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July 30, 2020 1:54 pm

Top UK Jewish Group Lambasts Publication for ‘Amplifying’ Rapper Wiley’s Antisemitic Tropes in New Interview


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Rapper Wiley arrives for the Brit Awards, at the O2 Arena in London, Britain, Feb. 22, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Neil Hall.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews criticized the UK Black newspaper The Voice on Thursday for not only publishing an interview with antisemitic rapper Wiley, in which he spewed more Jew‐hating rhetoric, but also not challenging or denouncing his racist remarks.

“We are saddened & concerned that @TheVoiceNews, with its long history of campaigning against racial injustice, has run a piece that echoed & amplified Wiley’s racist tropes, rather than challenging them. We urge the paper to reflect, rectify & move focus to mutual solidarity.”

The Voice, which is the only national Black weekly newspaper in the UK, published on Wednesday its interview with Wiley under the headline “Systematic oppression and Wiley.”

In the interview the 41-year-old repeated antisemitic slurs about Jewish wealth and power, and at one point claimed, “They see us a slaves.”

The “Eskimo Dance” singer was banned from several major social media platforms after going on an antisemitic tirade on Twitter on July 24. On Thursday, the Board of Deputies urged YouTube to “follow the example of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and delete Wiley’s account.”

Instead of challenging the artist regarding his hateful remarks, the journalist conducting the interview, Joel Campbell, the arts and entertainment editor of The Voice, asked: “within his ranting were there any salient points?”

Campbell wrote that Wiley was “not alone in his thinking, that there is an unspoken systemic oppression that blights the lives of young black creatives in the entertainment space” and that “some of the views espoused by Wiley are the great unsaid outside of the black community.”

Campbell then suggested “[p]utting anything remotely near considered Anti-Semitic to one side of course, in fact out the window in the bin, not too many seem prepared to vocalise their consternation for some of the recurring themes Wiley believes is the stranglehold one community seems to have over another in particular relation but not confined to, the music business.”

Later in the article, Campbell stated that “the hypothesis that you need to get a Jewish lawyer in order to progress in the music business may be a complete fallacy…but yet it remains. I’ve never seen anyone Jewish refute or confirm this (maybe there was never a need felt to do so), but maybe, it’s a discussion that needs to be had?”

Campbell noted in the article that Wiley said he was  going to meet with a member of the Jewish community who wished to talk to him. The rapper then said, “Because the truth is, what I am saying is systemic and when I say it, they pretend they don’t know what I am saying but they are the ones who implement it anyway.”

When asked to be more specific about his reference to “they,” Wiley replied, “without generalising, like, there is no point saying all, it’s the people I work with in the entertainment and music industry, the Jewish community that I have experienced.”

Campbell asked the rapper what specifically his issue was with the Jewish people he had worked with, and Wiley answered: “The things that need to change is the way that the system was set up, why all of these families are rich, or all of these people have heritage, not just England, like, worldwide.”

He added: “They still see us as slaves. Slavery hasn’t stopped it’s just dressed up in a million pound record deal and it’s dressed up in trainer deals, nice shoes and it’s dressed up as come over here.”

Wiley also went on a tangent about “[a] bunch of black kids making these people millions and trillions, and then at the end of the black kids career he hasn’t even got a property and they have got ten properties and this and that and their kids have got wages to go to school forever.”

“It’s set up so that they win and we lose,” he claimed.

“As someone I was talking to about this the other day said, they have already got us divided conquered and segregated, they already know that,” Wiley continued. “So if we’re not together they know that they have got us. They will make us look mad or they will make us look crazy on social media.”

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