When controversy erupted over NBA star Kyrie Irving’s endorsement of an antisemitic movie, NBA All Star Charles Barkley called for Irving’s suspension. He also asked why the NBA suspends players for hateful comments about other groups, but not Jews. His fellow NBA All Star Shaquille O’Neal agreed with Barkley. Even though the NBA’s commissioner is Jewish, it took the NBA far too long to suspend Irving. Moreover, it did so only after Irving was given multiple opportunities to apologize, which he would not do.
The Irving controversy came on the heels of Ye’s antisemitic rants, which prompted several companies to forgo millions of dollars in order to break ties with the musician. Ironically, many have reacted to both controversies by repeating the antisemitic libel that the Jews wield near-omnipotent political power and influence in America and the world at large.
This is an ancient libel, made infamous by the antisemitic forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” This book alleged that there is a group of Jewish leaders that controls the actions of numerous nations, even though history has shown that most countries have been at best antagonistic to Jewish interests. At worst, they have been openly murderous.
The U.N., the representative body for all the world’s nations, is notoriously anti-Israel. In 2021, its General Assembly passed 14 anti-Israel resolutions compared to four resolutions against other countries. Just one nation out of almost two hundred is singled out for such hatred.
Recently, the General Assembly voted 98-17 to take Israel to the International Criminal Court for its conduct of the so-called “occupation” of Palestinian Arab territories, which according to the U.N. include eastern Jerusalem, the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. These votes alone prove the extraordinary antisemitic and anti-Israel hatred embraced by much of the world.
Moreover, Jews who are in powerful positions are often unable to protect Jewish interests or find themselves betrayed by non-Jewish rulers.
For example, in the late 1400s, Don Isaac Abarbanel assisted King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, yet he was unable to prevent them from expelling Spain’s Jews in 1492. To his credit, Abarbanel left the country with his fellow Jews even though Ferdinand and Isabella asked him to stay. One third of Spain’s Jewish population died during the expulsion.
In a more recent case, in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Jewish Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, was totally unable to persuade Roosevelt to allow the ship St. Louis, carrying 973 Jewish refugees, to disembark in America. Morgenthau also failed to convince Roosevelt to bomb the railroad lines to Auschwitz, which would have impeded the murder of some 10,000 Jews a day.
Shortly after the Holocaust, the nations of the world—including the U.S.—refused to give arms to the new State of Israel so it could fight off a genocidal attack by five Arab nations. Czechoslovakia was the lone exception. In 1967, Israel faced down another genocidal attack with no allies whatsoever. American Jewish lobbying completely failed to convince President Lyndon Johnson to arm or support Israel.
So much for Jewish power.
Things are not much different today. For example, Jews do have prominent positions in news media. Yet The New York Times, owned by the descendants of the Jewish Sulzberger family, outrageously downplayed the Holocaust and has long been notoriously anti-Israel. It is currently covering up the numerous physical attacks on Jews in Brooklyn. In the same way, there are indeed many Jews who work in Hollywood, but the last major movie portraying Israel in a positive light was shortly after the successful Entebbe raid in 1976.
This month, FBI Director Christopher Wray noted, “A full 63% of religious hate crimes are motivated by antisemitism—targeting a group that makes up just 2.4% of our population.” Yet what has been the reaction to those who incite this violence? Barkley is quite correct that antisemitic comments are treated differently than other hate speech.
For instance, Rep. Rashida Tlaib has faced no consequences for advocating Israel’s destruction. Her fellow Democrats continue to treat her and fellow antisemite Ilhan Omar as honored colleagues rather than shunning them outright. The antisemitic supermodels Bella and Gigi Hadid had no problem finding jobs with Adidas, even though Adidas dropped Ye for his antisemitic comments.
It is quite clear that antisemitism is largely tolerated in the United States and the world in general. There are only consequences when the antisemitism—like Ye’s—is so over the top that it becomes embarrassing to simply do nothing. This is not the case with any other type of hatred. Such tolerance for antisemitism only allows it to spread and puts every American Jew in danger.