Campaign Against Antisemitism is writing to the streaming giant Netflix over provocateur Dave Chappelle’s new ‘comedy’ special over antisemitic comments he makes during the programme.
In “The Closer”, released on Tuesday, Mr Chappelle makes off-colour comments about numerous minority groups. Regarding Jewish people, he says: “In my movie idea, we find out that these aliens are originally from earth — that they’re from an ancient civilization that achieved interstellar travel and left the earth thousands of years ago. Some other planet they go to, and things go terrible for them on the other planet, so they come back to earth, [and] decide that they want to claim the earth for their very own. It’s a pretty good plotline, huh? I call it ‘Space Jews’.”
The implication is that the inhuman Jews left their ancient homeland and other countries of their dispersion of their own volition. After causing destruction elsewhere they have now returned to reclaim what they had willingly abandoned, even at the expense of misery of others. As an analogy it shows breathtaking ignorance of Jewish and world history, not to mention current affairs, and plays into antisemitic tropes about Jewish otherness, world domination, insularity, parasitism and evil.
The incoherent ‘joke’ receives little applause, with Mr Chappelle reacting by saying: “All right, it’s gonna get worse than that, hang in there.”
Mr Chappelle later makes another comment referencing how Jews subject others to the atrocities that they suffered in the Holocaust. “How can a person perpetuate the same evil on a person that looks just like him?” he asks. “It’s mind blowing. And shockingly, they’re making a movie about him. Ironically, it’s called “Space Jews’.”
According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” The claim is a form both of Holocaust inversion and also Holocaust denial, as the analogy minimises the scope of the genocide of the Jewish people by making baseless equations.
Mr Chappelle’s programme has also drawn the ire of other minority groups.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Antisemitism and minimising the Holocaust are no joke. Whilst there is always a place for light-hearted humour, Dave Chapelle’s so-called comedy is barely coherent and plays on the ignorant prejudices of his audience. It is bad enough to do so in the confines of a comedy club, but to be streamed into living rooms around the world courtesy of Netflix is an undeserved privilege for someone willing to mock the trauma of Jewish history and the memory of the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide. We shall be writing to Netflix for the show to be pulled from its service.”
Earlier this year, Netflix rightly condemned antisemitism and Holocaust denial. We hope they now live up to that commitment.