Amid the media scandal-mongering over the untimely demise of Michael Jackson, only a few reports have zeroed in on the Gloved One’s infamous 1995 song “They Don’t Care About Us,” which “outraged” the Anti-Defamation League with its “antisemitic” lyrics: “Jew me, sue me, everybody do me/Kick me, kike me, don’t you black or white me.”
Jackson explained to The New York Times: “I am the voice of the accused and the attacked. I am the voice of everyone. I am the skinhead, I am the Jew, I am the black man, I am the white man.”
If Jackson was really the Jew, one wonders if he would have been welcomed later by members of the Nation of Islam movement quite so enthusiastically Whatever the rationalizations, there is really no sane reason for Jackson to be praised as he is in “TYPISCH!: Klischees von Juden und Anderen” (“TYPICAL!: Clichés of Jews and Others”) a current exhibit at Vienna’s Jewish Museum, for supposedly having “attempted to destroy stereotypes” by marring his face with multiple nose jobs.
Far from seeing the late singer as a breaker of stereotypes, readers might side instead with ADL National Director Abe Foxman, who castigated the Gloved One for making a “decision which reinforces intolerance” by releasing a video version of “They Don’t Care About Us” as well as for later manifestations of antisemitism.