New report highlights anti-Semitism in the entertainment industry

Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) released its first-ever report on July 19 highlighting various incidents of anti-Semitism plaguing the entertainment industry.

The report, which spans 20 pages, shares various examples of anti-Semitic incidents that have occurred across the various corners of entertainment.

“The entertainment industry is pretty insular and tends to listen to people they know they trust,” CCFP director Ari Ingel told The Journal in a phone interview. “So to really make an impact in the entertainment industry, you have to work within the industry.” Ingel, himself an entertainment lawyer and music executive, said that two and a half years ago CCFP realized it needed to be more “impactful” in educating people in the industry. on the rise of anti-Semitism, “and this report is an extension of that”.

Antisemitism among athletes came to the fore in July 2020, when wide receiver DeSean Jackson voiced his support for Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan; Jackson has since apologized, but various other athletes have defended Jackson’s initial comments. Ingel pointed out how Jackson’s comments were broadcast to his “millions of fans” on social media. “It shows you that these guys have a lot of influence and being touched by people like Louis Farrakhan and regurgitating and posting this stuff has an impact,” he said.

Regarding Farrakhan, Ingel said members of the black community and inner cities “have a certain affinity for him” because Farrakhan and the NOI provided social services and schooling in inner cities when the government did not. was not. “What I don’t think they realize though is the anti-Semitism he’s spouting and the vitriol he’s spouting at the Jewish people,” Ingel said, adding that Farrakhan’s words now have an impact. wider through social media. “So you have football players, you have basketball players, you have artists in the music industry hearing these things.” Ingel pointed to Revolt TV – founded by rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs – airing Farrakhan’s speech on July 4, 2020 as the event leading up to the Jackson incident as well as Chelsea Handler sharing a clip of Farrakhan’s speech on social media, creating “an essential hate loop.

Some TV shows have also promulgated anti-Semitic stereotypes. The report points to Netflix’s “Umbrella Academy,” which features a villain described as “a ‘lizard’ who disguises himself as a human and an organizer of the forces of evil who speaks Yiddish, among other languages.” “These traits echo the anti-Jewish conspiracy theories of former BBC footballer and sports commentator David Icke, who has written books claiming that many prominent Jews are in fact ‘secret lizards’ seeking dominance. the world,” the CCFP report said. The report also documents instances of ‘anti-Semitic treatment in Hollywood’, pointing to ‘Stranger Things’ star Winona Ryder recounting how ‘she was called a ‘kitchen oven’ by Mel Gibson and passed over for a film role. because she looked “too Jewish”. .'”

In the music industry, former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters is infamous for his vocal support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as well as for putting a Star of David on a flying pig during his gigs. But the report also noted that Waters played an animated video during one of his concerts of “Israel dropping bombs shaped like Stars of David and dollar signs” and lobbied a group of covers of Pink Floyd not performing in Israel in 2019 claiming that “the people you intend to entertain are executing their neighbours’ children, shooting them in cold blood every day”.

Ingel said that the overwhelming majority of American Jews are Zionists, so when the BDS crowd demonizes Israel as ‘colonialist’, ‘apartheid’ and ‘white supremacist’, then ‘all of a sudden you’re supporting apartheid, genocide , ethnic cleansing, white supremacy, and it causes anti-Semitism here at home.

Ingel said various examples of behavior against various minority communities that were once considered acceptable “15, 20, 30, 40 years ago” are no longer considered acceptable, except when it comes to Jews. “As the saying goes, Jews don’t matter,” Ingel said. “And we still see cases … where you can say things about Jews and there’s nobody marching in the streets, nobody gets fired, and that’s not mainstream media. But in other persecuted minorities, these are major incidents and they would never even go there.

The report concludes with a series of recommendations for entertainment to combat anti-Semitism in the industry, suggesting that companies in the industry adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, employ antisemitism experts in their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) teams and train their staff members on antisemitism. The report also recommends that television and film companies adopt the “Tevye test” based on the work of author and educator Ben M. Freeman on the portrayal of Jewish people in the media. Freeman developed the “trichtomy of Jewish representation” in how Jews are portrayed in entertainment: “Funny Secular Jews” who create humor through “non-threatening Jewish stereotypes”, “Jews Murdered focus on “Jewish death, destruction and trauma” and “Bad Orthodox Jews” refer to the “demonization of Jews through stereotyping, and in particular of Orthodox Jews and mainstream Judaism who are portrayed as contrary to Western values.

“This report shows how much work needs to be done within our industry,” Ingel said in a statement. “For example, usually unaware, streaming platforms, TV shows and movies broadcast and promulgate anti-Semitic tropes. In a society that is becoming increasingly sensitive to fair and accurate representation, the impact on Jews often does not matter.

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