News from July 20 to July 26

Madonna/Wiley/Jay Electronica, Netanyahu protests, and honorable mentions

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More celebrities make antisemitic social media posts:

Madonna: On July 4, famous singer Madonna shared the trailer of a speech notorious antisemite Louis Farrakhan was set to deliver later that day. Although the trailer itself does not contain any overtly antisemitic language, the post was recognized by some, including actor Josh Malina, as amplifying an antisemitic voice. Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, has a long history of antisemitic statements. In his July 4 speech, Farrakhan referred to ADL CEO Jason Greenblatt as “satan.” Madonna’s post has over 700,000 views.

Wiley: On Friday and Saturday, British rapper Wiley went on an antisemitic Twitter rant which led to his suspension from Twitter for a week. Among other comments, Wiley said Jews were “cowards” and “snakes.” Wiley’s manager, who is Jewish, said that his management group was cutting its ties with the rapper. In response to the incident, some Jewish groups began circulating the hashtag “#NoSafeSpaceForJewHate” because they felt Twitter was slow to respond to a very public episode of antisemitism. Various celebrities and high-profile Twitter users have organized a digital protest related to the hashtag where they will not use Twitter for 48 hours starting on Monday.

Jay Electronica: On Saturday, rapper and producer Jay Electronica accused Rabbi Abraham Cooper, who recently recorded a long video with Nick Cannon discussing Judaism and antisemitism, of lying. He also said the Talmud consists of “vile teachings.” This is not the first time Electronica has been accused of antisemitism; earlier this year, he released an album that had lyrical references to the Rothschilds and Farrakhan’s notorious “Synagogue of Satan” descriptor of Judaism. 

Further reading:

Large protests against Netanyahu continue around Israel:

What happened? Thousands gathered outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem on Saturday to protest his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and corruption scandals. The protests, which began about two weeks ago, have spread widely around Israel. On Saturday, demonstrators gathered around nearly 250 overpasses around Israel during the day. 

Is that all? Not quite. While the protests themselves are a big story, the Israeli police’s reaction to the demonstrations has also been controversial. On Thursday, Israeli police deployed water cannons to disperse protestors near the Prime Minister’s residence after demonstrators remained after the government-imposed curfew. Israeli riot police have been making frequent arrests of protestors and using forceful methods to scatter the crowds. One man was hit directly in the face with a water cannon, despite rules against aiming for the head. At the same time, some counterprotests have turned violent, as some protestors have reported being pepper-sprayed or even stabbed by supporters of the Prime Minister. 

Though the protests have grown, the government does not seem to be backing down. Just last week, Israeli public security minister Amir Ohana suggested that the police should crack down harder on the demonstrations. For context, he thought the initial police response was weak, and he wants the protests to be treated the same as if they were in Haredi or Ethiopian communities.

Further reading: (i24)

Honorable Mentions:

On Mick Jagger’s 77th birthday, the secret Jewish history of the Rolling Stones by Seth Rogovoy (Forward)

Orthodox man attacked by three strangers on Brooklyn street corner by Aiden Pink (Forward)

Former Concentration Camp Guard, 93, Gets Suspended Sentence as Accessory to Murder of 5,230 by Toby Axelrod (JTA)

‘Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters’ by Mica Streiffer (Tablet)

What Will Tisha B’Av Look Like During a Pandemic? By Kylie Ora Lobell (Jewish Journal)

Twitter says it accidentally closed the accounts of some users for posting Star of David by Marcy Oster (JTA)

Disinfectant tunnels and 3 other Israeli ideas that may help tackle COVID-19 by TOI Staff (Times of Israel)

Jewish Federation Of Greater Philadelphia Calls For Philly NAACP President To Resign After Anti-Semitic Facebook Post by CBS3 Staff (CBS 3)

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