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Ice Cube fired back at NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who blasted both the sports and entertainment industries for a lack of outrage over recent incidents of anti-Semitism, including one from the rapper.
In a column published by The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, Abdul-Jabbar warned that the anti-Semitic posts made Ice Cube and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson were a “very troubling omen for the future of the Black Lives Matter movement” and slammed the “shrug of meh-rage” in Hollywood and in sports.
“When reading the dark squishy entrails of popular culture, meh-rage in the face of sustained prejudice is an indisputable sign of the coming Apatholypse: apathy to all forms of social justice,” Abdul-Jabbar explained. “After all, if 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. Illogic begets illogic.”
The column didn’t sit well with Ice Cube, who later blasted The Hollywood Reporter for running it.
“Shame on the Hollywood Reporter who obviously gave my brother Kareem 30 pieces of silver to cut us down without even a phone call,” the rapper tweeted on Wednesday.
The tweet sparked further accusations of anti-Semitism from critics.
“If you needed any proof that anti-Semitism is alive in our societies, dozens of celebrities with millions of followers have sent a dangerous message: hate is hate, unless directed at Jews,” Julia Lenarz of the American Jewish Committee reacted.
“Shame on Ice Cube for continuing to show us how vile and repugnant his brand of Jew-hatred is!” Americans Against Anti-Semitism founder Dov Hikind said.
“Just when you thought @icecube could not get any more Antisemitic …” international human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky tweeted.
Last month, Ice Cube raised eyebrows for praising Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan and sharing images that pushed Jewish conspiracy theories on Twitter. DeSean Jackson similarly praised the notorious anti-Semite on Instagram and also shared quotes that were wrongly attributed to Adolf Hitler. Jackson later apologized.
In the THR column, Abdul-Jabbar called out one of his own colleagues, former NBA player Stephen Jackson, for defending DeSean Jackson and for further spreading Jewish conspiracy theories.
“That is the kind of dehumanizing characterization of a people that causes the police abuses that killed his friend, George Floyd,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.
The former Lakers star ripped Chelsea Handler, who he noted was Jewish, for sharing a video of Farrakhan and siding with his rhetoric on Instagram, writing “almost 4 million people received a subliminal message that even some Jews think being anti-Jewish is justified.” Handler ultimately apologized after initially slamming critics.
He also took aim at the Trump campaign for “pandering to hate groups” after the organization sent a fundraising letter accusing billionaires Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, and George Soros, all whom are Jewish, of trying to “rig the November election.”
“These famous, outspoken people share the same scapegoat logic as all oppressive groups from Nazis to the KKK: all our troubles are because of bad-apple groups that worship wrong, have the wrong complexion, come from the wrong country, are the wrong gender or love the wrong gender,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “It’s so disheartening to see people from groups that have been violently marginalized do the same thing to others without realizing that perpetuating this kind of bad logic is what perpetuates racism.”
“While it’s possible the words were wrong, celebrities have a responsibility to get the words right. It’s not enough to have good intentions, because it’s the actual deeds — and words — which have the real impact,” he continued. “In this case destructive impact. In 2013, there were 751 reported hate crimes against Jews, but by 2019 the number had nearly tripled to 2,107. That same year, a gunman in San Diego entered a synagogue and murdered one person while wounding three.”
Abdul-Jabar concluded: “The lesson never changes, so why is it so hard for some people to learn: No one is free until everyone is free. As Martin Luther King Jr. explained: ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.’ So, let’s act like it. If we’re going to be outraged by injustice, let’s be outraged by injustice against anyone.”