An article that said Jenna Ortega and Kanye West both had “antisemitic hate” sparked a heated discussion on social media.
West, whose legal name is now Ye, has been at the center of a storm of controversy in recent months after making a series of antisemitic comments. West defended Adolf Hitler and the Nazis during an appearance on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s show Infowars on December 1.
In an interview with Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes last month, the 45-year-old rapper kept doing this. He then said that only people who “believe in Jesus Christ” should be able to hold positions of power in the United States.
Some of the antisemitic comments made by musician Kanye West were also posts that got him locked out of his Twitter and Instagram accounts for a short time. Last month, West’s Twitter account was shut down for good after he posted a picture of the Star of David with a swastika inside it.
The Times of Israel published an article on December 14 with the title “Jenna Ortega vs. Kanye: Whose antisemitic hate is worse?” It compared the 20-year-old Wednesday star Ortega to West.
U.S. journalist Dan Margolis wrote that the problem was a link that Ortega posted during a Twitter conversation about helping people in different parts of the world.
“We must never give up on the people of Ukraine, Yemen, Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Syria, and so on,” she wrote at the beginning of her March thread. “I want to start a thread with information for anyone who is willing and wants to help in any way they can.”
We must never give up on the people of Ukraine, Yemen, Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Syria… the list goes on unfortunately. For anyone who is willing & wanting to contribute any way they can, I want to form a thread with information. Does anyone have resources/links they could add?
— Jenna Ortega (@jennaortega) March 6, 2022
Ortega shared a link to a group called Decolonize Palestine after posting links to different places where people in need could get help.
Decolonize Palestine. https://t.co/MlI5Gpr2QN
— Jenna Ortega (@jennaortega) March 6, 2022
“Decolonize? Was this a clumsy way to support the idea of two states?” Margolis typed. “I went to the website. And it scared me.”
Margolis said that the site was advertising “Extremist propaganda,” and that it takes the same position as Hamas, which is to get rid of the State of Israel, which is the only Jewish state in the world and is only on part of the land where Jews live. The site tells a made-up story about how Jews from Europe were and still are foreign invaders who forced a peaceful Palestinian people to leave their homes.”
Margolis had said earlier in the article that Ortega’s “antisemitism is just as bad as sexism, homophobia, hatred of Muslims, or any other form of racism or xenophobia, he or she probably thinks. She might shiver at the thought that she supports causes that hurt Jews.”
“The problem is that, like millions of other well-meaning Americans, she doesn’t really understand antisemitism and is therefore unlikely to recognize it in at least some of its forms,” he said. “Like millions of other Americans, she probably doesn’t do much research before posting about a cause on social media.”
Since the article was first published, screenshots of the headline have been shared on Twitter, which has led to debate among the site’s users.
One Twitter user wrote in a post that went viral on Monday: “Kanye: ‘I like Hitler,’ Jenna Ortega: ‘Palestinians deserve to live,’ The Times of Israel: [“Jenna Ortega vs. Kanye: Whose anti-Semitic hatred is worse?”].”
Kanye: “I like Hitler”
Jenna Ortega: “Palestinians deserve to live”
The Times of Israel: pic.twitter.com/CQDVPPST4Y
— Amir (@AmirAminiMD) January 2, 2023
“Tired of people who can’t tell the difference between criticizing a state and criticizing a group of people,” said someone else. “I promise that if you say something bad about my country, I won’t call you an Islamophobe. I don’t think you support terrorism if you say, “Kurds deserve to live.”
Another person responded to the headline by asking, “Which is worse: Kanye’s love and admiration for Hitler or Jenna Ortega’s support for the people of Palestine who are being mistreated?”
“As a Jew, crap like this makes me so angry,” said someone else. “This is why it’s hard to call out real antisemitism because it gets confused with Israel’s goals. Antisemitism does not equal Palestinian rights. Nobody did hate crimes because of Wednesday’s message to “love everyone,” but they did because of Ye’s.”
Several Twitter users, though, defended the article. One of them said that “The problem was that [Ortega] linked to a website that talked about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a way that was antisemitic. The website said that Ortega did this out of ignorance, not malice. So, yes, it’s a bad headline, but it’s not like you are the only news site that does that.”
As someone who actually read the article, the issue was that she linked to a website that depicted the I/P conflict in rather antisemitic ways, which it ascribed to Ortega’s naïveté rather than malice. So yes, bad headline, but it’s not like ToI is the only news site to do that
— Pratchettgaiman (@davidlev13) January 2, 2023
Another told people on social media who were also upset about the headline to read the whole thing so they could “see what Ortega said and why it’s dangerous hateful propaganda.”
“I don’t know, linking to the website that wants Israel to be destroyed doesn’t sound like ‘Palestinians deserve to live,'” tweeted someone else.
Newsweek has asked both Ortega and The Times of Israel for their thoughts.
Margolis said in his article that he focused on Jenna Ortega because “she is an extreme example.” Bella Hadid, Emma Watson, John Oliver, and Trevor Noah are just some of the people who have used Hamas’s talking points.
“None of the above entertainers has called for the destruction of the State of Israel. Only Ortega has done that, and he seems nicer than the rest (probably without even realizing it). She seems to be one of the nicest people, but she was the one who posted the evilest piece of anti-Zionist propaganda and sent it to more people than there are Jews on Earth.
He came to a conclusion that “there is no reason to post propaganda against a very small minority group, even if you mean well and don’t want to hurt anyone.” There’s no hope for people like Kanye West or Kyrie Irving, but Ms. Ortega and others like her should try to learn more about what they post and who it could hurt in the future.
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