Why some Jewish people disagree with the boycott planned to protest Wiley's antisemitic comments

Moya Lothian-McLean@moya_lm
Monday 27 July 2020 08:30
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We’re not exactly adept at dealing with bigotry online yet.

But there’s a (perhaps misguided) expectation that prominent people who spew hatred on public platforms will see themselves curtailed (a certain US president is still going, isn’t he?).

So people are shocked it took so long for Twitter and Instagram to shut down rapper Wiley’s antisemitic tirades on the social media sites.

Even the home secretary, Priti Patel, has waded in to demand an explanation for why antisemitic posts made by the ‘Godfather of Grime’ were still visible up to 12 hours after they were posted.

Wiley has been issued a seven-day ban from Twitter for his statements.

But now, several prolific Jewish people on the site are calling for a 48-hour boycott to protest the lack of swift action made by the bigwigs behind Twitter.

Under the hashtag #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate, a coalition of people, including both Jews and allies have said they won’t be posting from 9am on 27 July until 9am on 29 July, to demonstrate their alarm at delays in cracking down on Wiley.

The boycott is being led by actor Tracy-Ann Oberman.

It’s attracted support from a huge range of people, including Labour MP Jess Phillips.

Many people with large followings are pledging to join the campaign.

However, some members of the Black Jewish community have said they’re not taking part and expressed concern over the decision to ‘boycott Twitter’ which inadvertently ‘silences’ anti-racist voices.

Black Jewish individuals have also argued that there's been a lack of action by organisers of the current boycott on behalf of the Black community, and are calling for the issue to be approached with a more intersectional understanding of how oppressions interact.

Non-Jewish Black individuals have also said that the energy needs to be applied to antisemitism across the platform; not just pitting the Black and Jewish communities against each other as if there's no overlap.

Non-Black Jewish individuals have also said they believe the entire debacle is driving a "wedge" between Black and Jewish communities.

Ultimately, to boycott or not is a personal choice. But there are other ways to support the Jewish community too, like donating to the Holocaust Educatonal Trust or another organisation that is Jewish-led, for Jewish individuals.

Do what you can, where you can.

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