JTA — In the wake of a string of high-profile controversies involving the rapper Ice Cube and NFL player DeSean Jackson, two prominent Black commentators called out anti-Semitism in the Black community this week: NBA Hall of Famer-turned columnist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and sports journalist Jemele Hill.
In his latest column for The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, Abdul-Jabbar argues that there has been a “shocking lack of massive indignation” over recent statements on social media by various sports and entertainment figures that perpetuate anti-Semitic canards.
He cites messages posted by Ice Cube; Jackson; comedian Chelsea Handler, who is Jewish but boosted a defense of Louis Farrakhan’s history of anti-Semitic remarks; and the former NBA player Stephen Jackson, who in defending DeSean Jackson’s original post brought up a conspiracy theory involving the Rothschilds and world domination.
Abdul-Jabbar, who has written a regular column since 2017, says Hollywood and the sports world did a collective “shrug of meh-rage” in response to those incidents.
“[I]f it’s OK to discriminate against one group of people by hauling out cultural stereotypes without much pushback, it must be OK to do the same to others,” he wrote.
A day earlier, in a column in The Atlantic, Jemele Hill wrote that “Regardless of what happens with Jackson, the unfortunate truth is that some Black Americans have shown a certain cultural blindspot about Jews.”
She called on DeSean Jackson, who has since talked with a Holocaust survivor, to take up Jewish NFL player Julian Edelman’s offer to visit the US Holocaust Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture together in Washington, DC.
Abdul-Jabbar and Hill aren’t the first leading Black sports commentators to weigh in on DeSean Jackson and Stephen Jackson’s comments — Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon voiced their thoughts on the topic last week.