Amar’e Stoudemire pleads for end to African-American antisemitism

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Former Hapoel Jerusalem and NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire pleaded for an end to antisemitism in the African-American community in a video he posted to his Instagram account on Saturday.

AMONG THE many questions facing Hapoel Jerusalem in the offseason is whether fan-favorite Amar’e Stoudemire (front) will return to the club.

Former Hapoel Jerusalem and NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire pleaded for an end to antisemitism in the African-American community in a video he posted to his Instagram account on Saturday.

Walking through the snow in Aspen, Colorado, where he is on vacation with his family, Stoudemire said he wanted to “address the situation that happened in Monsey, with the brother that [committed] attacks on the Jewish people,” referring to the stabbing attacks at the home of hassidic rabbi Chaim Rottenberg at a celebration on the seventh night of Hanukkah on December 28.

“One thing we gotta realize is that African Americans are also semitic people, being that they are from the lost tribes of Israel, so therefore if you have any antisemitic comments, you are actually showing your ignorance because you are speaking against yourself. Secondly, for you to attack someone who’s trying to keep the ordinance of God, who’s trying to keep the commandments, trying to reach a high level of righteousness, for you to attack someone in that manner shows another level of ignorance. So therefore, it’s unacceptable to have antisemitic slurs or any hate crime, especially if you are a man of God.”

Stoudemire, an African-American/Israeli is in a unique position to appeal for calm under the circumstances. He became an Israeli citizen in March 2019, is in the process of converting to Judaism, co-owns the Hapoel basketball team and frequently posts on his Instagram account about his Torah study. He also has a wine label, Stoudemire Cellars, that is produced at the Tulip Winery in Kfar HaTikvah.

His Instagram message continued: “So, my condolences go out to the rebbe’s family in Monsey and all the Jewish people worldwide. Stay strong in your faith, in your belief, and Israelites, do not allow this to be something that hinders your belief. Stay strong, teach peace and love, and continue to grow as a people, and therefore, when the Moshiach (Hebrew for Messiah)-time comes, they will be ready to walk into the kingdom. But until then, teach love and peace to you and your families, as the Torah and the Bible teaches, and move forward. All right? So, again, my condolences goes out to the rebbe’s family out in Monsey, peace and love and b’ezrat ha shem (Hebrew for with God’s help), we will be able to move past this and continue to grow, in the ordinance and according to God and the Torah, and continue to build to reach a high level of righteousness. I’m on vacation now with the family, but I’m gonna get with you all later. Peace.”

An African-American man, Grafton Thomas, was arrested and charged with five counts of attempted murder in the Hanukkah attack, to which he has pleaded not guilty. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called the attack an act of domestic terrorism. Josef Neumann, 72, is still hospitalized and unconscious following the Monsey Hanukkah attack, and family members say that even if he lives he is not expected to fully recover. Thomas is also a suspect in a November stabbing of an Orthodox Jewish man in Monsey.

These attacks come as part of a wave of antisemitic incidents in the region, including a mass shooting at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City in early December which killed two hassidic Jews, among others. This attack was carried out by two African Americans, one of whom is part of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, which has been categorized as a hate group.

Stoudemire’s Instagram mixes basketball news — he has signed to play with the Fujian Sturgeons of the Chinese Basketball Association — with posts relating to his Judaism. Three days ago, he eulogized the late NBA commissioner, David Stern, who passed away on New Year’s Day, saying, “I have never worked for anyone who was so generous, kind hearted and willing to improve the brand by involving the players.” He frequently uses Instagram to highlight his Jewish learning and December 18 posted a photo of a book about the laws of yichud, the prohibitions in Jewish law against men and women who are not married to each other being alone together in a room.