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Jay-Z Accused of Anti-Semitic Lyrics

Though Anti-Defamation League doesn't believe Jay-Z himself is anti-Semitic
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2017 5:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Anti-Defamation League is accusing Jay-Z of trafficking in Jewish stereotypes on his new album. On "The Story of OJ," which Spin describes as a "black capitalism anthem," Jay-Z raps: "You wanna know what's more important than throwing away money at a strip club? Credit/ You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it." A representative for the Anti-Defamation League tells Rolling Stone the lyrics "seem to play into deep-seated anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews and money." The rep also says the idea contained in the lyrics is "odious and false."

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The Anti-Defamation League isn't accusing Jay-Z of intentional anti-Semitism. "We know that Jay-Z is someone who has used his celebrity in the past to speak out responsibly and forcefully against the evils of racism and anti-Semitism," the rep says. But it worries his use of the stereotype legitimizes it. While Jay-Z hasn't responded directly, others have come to his defense. "The fact is this (Jewish) culture that promotes good business and financial well-being is and has been a guiding light to the black and specifically the hip-hop community," Vibe quotes Russell Simmons as saying. "He's attempting to use the Jewish people in an exaggerated way to showcase a community of people that are thought to have made wise business decisions," Guy Oseary, the Jewish manager of Madonna and U2, posts on Instagram. "Jay is giving the Jewish community a compliment." (Read more Jay-Z stories.)

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