Key Points of this Article:
Jamie Foxx mentioned Jesus in Instagram post (now deleted) that some interpreted as anti-Semitic
Public outcry ensued predominantly from self-described Zionists and Jews who felt post was a personal attack
Jews are not responsible for murder of Jesus and should not be targeted with hate for his death
Society needs fact-based education on Semitism and anti-Semitism to combat misinformation and foster safe, inclusive environment for all Americans
Recently, “Django Unchained” actor Jamie Foxx sparked controversy with an ambiguous statement that several social media users considered antisemitic. The Insta-post mentioned the killing of “this dude name[d] Jesus” and led to a downpour of online backlash.
Foxx subsequently removed the statement and replaced it with an apology, asserting that it was not meant to be antisemitic but was about a “fake friend” who betrayed him. He originally shared the post with around 17 million Instagram followers, featuring white text on a black background stating “THEY KILLED THIS DUDE NAME JESUS… WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY’LL DO TO YOU??!!” followed by the hashtags “#fakefriends” and “#fakelove.” Many social media users interpreted Foxx’s use of “they” as suggesting Jewish people were responsible for Jesus’ death.
“I am a Jewish advocate who fights antisemitism. Jamie Foxx’s post was a horrifically antisemitic message rooted in classic blood libel and anti-Jewish conspiracy theory. He has 16.7 million followers. I’m not waiting on him to further expand.”
Melissa Weiss, Executive Editor of Jewish outlet “Jewish Insider,” also saw his post as antisemitism presumptuously interjecting, “Seeing someone like Jamie Foxx post antisemitic content is a sad reminder that Jews can’t just exist like most everyone else. There will always be people who hate us.” The office of a Jewish attorney @HowardA_AtLaw joined in the social media lambaste expressing disappointment at what they too interpreted as antisemitic, adding:
“Just once I’d like to log onto this site and not see antisemitism, especially from huge celebrities like Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Aniston. You don’t want to be an ally, fine, but leave us the heck alone!”
Their office referenced the fact that “Friends” actress Jennifer Anniston had liked the deleted post. Anniston responded by denouncing any form of antisemitism and condemning hate of any kind on her Instagram account.
Foxx is recently recovered from a medical emergency that nearly cost him his life. He shared his appreciation for the loyalty and courage of his sister that helped him overcome the life-threatening emergency in a post just a few days prior. Foxx has also been vocal about a select few friends that supported him such as singer-songwriter pal Tank.
The Oscar-winning actor also exchanged kind words of love and encouragement with legendary singer and actress Barbra Streisand. Streisand had posted a photo of herself and Foxx together on her Instagram to commemorate their long history of collaboration and friendship. “Dear Jamie, So great to see your face today and hear you speak. I’ve been sending you lots of love and light and will keep doing that forever.” She signed off with “I love you, Barbra”.
In contrast, some individuals, such as political commentator Anthony Brian Logan, believed that Foxx made no antisemitic remarks. “Jamie Foxx did not say anything antisemitic. The problem is that some people felt like he was talking about them when referencing the people who killed Jesus. Guilty conscious.”
The prevailing narrative surrounding the Jesus post for online news outlets was antisemitic hate speech,”as much of the antisemitism aimed at Jews has been the result of the belief that Jews are responsible for Jesus’s death as the New Testament tells that Jesus was caught and crucified after being betrayed by Judas,” explains The Jerusalem Post. JPost references an earlier article containing historically inaccurate claims, the most poignant of which is:
“Jesus’ devotion to Judaism is indisputable. According to the New Testament, especially the Gospel of Mark, Jesus, his family, and virtually all of his followers and disciples at the time were Jews, as probably were the writers of three of the gospels.”
Jew is a term created in the 13th century A.D., and the associated religion Judaism was largely developed in Palestine between the 6th century B.C. to the 1st century A.D., mostly in the Greco-Roman province of Judaea. Jew is a shortened form of the geographical name Judaea, which itself was named after the Israelitish Tribe of Judah who inhabited the land prior to succeeding rule under Persians, Greeks, and Romans (in that order).
Everyone in Judaea was loosely called “Judaean” despite the population being composed of various Semitic cultures and ethnicities, in addition to non-Semitic people groups (i.e. Persians and Greco-Romans). Strictly speaking from an historical context, “Judaean” or its centuries-later derivative “Jew” was never a singular race or ethnicity. It was a geo-political descriptor.
(Note: acknowledgment is given to the fact that Jews now comprise a distinct cultural and religious community).
In contrast, Judah was an hereditary designation that belonged to a singular lineage– that of the Twelve Tribes of Israel known collectively as “Israelites”. These are the ancient Hebrews who went through the Biblical Exodus and were formed into a nation by God around the 13th century B.C. They inherited ancient Canaan (i.e. Palestine) and surrounding regions from God by way of the Abrahamic Covenant.
Israelites had been carried away into captivity from southern Palestine (e.g. ancient Kingdom of Judah) for their disobedience to God. Some of them began returning home from Babylonian Exile to the land of Judah, later renamed Judaea, in the 6th century B.C. where they lived amongst other Semites in addition to non-Semites.
Prominent lifelong Jewish scholars confirm the ethnic delineation between Biblical Hebrews and the modern Jews, illuminating the fact that, “Strictly speaking, it is incorrect to call an ancient Israelite a ‘Jew’ or to call a contemporary Jew an ‘Israelite’ or a ‘Hebrew’.”
Jesus was from the Israelitish Tribe of Judah. He did not practice Judaism and was vehemently opposed to the goings on of the synagogues in 1st century A.D. Known for flipping tables and running the money-changers out with a handmade whip of cords denouncing their religious practices as ungodly, he could hardly be called an adherent to that religion. His entire ministry was centered around condemning the popularized Judaic religion of his time.
While he sympathized with and took pity upon the people, Jesus had consistent and frequent run-ins with the pharisaic rabbis running the temples of his day. He was sent to save the Israelites from captivity by leading them back to God (Matthew 15:24). This would have resulted in a loss of power, control and money for the rabbis who in light thereof conspired to have him killed.
Judaic rabbis themselves did not put Jesus to death. Instead they convinced the Israelites that he was a blasphemous enemy coming to harm them, falsely holding himself out to be the Son of God. Consequently, it was ultimately the Israelites–his own brethren–who demanded his death at the hands of the Romans by way of crucifixion. “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
Foxx’s post was taken as offensive by persons of no relation to Jesus. Whether or not he could be fairly labeled anti-Semitic for making a statement about his own ancestor is for the reader to decide.