the oppression of” Black people. Kareem also condemned NFL player DeSean Jackson for aligning himself with a quote incorrectly attributed to Hitler, that claimed that Jews had a plan to “extort America” and achieve “world domination.” Kareem mentions that former NBA player, Stephen Jackson, an activist and close friend of the late George Floyd, co-signed this horrific quote, although both he and DeSean have since apologized.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images
“It’s so disheartening to see people from groups that have been violently marginalized do the same thing to others without realizing that perpetuating this kind of bad logic is what perpetuates racism,” Kareem notes. He also points out that comedian Chelsea Handler, a Jewish woman herself, joined in on the anti-Semitic sentiments—albeit seemingly by accident—by posting a video in support of “notorious homophobe and anti-Semite” Louis Farrakhan on Instagram.
“While it’s possible the words were wrong, celebrities have a responsibility to get the words right,” Kareem insists. “It’s not enough to have good intentions, because it’s the actual deeds — and words — which have the real impact.” He goes on to quote MLK as well as Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” before concluding with, “If we’re going to be outraged by injustice, let’s be outraged by injustice against anyone.”