15 Apr Interview: Jonah Kaplan of WTVD talks about the controversial video of a Palestinian rapper who performed at a UNC Conference
Investigative reporter Jonah Kaplan of WTVD talks about the controversy over a now-viral video of a Palestinian rapper who performed at the UNC Conflict Over Gaza Conference last week.
The conference was sponsored by the UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies and the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies. The event’s website lists more than 30 co-sponsors ranging from UNC School of Law to the Rotary Club of Raleigh.
According to the event’s description, the conference was designed to “shed much-needed light on the current realities in the Gaza Strip, giving participants a deeper understanding of the context of these realities and offering concrete options that can better the lives of Gazans.” and to highlight “Gazan culture-music, films, food, and art-to showcase the beauty that goes along with the challenges of life in the Gaza Strip.”
“Let’s try it together,” rapper Tamer Nafar tells the audience before his performance, inviting them to sing. “I need your help. I cannot be anti-Semitic alone.”
“Don’t think of Rihanna when you sing this, don’t think of Beyonce – think of Mel Gibson.”
Duke University issued the following statement to ABC11:
“We want to be very clear: antisemitism is one of the great scourges of modern life. Its resurgence, as demonstrated by the worldwide increase in hate crimes and incidents, is deeply troubling and should be of great concern to any civil society,” said a joint statement from Duke University President Vincent E. Price and Provost Sally Kornbluth. “Whether it occurs on our campus, in our community, through graffiti, rallies or concerts, in conference rooms or courtrooms, we must all speak out forcefully against actions and statements that target and threaten members of our Jewish community. On our campus and beyond, the lines of politics, trust, activism and civility cannot become so blurred that we lose our commitment to mutual respect. We must guard against the danger that our passions obscure our common humanity, and we must remind ourselves that what injures any one of us injures us all.”
On Friday, UNC Interim Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz issued the following statement:
“A performance during a recent conference held on our campus contained disturbing and hateful language. Like many members of our community, I am heartbroken and deeply offended that this performance happened. I stand steadfast against Anti-Semitism and hate in all its forms. The Carolina spirit is not about hateful language that divides us, but about civil discourse that advances ideas and knowledge. We must continue to aspire together to that ideal.”