News from July 13 to July 19

Nick Cannon, Netanyahu's trial resumes, and honorable mentions

Hey everyone! As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions, comments, or concerns at newsofthejews@gmail.com. If you need good Jewish/Israeli shows or movies, make sure to check out this newsletter.

Nick Cannon fired from CBS Viacom for antisemitic podcast:

What happened? Nick Cannon was fired from CBS Viacom after videos re-emerged of him promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories on his podcast. In the videos, Cannon claimed that Jews are not the “true Hebrews” and that Jews stole the term Semitic from black people. He also referenced the Rothschilds and said that Jews use allegations of antisemitism to divide the black community. In an official statement, CBS Viacom said that “we are deeply troubled that Nick has failed to acknowledge or apologize for perpetuating anti-Semitism.”

Did he end up apologizing? Yes! In a lengthy Twitter thread, he wrote, “First and foremost I extend my deepest and most sincere apologies to my Jewish sisters and brothers for the hurtful and divisive words that came out of my mouth during my interview with Richard Griffin. They reinforced the worst stereotypes of a proud and magnificent people and I feel ashamed of the uninformed and naïve place that these words came from. The video of this interview has since been removed. While the Jewish experience encompasses more than 5,000 years and there is so much I have yet to learn, I have had at least a minor history lesson over the past few days and to say that it is eye-opening would be a vast understatement. I want to express my gratitude to the Rabbis, community leaders and institutions who reached out to me to help enlighten me, instead of chastising me. I want to assure my Jewish friends, new and old, that this is only the beginning of my education—I am committed to deeper connections, more profound learning and strengthening the bond between our two cultures today and every day going forward.”

Cannon also met with Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Rabbi Cooper and Cannon. Source: Cannon’s Instagram

How have people reacted? NBA legend Charles Barkley called out Nick Cannon, DeSean Jackson, Stephen Jackson, and Ice Cube for spreading bigotry, saying, “Man, what the hell are y’all doing? Y’all want racial equality, I don’t understand how insulting another group helps our cause. We can’t allow black people to be prejudiced also, especially if we’re asking for white folks to respect us…I’m so disappointed in these men but I don’t understand how you beat hatred with more hatred.”

Another NBA legend, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, wrote a piece for the Hollywood Reporter calling out antisemitism in sports and Hollywood. I highly recommend checking out his outstanding article.

Writer Soraya McDonald detailed her perspective as a Jew of color for The Undefeated. It’s important to remember that many people are members of the black and Jewish communities. Their voices are not only relevant but critical for this conversation. 

Rapper Ice Cube, who recently posted antisemitic content on his Twitter feed, accused Abdul-Jabbar of being a traitor for condemning Nick Cannon. 

Yet another NBA legend, Dwayne Wade, posted in support of Cannon but quickly deleted it and apologized for the post, saying, “I was too quick to respond without being fully informed about his hurtful anti-Semitic remarks. As you all know I have ZERO tolerance for any hate speech!”

I also want to add sports journalist Jemele Hill’s take on the DeSean Jackson incident. Although it’s not about Nick Cannon, I wanted to include it because it’s a great article. She was once suspended from ESPN for writing a joke about Hitler, but she is now using her platform to stand up for the Jewish community. You can find it here.

Further reading: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/19/nick-cannon-controversy-anti-semitism/ (WaPo)

Unrest in Israel amid the resumption of Netanyahu’s trial:

What happened? Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s criminal trial resumed on Sunday. The most significant development was that the court announced that it would begin hearing witnesses in January. The timeline was a compromise between the prosecution, who wanted to start calling witnesses this year and the defense, which wanted to delay the witness testimonies until mid to late 2021. Netanyahu’s lawyers claimed that they needed more time to develop their defense and that Coronavirus restrictions–specifically rules regarding masks–would interfere with the trial. Yossi Segev, Netanyahu’s lawyer, asked the judges, “How can we carry out a cross-examination when I am in a mask, the witness is in a mask and I don’t know if your honour is angry or happy?” The judges denied Segev’s request for an extended delay to the trial. Once the hearings begin, witnesses will be heard three times per week. 

What else is happening in Israel? Hundreds protested in Jerusalem outside the Prime Minister’s residence on Saturday night. Israeli police used water cannons to disperse the protestors, who were demonstrating against Netanyahu because of his corruption charges. After the protests concluded, Netanyahu tweeted out a picture of one of the protestors holding a Palestinian flag and alleged that the demonstrators were organized by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who “[partnered] with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.” Though Barak has been mentioned in the Epstein investigation, he has denied wrongdoing. In other news, despite Israel’s early success at containing Coronavirus, it has seen a surge of cases lately, which data suggests is related to Israel’s school openings (specifically, middle schools). In response, Israeli leaders have had to reimpose some shutdown orders, and Netanyahu has proposed a controversial stimulus program. Still, protests have broken out across Israel because many citizens have not been satisfied with the government’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Further reading:https://www.ynetnews.com/article/S1G5nCelv (Ynet)

Honorable Mentions:

What Hank Greenberg’s friendship with Jackie Robinson can teach us today by Rabbi Elliott Cosgrove (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

Auschwitz survivor to meet family of American GI whose kind gesture gave her hope by Aleesha Khaliq (CNN)

Vandal defaces two Sarasota Jewish temples by Earle Kimel and Carlos R. Munoz (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

How a Holocaust survivor’s book helped this Rohingyan refugee survive brutal detention by Amanda Levinson (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

Congressman John Lewis: “Getting Into Good Trouble” to Make a Better America by Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper (Jewish Journal)

For those of you who may never have heard of the AMIA bombing, an Iranian-backed Hezbollah unit led by Imad Mugniyah (who was later killed in a car-bombing attributed to Israel and the United States) carried out a suicide bombing mission in 1994 on an Argentinian Jewish community center building, killing eighty-five. The (ongoing) court case to hold the perpetrators responsible has featured some bizarre twists. In 2015, the chief prosecutor in the case, Alberto Nisman, died just hours before he was set to present evidence that then-President Christina Kirchner was covering up Iran’s involvement in the bombing. His death was later ruled a homicide. Kirchner currently serves as the Vice President of Argentina. I recommend reading these pieces because the AMIA bombing case is incredibly important to the Argentinian Jewish community:

Remembering the AMIA Bombing: Why It Matters 26 Years Later by JTA Staff (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) 

In significant meetings with Jewish leaders, Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez condemns the AMIA bombing by JTA Staff (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

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