Around the middle of last month, John Cusack, the popular Irish-American actor and Golden Globe Award winner, long known for his support of Palestinian rights, retweeted a meme depicting a hand, stamped with the Star of David, pushing down a group of people. The meme included the quote, To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise.
Predictably, that caused an uproar in the American media. After Cusack initially brushed criticism that the meme was anti-Semitic, saying he mistook it for an account advocating Palestinian rights, he deleted the image and apologised.
Then two weeks ago, in an even more high-profile case, the Open Source Festival in Dusseldorf, Germany, disinvited the black American rapper Talib Kueli, which led to the cancellation of his Germany tour, after he refused to denounce the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement. That prompted 103 notable figures in the United States, including musician Peter Gabriel, director Boots Riley, actor Mark Ruffalo, and author Naomi Klein, to send an open letter to The Guardian registering their outrage at the treatment meted out to the popular rapper, and dismay at the position, officially embraced by the German government, that identifies support for BDS as an act of anti-Semitism.