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Black Hebrew Israelites Protest Outside U.S. Capitol

Members of the Black Hebrew Israelites demonstrate outside the U.S. Capitol on November 13, 2018, in Washington, D.C. | Source: Win McNamee / Getty

The movie director responsible for the documentary that sparked an antisemitism controversy after NBA star Kyrie Irving brought attention to it via social media is speaking out.

A press release attributed to Ronald Dalton Jr., whose book, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” became a movie in 2018 that he directed, responded to the growing backlash about the film following Irving’s suspension from the Brooklyn Nets because the all-star point guard tweeted a link to the documentary late last month. A statement tweeted from a Twitter account identified as “Ronald Dalton Jr” defiantly defended the film, refused to apologize and “vehemently” rejected claims he or the movie harbors any hatred toward Jewish people.

Irving ultimately apologized for what his critics said amounted to an endorsement of a film that the Anti-Defamation League claims “promotes beliefs commonly found among antisemitic and extremist factions” of the Black Hebrew Israelites, a religious group of African Americans whose members believe they are descendants of the ancient Israelites and may adhere to both Christian and Judaic beliefs. That includes “claims that modern Jews are imposters who stole the religious heritage of Black people and have engaged in a ‘cover-up’ to prevent Black people from knowing their ‘true’ identity.”

It was in that context that the press release renounced all forms of prejudice and racial hatred while claiming that the term “Anti-Semitism” has been misused.

Unlike Irving, the press release refused to say sorry.

“I’m not apologizing for nothing because i can’t be Anti-Semitic because i’m an Israelite (Shemite),” the tweet posted Monday morning said in part. “Still waiting for a debate with the Top Rabbis to prove who is a Israelite by blood & who can rightfully use the word ‘Anti-Semitic’.”

That sentiment was similar to that expressed by Irving, who, before being forced to apologize, said he could not be antisemitic “if I know where I come from.”

The press release placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of the media — like what the rapper formerly known as Kanye West has said — and encouraged people to read the book and reach their own conclusions instead.

“The Mass Media relies on promoting exclusivity, stoking fear and assigning blame to those who go against their narratives,” the press release said in part before adding later: “I implore everyone to take the time to read my books, watch my documentaries, then ‘fact-check’ everything so that we can all have a full understanding of the True history of Black people in the Diaspora, which is now being told from a ‘different perspective.'”

The press release suggested that doing so would lead to people beginning “to forge a nation founded on our complete history.”

The press release concluded on an optimistic note.

“I pray that we are able to continue to bring people together of all backgrounds to embrace historical events and facts that are detrimental to the progression of our society as a whole,” the statement, which identified Dalton as CEO of Hebrews to Negroes Films, added.

The press release failed to acknowledge the criticism that his film denies the Holocaust and includes a fake quote attributed to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Meanwhile, — the e-tail giant that has “Hebrews to Negroes” available to rent and for sale worldwide and is responsible for the link shared by Irving — has been contemplating removing the film, according to the New York Times. Critics and people supporting Irving have expressed outrage that Amazon and it’s mega-billionaire owner Jeff Bezos have emerged unscathed while the basketball star faces the brunt of the consequences for publicizing the documentary.

Former professional basketball player and current analyst for ESPN Jay Williams is among those who raised that point days before Irving’s suspension was announced.

“There deserves to be more context from Kyrie,” Williams said Wednesday during ESPN’s “First Take” show. “It’s irresponsible to amplify messages from Hitler – yes, this is true – so why it is on a major platform like The platform is profiting and promoting it to billions of people,” Williams added, suggesting that point “is being missed here.”

Williams made sure to say that selling and profiting from the film and books “doesn’t excuse” Irving at all. But he said he felt the issue needed to be included in the larger discussion about Irving’s actions, seeing as he wouldn’t have been able to tweet something that wasn’t made available online in the first place.

That is to speak nothing of the fact that Amazon has previously been forced to remove similarly antisemitic content following public outrage not unlike what we are seeing with Irving.

It was only in 2020 when public pressure compelled Amazon to remove from its website an illustrated children’s book by the founder of an antisemitic newspaper that was founded during the Nazi era.

Two years prior, a customer review that remains live accused of “selling hate speech” and “using Antisemitism as a marketing tool” for selling the book in question.

“This disgusting and vile book was written to indoctrinate nazi youth and is still used as a hatred primer for children,” the review began before asking: Why is Amazon supplying and profiting from a kindle version? Why is Amazon selling hateful propaganda to children?”

The reviewer went on to accuse Amazon of being “a company making money off of racism” and “sponsoring and disseminating Antisemitism. This is despicable. Amazon should know better and must stop spreading hate.”

Amazon apparently ignored that criticism until the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum spoke out in 2020, after which it took just three days for the book to be removed from Amazon.

To be sure, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” not only remains available to rent on Amazon Prime for $11.99 and for sale for $49.99, but it is also being sold in book form along with an apparent sequel – both of which are at the top of the best-sellers list under the “African American Demographics Study” genre.

Neither the video nor the books have any type of disclaimer appended about antisemitism.

A request sent to Amazon for comment was not immediately returned.


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