Anti-Semitism is threatening America
Over the past couple of months, there has been an unexpected spike in the dissemination of antisemitic rhetoric and ideas. This hate has primarily been propagated by unhinged celebrities who are using their platforms to repeat misinformation that they have absorbed from racist propaganda. Musician Ye West recently went on an international press tour, using every opportunity he was given to spread lies about the Jewish community and inspire hostility against them. Basketball player Kyrie Irving also revealed his perspective on the subject when he posted the link to a documentary that supported many antisemitic ideas.
As a society, we are correct to be outraged by these statements, but we should not be surprised by the absurdity of these public figures. The same propaganda that is radicalizing many under-educated Americans is also showing up on West and Irving’s timelines, fooling them in the same manner. Ignorance is not innocence and is in no way an excuse for their actions.
Following this mainstream display of anti-Semitism, both superstars suffered significant fallout due to the comments they made. Aside from the extreme public backlash, there were also consequences that directly impacted their careers and income. Companies were very quick to drop West and Irving and distance themselves as their statements violated ethical policies. Brands like Adidas and Nike removed sponsored products from shelves as an actionable response instead of just releasing a verbal statement.
While corporate America rarely does something praiseworthy, it is refreshing to see companies assign greater worth to human life than its bottom line. Both West and Irving offered the Jewish community empty notions of sorrow. Their apologies seem to be compelled by frustration with their punishment rather than the regret of hurting the Jewish community.
Some have argued the repercussions have been far too drastic. However, this is nothing compared to the hate and pain that Jewish Americans experience because of the ignorant assertions that influential people have made. By not rewarding bigoted voices we can prevent hateful ideas from being spotlighted rather than reacting to them.
This hate impacts our community as well. Lasell University is intertwined with Newton, one of America’s densest populations of Jewish citizens. According to Forward.com, Newton’s population is about 20 to 30 percent, meaning many of our neighbors have been the victims of this targeted hate. Lasell University has always been accepting and protective of marginalized groups and I expect this situation to be no different. I encourage our community to stay aware of this is- sue, speak out against it and do whatever you can to prevent hate against Jewish Americans