Basketball legend and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is speaking out against anti-Semitism.
In a column for The Hollywood Reporter, Abdul-Jabbar discussed recent anti-Semitic incidents, which he described as a “very troubling omen for the future of the Black Lives Matter movement.”
The NBA Hall of Famer highlighted the recent backlash against rapper Ice Cube, who posted controversial images and symbols on Twitter.
"Ice Cube’s June 10 daylong series of tweets, which involved some creepy symbols and images, in general implied that Jews were responsible for the oppression of blacks," Abdul-Jabbar wrote.
The images posted on Ice Cube's Twitter show a series of black cubes, including one which is placed inside a Star of David. According to The Daily Beast, the picture of a cube is known as the “Black Cube of Saturn.” The symbol is said to represent chaos, and its placement inside of the Star of David implies that Jewish people are purveyors of that sentiment.
— Ice Cube (@icecube) June 10, 2020
The rapper and actor, who still has the images posted on Twitter, responded to Abdul-Jabbar's letter.
"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 wrote on Twitter.
Shame on the Hollywood Reporter who obviously gave my brother Kareem 30 pieces of silver to cut us down without even a phone call. https://t.co/XRXPu0NRBW
— Ice Cube (@icecube) July 15, 2020
Abdul-Jabbar also called out NFL player DeSean Jackson, who tweeted anti-Semitic messages. According to The Undefeated, the Eagles wide receiver shared a quote which was wrongly attributed to Adolf Hitler, saying Jews “will blackmail America. [They] will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were.”
"These statements would be laughed at by anyone with a middle-school grasp of reason, but then former NBA player Stephen Jackson, a self-proclaimed activist, undid whatever progress his previous advocacy may have achieved by agreeing with DeSean Jackson on social media," Abdul-Jabbar wrote.
Stephen has been active with the Black Lives Matter movement since the killing of George Floyd, who grew up with the NBA veteran in Houston, as Blavity previously reported. But the former basketball player has been facing criticism since going to Instagram to defend DeSean, ESPN reported.
"So I just read a statement that the Philadelphia Eagles posted regarding DeSean Jackson's comments," Stephen said in a video on Instagram. "He was trying to educate himself, educate people, and he's speaking the truth. Right? He's speaking the truth. You know he don't hate nobody, but he's speaking the truth of the facts that he knows and trying to educate others."
Abdul-Jabbar also addressed comedian Chelsea Handler's sharing of a video from Louis Farrakhan. According to The New York Post, Handler posted a clip from Farrakhan, who has a history of making anti-Semitic and homophobic comments.
"Chelsea Handler, herself Jewish, posted videos of Farrakhan to her 3.9 million followers," the NBA legend wrote. "That means almost 4 million people received a subliminal message that even some Jews think being anti-Jewish is justified."
President Donald Trump and his family are also mentioned in Abdul-Jabbar's letter.
"President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign also has been criticized for exploiting anti-Jewish biases, even though Trump’s son-in-law and campaign honcho Jared Kushner is Jewish and his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism before they married," the author wrote.
Although many of the celebrities mentioned in the letter have tried to apologize, Abdul-Jabbar said that's not good enough.
"Even the apologies floundered, more attempts at spin than true contrition," the former Los Angeles Lakers center said.
The Hall of Famer is especially critical of Ice Cube, who defended himself instead of apologizing.
"Ice Cube’s response was remorseless: 'What if I was just pro-Black? This is the truth brother. I didn’t lie on anyone. I didn’t say I was anti anybody. DONT BELIEVE THE HYPE. I’ve been telling my truth,'” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. "His 'truth' was clearly anti-Semitic. But like Trump, he believes his truth exists outside facts."