Actor John Cusack defended then eventually deleted an anti-Semitic tweet he retweeted with an anti-Semitic comment, according to screenshots shared by journalist Yashar Ali.
The tweets have since been deleted, but according to the screenshots, they were sent Monday night.
Cusack retweeted a comment addressed to him by user @mhtamimi12, with the quote “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize, — Voltaire,” next to the image of a large hand wearing the Star of David crushing a crowd of people.
Although it’s signed as a quote by Voltaire, it was actually a quote by white nationalist and Holocaust denier Kevin Alfred Strom. The user, @mhtamimi12 was responding a tweet where Cusack shared an article about 2020 presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren defending Israeli forces bombing Gaza schools in “self-defense.”
This is disgusting pic.twitter.com/4b2RlPrNfL
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) June 17, 2019
After receiving pushback for it, Cusack reportedly defended his stance in a series of tweets.
“Was re tweeting FYI,” he wrote in one response.
“You think Israel isn’t committing atrocities against Palestinians ?” he wrote in another defensive tweet. “What [planet] are you on?”
In response to user @BenUdashen’s comment, “Pro-Tip from anti-Zionist Jew: don’t use the Israeli flag in your imagery,” Cusack wrote, “What’s the alternative?”
People immediately called him out on his very clearly anti-Semitic content.
He later wrote in a now-deleted tweet, “A bot got me- I thought I was endorsing a pro Palestinian justice retweet – of an earlier post – it came I think from a different source- Shouldn’t Have retweeted.”
"A bot got us."
– The Nuremberg Trials. pic.twitter.com/yPhJLjGrVL
— Issho ㊙️ (@stonedsisyphus) June 18, 2019
i wanna know if a bot made him write "follow the money"
— rubywisp (@rubywisp) June 18, 2019
what’s worse the blatant anti-semitism or the 2008 tweet style
— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) June 17, 2019
Which bot told him to add the line about money
— Brad (@bradiscranky) June 17, 2019
Soon afterwards, he deleted both the original tweet and the defensive posts.
Later, on Monday evening, he addressed the anti-Semitism of his original tweet, but it was too late:
— Joo©️ (@JoosyJew) June 18, 2019
Applying for Harvard anytime soon?
— Feral Federalist 😼 (@Ferallist) June 18, 2019
Conflating anti-Semitism with support for Palestine has been a part of recent discourse, with Rep. Ilhan Omar’s criticism of Israel being flagged as anti-Semitic (Omar later apologized for one of her comments).
If anything, that conversation has helped establish clear lines between criticism of Israeli policies in Palestine and propagating anti-Semitic rhetoric. Sharing and then defending anti-Semitic content and passing it off as anti-Zionist only hurts this conversation.
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