‘Shame on You’: Joe Rogan Slammed for Promoting ‘Despicable’ Antisemitic Trope About Jews
by Shiryn Ghermezian
Podcast host Joe Rogan is being widely criticized by lawmakers and civic leaders for saying Jewish people are “into money” while defending Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minn.) 2019 controversial remark “it’s all about the Benjamins” on an episode of his podcast.
During the Feb. 4 episode of Spotify’s The Joe Rogan Experience, Rogan was talking to Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti, hosts of the podcast Breaking Points, about the US House of Representatives removing Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee, citing her past controversial remark about “the Benjamins” — in which she referred to Israel’s relationship with the US — and her other antisemitic comments. Rogan said he believes that she should not have to apologize for her comment about Jews and money.
“It’s crazy,” said Rogan. “She’s apologizing for talking about ‘it’s all about the Benjamins,’ which is just about money, she’s talking about money. That’s not an antisemitic statement. I don’t think that is. Benjamins are money. The idea that Jewish people are not into money is ridiculous, that’s like saying that Italians aren’t into pizza. It’s f_____g stupid.”
“The notion that interest in money is uniquely Jewish is antisemitic garbage that should never be fed to an audience of millions,” US Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-NY) said in a Twitter post on Tuesday.
US Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) added, “It’s despicable language like this that leads to attacks and threats against Jewish people. @JoeRogan has a massive platform and it’s infuriating to watch him and @krystalball promote blatant, dangerous antisemitic tropes, including those masquerading as anti-Israel sentiments.”
Ball also defended Omar and talked about the Israeli government’s “influence of money in DC.” Rogan later said about Omar, “whether you agree with her or not, she has a bold opinion, and that opinion is not her own, there’s many people that have that opinion, and they should be represented.”
The Joe Rogan Experience reportedly reaches an average of over 11 million listeners per show.
“In defending Rep. Omar’s past antisemitic comments, you invoke the same tropes that have been used to persecute Jews for centuries,” Ted Deutch, CEO of American Jewish Committee, said to Rogan in a Twitter post. “With an audience of millions, it’s dangerous to be so flippant in trafficking in antisemitic stereotypes.”
International human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovksy said Rogan “is peddling in age-old antisemitic tropes that directly lead to violence against Jews!” and added, “Shame on you Joe! No respect for you!”
“Unless my history lessons really missed something out, no-one has exterminated a large section of the entire Italian community because of their love for pepperoni,” said British comedian and author of Jews Don’t Count David Baddiel. “Also, Joe Rogan has a 200 Million dollar deal with Spotify. And yet apparently it’s Jews who are into money.”
Disturbed frontman David Draiman even offered to talk to Rogan about his offensive comments. The musician tagged Rogan on Twitter and said in a message, “Listen, if you’d like to have an opportunity to talk to someone who can explain why perpetuating the stereotype that Jews love money more than any other race/creed/religion, leads to dangerous and disastrous consequences… …I’m around. Let’s talk.”
Former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind said that in the podcast episode Rogan sounded like Omar and musician Kanye West, who recently made his own antisemitic comments about Jews. Hikind told Rogan in a video shared on Twitter, “How could you do it? How can you join the antisemites? [Like] the Kanye Wests, Ilan Omar, and talk about Jews and money. One of the most antisemitic tropes used by Jew haters; the cause of so much hate against the Jewish people.”
“My kids adore you, Joe,” Hikind added. “But they are shocked that you have legitimized this picture of the Jewish people. You have made it kosher, Joe. My kids tell me ‘Joe Rogan is a good guy, he’s a mensch.’ But you have now joined the ranks of antisemites for what you did. You need to take a leave from a podcast and figure out what you just did and how you could do it … You’ve just made a dangerous mistake.”
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt also slammed Rogan for using “his immense platform to spew antisemitic tropes about Jews and money” while StandWithUs called his comments shameful. The latter also urged Rogan to educate himself about “the violent history of the very anti-Jewish stereotype you just promoted” and asked him to “have the courage to invite guests who will call out this garbage.”