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July 2017

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Jay-Z’s Anti-Semitic Lyrics on 4:44 – There’s No Excuse

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Excited about Jay-Z’s new album, I listened to it in its entirety, and without outside influence of any kind. I was immediately struck by a lyric on “The Story of O.J.,” which says, “You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it.” I listened again and again, in hopes that the context would in some way call-out the anti-Semitic stereotype, and I quickly discovered that was not the case. Soon, I turned to google, where I found a ridiculous defense by famed Israeli-American music manager Guy Oseary, in which he claims Jay’s lyrics are actually a compliment.
 
First, shame on Guy Oseary. To use what I can only assume is a personal friendship to cloud his judgment is gross. Claims like these are never a compliment, and though he acknowledges that the “‘rich jew’ the ‘business jew’ the ‘jew that owns the world’ is a stereotype which has been repeatedly used with the wrong sentiment,” somehow Jay gets a pass here because Mr. Oseary read it in context. I too read the context, and that context is indeed anti-Semitic. I am perfectly capable of understanding the implication here, and I’m no sycophant whose entire paycheck is fueled by the music industry’s power players.

The anti-Semitic notion that Jews own the world and that our success is to the detriment of others, is not only offensive, it’s extremely dangerous. These conspiracies such as the world domination by Jews, are the same claims that once fueled Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party, who felt it their purpose to stop us from such a takeover. It’s a heated declaration with dire consequences, and it should not be taken lightly — or as a compliment.

Finally, is it possible Jay-Z had pure intentions, and he wrongly used this lyric as an expression of admiration? To put it simply, it doesn’t matter. If Bill Maher doesn’t get a pass from the black community for wrongly using the horrific term “house nig***” in a terrible attempt at a joke, then Jay-Z doesn’t get a pass from the Jewish community for perpetuating this disgusting stereotype. He should know better.