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Why did Bill Maher have to apologize to Ice Cube of all people?

So Bill Maher used the latest chapter of his HBO talk show “Real Time” to make his obligatory mea culpa for using that word. We don’t have to mention it here. We all know what it is.

Never mind the issue of why he even needed to do so, considering that it was not directed to or about any individual or group of people and was not used in a derogatory way. The real issue is the person to whom he made his apologies: Ice Cube. Yes that Ice Cube – the anti-Semitic rapper.

The apology came in a one on one segment which Maher does towards the end of his show every week. And he did it in addition to another apology which he made to the famed sociologist Michael Eric Dyson during yet another one on one interview which Maher conducts after his opening monologue and before his main panel show.

OK, so this is at least a step up from letting Al Sharpton play the peacemaker when it comes to these things. Sharpton was the one who they used to help Don Imus show his remorse for saying something clearly racist about Black women college basketball players back in 2007.

Yes that Al Sharpton. The racist/anti-Semitic two bit con artist turned “statesman” who even got his own show on a cable news network.

This is in no way a defense of what Bill Maher did. If you have not yet heard, on his June 2 show Maher said that he was a “house n.” Why was this wrong? Because regardless of the context, white people in America are never allowed to use that word.

Let’s not get bogged down discussing that issue. Let’s not even ask here why Bill Maher had to apologize to not just one but two different prominent African Americans on his most recent installment of “Real Time” for using it.

Let’s just agree that there is no comparable word in the entirety of the English language which has ever been used as a slur directed towards any other individual race, religion or ethnicity. It is a vile word which I do not use and which I scold people for using. But let’s also be real for a moment here: Bill Maher’s use of it last week was an unfunny attempt to declare that when someone from an overwhelmingly white state like Nebraska talks about “working in the fields” it can be construed as racist.

So maybe Bill Maher did need to make an apology for what he said on Twitter or something like that. But did it really require taking up half of his latest show?

So what did Ice Cube do that was so offensive to Jews? Where to begin?

In short, he uses the word “Jew” as if it were a racial slur. He did so in the rap song “No Vaseline.” The very title of which, by the way, is a slur of homosexuals. (If you have to ask why that is, try not to wonder about it. You are clearly way too sensitive and unworldly.)

One line from the song goes, “with a white Jew telling you what to do.” This refers to his former band NWA which listened to the advice of the white and Jewish music producer Jerry Haller. The message of the song is clear: the Jews are the enemy of black entertainers.

“Cause you let a Jew break up my crew,” goes another line. Yes Jews are prominent in the entertainment industry. Yes they have made a lot of money off of musicians in America over the last 70 years. Yes they have done so with all kinds of music from Pop to Rock to Rap.

But the recording artists who were the “victims” of record producers over the decades have been both men and women, White and Black, Christian and Muslim and yes, even Jews. And new musicians were treated no differently than baseball players were by the owners before the advent of free agency in the 1970s. And there was a time, believe it or not, not long before free agency when there were no Black baseball players or any Jewish owners of Major League teams.

So why are Jews as a community, a religion and a people held to blame for the actions of a greedy few by people like Mr. Cube, if that is how he is called? Ice Cube has clearly done quite well for himself over the years in spite of any exploitations of his talent which he may have suffered at the outset of his career.

Is it not the case that all of the famous and successful musicians and authors got bad deals on their first works, but once they made it went on to the big bucks? Don’t the recording studios and the publishing companies spend a great deal of money and take all of the risk with the new artists that they sign with no guarantees of making any money off of them? This is also true for the professional sports franchises and the new players who they draft.

You can see here what Mr. Cube once said about his reference to Jews in the song “Vaseline” in an interview on CNBC. No he did not show any remorse as Bill Maher did last Friday night.

Of course people need to understand that Ice Cube did not mean that people should take him literally and actually go out and shoot Jews. Of course he never needed to go on an apology tour of the talk shows for his anti-Semitic rants. He never even had to kiss Larry King.

Ice Cube refused to even acknowledge that there was anything anti-Semitic in his song. Instead he accused his Jewish detractors of defending the people who Ice Cube claimed took advantage of him. So does that mean that if a Jew sang a song about a horrible Black person who once did something bad to him instead of just naming the person specifically then Mr. Cube would be OK with that?

Ice Cube had no answer for the question of why he did not just refer to Jerry Haller by name in the song instead of that White Jew.

If he had ever been wronged by a Muslim Chinese woman would Ice Cube have rapped about that “Chinese Muslim woman?”

And of course Ice Cube took the position that he could not possibly be a racist himself because he is a minority.

Mel Gibson was nominated for an Oscar this year for his latest movie in spite of his famous rant against the Jews not that long ago and his failure to make any public apologies like the one which Bill Maher just did. And this happened in spite of the fact that everyone knows the Jews control Hollywood. Sure it’s OK to make money off of Mel Gibson’s movies, but did they have to nominate him for awards?

As for the word “Jew,” why do people in America seem to tip toe around it. The word used to refer to us is “Jewish,” as if Jew is inherently offensive. I knew someone in college who even went so far as to say “people of Jewish descent.” He said that this was because he felt that it was a more ethnically sensitive way to call us. What?

Who came up with the word Jewish anyway? Something which is sort of blue but not entirely blue is called “blueish.” Has anyone ever been called “Christian-ish.”

Webster’s Dictionary defines “ish” as a suffix used to from adjectives from nouns and from adjectives. It denotes relation, resemblance, similarity, and sometimes has a diminutive force; as, selfish, boyish, brutish; whitish, somewhat white.

So if people insist on calling us Jewish does it mean that they think that we are only sort of Jews and not completely so? Why are Jews too embarrassed to call themselves just that – Jews – and instead insist on saying Jewish too?

So let’s do the opposite with the word Jew as people have done with the “N” word. Let’s free the word and use it proudly. Let’s call ourselves Jews and be OK with anyone else calling us that because that is exactly who were are. We are not sort of Jews, Hebrews or people of the Hebrew faith.

And let’s call anti-Semites what they really are — Jew haters. Anti-Semite sounds just too damn polite.

And yes people like Ice Cube are totally guilty of being Jew haters when they write songs like “No Vaseline.”

Gil

Gil Tanenbaum made aliyah from New York after he completed college.He Has lived in Israel for over 20 years.He has an MBA from Bar Ilan University and is a contributor for Jewish Business News.

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