Actor John Cusack

Mika Stetsovski / Flickr

John Cusack blames Twitter bot for anti-Semitic tweet

He deleted the tweet after attempting to defend his tweet numerous times


Samira Sadeque


Posted on Jun 18, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 10:24 am CDT

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.”

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.”

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:

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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*First Published: Jun 18, 2019, 10:18 am CDT