(JNS) Members of the Black Hebrew Israelite group protested on Sunday night outside of the Barclays Center in support of Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving. The basketball player had just returned to the team following an eight-game suspension for promoting an antisemitic movie on social media and then failing to unequivocally denounce Jew-hatred.
Black Hebrew Israelites out in force today, chanting “we are the real Jews” and “time to wake up,” as they marched towards the Barclay’s Center in support of Kyrie Irving’s return. pic.twitter.com/hUPbbHlsBg
— Ari Ingel (@OGAride) November 21, 2022
Local media reported that some protesters wore shirts emblazoned with the phrase “Israel United in Christ,” as others called for a boycott of Nike, which suspended its relationship with Irving amid the controversy.
Footage posted to social media appeared to capture dozens of Black Hebrew Israelites marching to the arena ahead of the game.
Irving on Saturday apologized “deeply” for promoting the film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” and thereafter failing to repudiate antisemitism. “I don’t have hate in my heart for the Jewish people or anyone that identifies as a Jew,” he said.
“The difficult aspect is just processing all this, understanding the power of my voice, the influence I have. I am no one’s idol, but I am a human being that wants to make [an] impact and change,” he added.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, “The Black Hebrew Israelite movement is a fringe religious movement that rejects widely accepted definitions of Judaism and asserts that people of color are the true children of Israel.”
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan addressed the antisemitism scandals surrounding Irving and rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, in a speech live-streamed on “The Collective 9” YouTube channel on Nov. 10. He said that the ADL should investigate the “horror” that their parents have inflicted on blacks in America and around the world.
“I’m saying to the ADL: Sir, we know you. And we know that we know you. And you know that we know you. Don’t talk to Kyrie by himself: ‘He can go and look at the horror of the Holocaust.’ Why don’t you come and look at the horror of what your parents have done to black people in America and throughout the world. Why don’t you come and study and repent of your evil to us.”
He continued, “We have never done to you and your people what you and your people have done to us. We don’t need to go see the Holocaust. We feel your pain. Because we are really human beings. You don’t feel ours, because to you, a thousand blacks ain’t worth the fingernail of a Jewish man. I’ve read these things.”