Industry group slams ‘blatant’ anti-Semitism in entertainment, sports and music
(August 16, 2022 / JNS) In a report on antisemitism in entertainment and sports, as well as digital media platforms, Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) calls the extent of the problem of antisemitism “glaring.”
The 20-page report, “Fomenting Hate: How the Entertainment and Sports Industries Can Address the Growing Threat of Antisemitism,” documents hundreds of examples of incidents over the past year and a half involving film and television studios , celebrities, influencers. , sports personalities and social media platforms.
CCFP, an organization comprised of entertainment industry professionals dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, released the report earlier this month.
The report defines the issue using the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism.
A certain perception of Jews expressed as hatred towards Jews, the targeting of Israel with Israel conceived of as a “Jewish collectivity” and Holocaust denial are considered anti-Semitic, depending on the definition.
In a section devoted to film and television, the CCFP report says the HBO series “Lovecraft County,” featuring an antagonist named Epstein who conducts science experiments on black children and adults, has “anti-Semitic tropes manifestos”.
HBO’s portrayal, according to CCFP, amounts to “blood libel anti-Semitic themes.”
Addressing anti-Semitism in the sports industry, the report describes when prominent NFL player DeSean Jackson job a quote in 2020 on his Instagram, falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler. The quote claimed that the Jews were “blackmailing” and “extorting” America.
The CCFP also highlighted the frequent anti-Semites insults for fans of Amsterdam Football Club AFC Ajax. The team has long been associated with the Jewish community, and those who support opposing teams have used statements such as “Hamas, Hamas, Jews on gas,” according to the report.
“Continuing the tropes that Jews are all rich”
In a discussion of music, CCFP not only documents the well-known anti-zionism by Pink Floyd founding member Roger Waters, whose concerts have featured bustling scenes of Israel dropping bombs shaped like Stars of David and dollar signs. CCFP also notes the prevalence of anti-Semitic hip-hop lyrics.
The report also found that rappers, including Jay Electronica, Mos Def and Freeze Corleone, perpetuate stereotypes and conspiracies about Jewish control of the media. Corleone, a French artist, posted blatantly anti-Semitic lyrics, including Holocaust denial.
Ari Ingel, director of CCFP, previously worked as a music director and lawyer. In a phone interview, he said hip-hop lyrics often feature philo-Semitism, a noticeable admiration for the Jewish people.
“I don’t think when Jay Z [raps about earning wealth like Jews], he views it as a negative,” Ingel said. “He thinks of it as an aspiration. But when he and other rappers don’t realize, it reinforces tropes that Jews are all rich, and that’s obviously not the case.
CCFP documents antisemitism in the digital community, including on TikTok, Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud, and Clubhouse, among other platforms. The report omits anti-Semitism on major social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. CCFP lacked the bandwidth to report on large platforms, Ingel told JNS.org.
On TikTok, “Jewish teens say they are bombarded with comment spam and death threats daily,” the report said.
On Spotify, problematic podcasts from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan are posted, along with songs by musical artists with clearly anti-Semitic lyrics, including National Socialist black metal bands.
And on Clubhouse, a newer app, “conversations are live and monitoring spoken language is difficult in real time,” according to the report. Names of audio-only chatrooms on Clubhouse have included “White Jews have more power than blacks in America,” “Jews and Asians vs. Black redress is the REAL BATTLE,” and “6 million Jews have they really were killed (serious topic). ”
The report proposes practical reforms for companies and businesses, ranging from adding an antisemitism expert to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) teams to holding mandatory annual antisemitism training sessions for departments human resources.
CCFP recommends that entertainment companies, sports leagues and digital services adopt the IHRA definition. This way, leaders can identify when statements, events, content, or actions cross the line into anti-Semitism.
Media organizations should also adopt the “Tevye Test,” which is inspired by the work of writer Ben Freeman, says CCFP.
Like the “Bechdel test”, measuring the representation of women in a film”, the Tevye test—named after the main character of “Fiddler on the Roof”—offers a way to assess the portrayal of Jews in the media.
While many groups monitor anti-Semitism, too few look closely at the two industries responsible for shaping public opinion: entertainment and sports, says CCFP.
And while Ingel doesn’t expect change overnight, the report offers a first step toward transforming and empowering the industries that need it.
“It will not be the end, everything will be everything; it’s a start,” he said. “It will take many years to get these things adopted. It’s a process.