(New York, N.Y.) — Following basketball star Kyrie Irving eight-game suspension for sharing the notorious antisemitic propaganda film Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America on social media, members of the racist and antisemitic Black Hebrew Israelite (BHI) movement rallied outside the Barclays Center, the Nets’ Brooklyn arena, last week in a show of support for Irving’s return to the team. During the demonstration, hundreds from the militant group chanted, “we are the real Jews” and distributed antisemitic propaganda.
Based on a book of the same name, Hebrews to Negroes accuses “false white Jews” of attempting to extort America. The film, and the book it is based on, also accused “Jewish slave ships” of transporting West African slaves during the American slave trade, a false claim also made by the Nation of Islam. Groups such as BHI intertwine antisemitic conspiracy theories with Black nationalism. In recent years, this type of propaganda has influenced several Black athletes, artists, and celebrities such as Jay-Z, 21 Savage, Ye, and, most recently, Irving to embrace and mainstream antisemitic stereotypes and conspiracy theories.
BHI emerged in the 1960s as a particularly militant faction of the larger Black Hebrew movement, which itself dates back to the nineteenth century. Like the Black Hebrew movement, BHI professes they are the true descendants of the ancient Israelites. But while there are branches of the Black Hebrew movement that peacefully interface with mainstream Jews, BHI has become synonymous with antisemitic and racist harassment.
To read the Counter Extremism Project (CEP)’s resource Antisemitism Resurgent: Manifestations Of Antisemitism In The 21st Century, please click here.
To read CEP’s resource on the Nation of Islam, please click here.