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Nick Cannon Speaks to Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center

Nick Cannon’s interview with Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center has finally dropped.

https://youtu.be/xdJ2yO7HFMM

https://youtu.be/VNTJhlMMRpo

Here are my thoughts:

  1. I stand by my previous comments that Nick Cannon was being sincere with his apology and desire to build bridges between the communities. He really did seem genuine to me during this interview – unless he is one hell of an actor.
  2. Having said that, as I keep saying, time will tell. This is a positive start towards reconciliation, but if he truly means what he says about bringing the communities together, there is a long journey ahead. And judging by the almost overwhelmingly negative comments to these videos (Nick or his representative also seem to have disabled the likes and dislikes), he will need to withstand a lot of hate.
  3. Nick also seems to have a hard time getting past his background and love for Louis Farrakhan, as a hero of his people, given he could not bring himself to condemn him. But he will need to condemn Farrakhan’s hate-mongering loudly and clearly if true reconciliation is to come about.
  4. Nick also should have repudiated the anti-White comments he made, including the theory that white people are naturally violent. Moving forward, he will need to do so.
  5. In general, Nick seemed to be more focused on “White supremacy” antisemitism, and did not seem to even acknowledge Black antisemitism until late in the interview when he admitted Black people can practice “White supremacy” (I think he meant Black supremacy).
  6. I am also glad Nick retracted his statement that he cannot be antisemitic because he is semitic.
  7. I thought Rabbi Cooper was calm and generally articulated himself well.
  8. Having said that, it seems to make no difference to Nick Cannon’s audience, judging by the almost unanimous negative comments about him.  Some even said he was an “angry White man”, despite his calm, reasoned demeanor.
  9. I agree to some extent with Elder of Ziyon’s comments:

Cannon was not the audience. His tens of thousands of fans are the audience. And Rabbi Cooper did not think enough about how his words would be understood by them.

The conversation was convivial and concentrated on what Jews and Black people have in common. Rabbi Cooper referenced the Holocaust and Simon Wiesenthal numerous times. He had spoken to Cannon the days before and they were in many ways continuing a private conversation in public.

But that is not what was needed.

What was needed was a frank discussion, and even argument, over the specifics of what was offensive and wrong about Cannon’s previous podcast with Professor Griff. Those issues were barely alluded to and papered over in this video. But if you look at the comments from Cannon’s fans, they are essentially unanimous – Cooper didn’t prove that anything Cannon (or Farrakhan) said was wrong and therefore Cannon’s apology was simply his bowing to the white people that pay him.

The tragic thing is that Cannon seemed to want to have that conversation. An acrimonious debate on the basic topics, not softened with jokes and asides, is what was necessary – and it didn’t happen. Cooper seemed to prioritize commonality over hard truths, and his desire to be respected by Cannon caused him to be disrespected by Cannon’s audience.

It could have been done.

True, Rabbi Cooper could have been more focused in dealing with the offensive statements of Professor Griff and Nick Cannon. He could have, as Elder of Ziyon suggests, explained why is it wrong to say that Blacks are the real Jews, why is it wrong to say that the Jews control the banks, as well as dealt with Farrakhanisms like the supposed Jewish control of the slave trade, or about his pretending to know what real Jews are, or his Synagogue of Satan themes.

But I believe that would have made no difference. The reactions would still have been negative. Rabbi Cooper would still have been called an “angry White man,” as well as a liar. If anything, the push-back may have been worse.

The issue is many in the Black community have been indoctrinated by the likes of Louis Farrakhan, a charismatic hero to them. It will take more than calm fact-checking from a Rabbi to change their minds.

I actually like the fact the discussion concentrated on what Jews and Black people have in common. The best way to fight this hate is for people from within their own community to help humanize Jews and highlight the commonalities. This is why I previously wrote we should support Nick Cannon in his endeavors to bring Blacks and Jews together.

Because as the comments to this video show, the road will be very long and very tough.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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