Actor John Cusack caused an uproar across the Twitterverse when he posted a now-deleted anti-Semitic meme featuring a giant hand wearing the Star of David while crushing people, suggesting that Jews control the world. He doubled down when initially challenged and then claimed a bot had retweeted from his account. He further explained that he was only attempting to show support for the Palestinian people. Finally, Cusack posted a thread acknowledging his anti-Semitism along with a lackluster apology.
Rather than learn how to criticize Israeli policies, John Cusack represents a growing number of so-called activists who traffic in anti-Semitic tropes in the name of Palestinian advocacy. Not only do these tropes normalize violence against Jews, they have contributed to an ever-growing number of anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish people in America.
As movements become more intersectional, so too should discussion and education. Jewish places of worship are being shot up in America, contributing to fear among the Jewish community. While there are bad-faith actors on any side of an argument, it’s crucial for non-Jews to listen and learn about anti-Semitism without making excuses for mistakes and past behavior.
John Cusack not only retweeted an anti-Semitic meme in the first place, he brushed off the Jewish voices attempting to set him straight. The lack of accountability he exhibited is shameful and adolescent. The old “my account was hacked” bit is played out. Especially when the retweet in question was accompanied by text written by Cusack himself. Yet another example of celebrity worship going wrong.