ADL: B.o.B.'s Rap “Flatline” Promotes “Holocaust Denial”

Published: 2016-02-09
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Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr., better known by his stage name B.o.B, is an American recording artist and music producer from Decatur, Georgia.

On 26 January 2016, chart-topping Black rapper B.o.B. (real name Bobby Ray Simmons Jr.), who has had three top-ten hit recordings, caused serious worry to the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith by posting online a rap-video that: (1) alludes to Jewish power over the government of the United States, (2) declares that Adolf Hitler was not the greatest villain in world history, and (3) suggests that the listener become familiar with David Irving.

The ADL's press-release on the matter puts it this way:

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is deeply troubled by lyrics in a new song released online by rapper B.o.B that invokes the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory of Jewish control of the U.S. government and promotes a notorious Holocaust denier by name.

The rapper's ditty, titled “Flatline,” advocates what B.o.B. calls “free thinking.”

This is the part that bothers the ADL:

But before you try to curve it,
Do your research on David Irving;
Stalin was way worse than Hitler;
That's why the POTUS gotta wear a kippah.

The CEO of the ADL, Johnathan A. Greenblatt, said that it was “troubling that B.o.B seems to have given new life to the antisemitic conspiracy theory of Jewish control of the US government, while handing a free publicity gift to the notorious Holocaust denier, David Irving.”

It is even claimed (e.g. by Menachem Rephun  of JPUpdates) that the rap itself engages in “Holocaust denial.”

The rap itself in fact does not say anything about whether or not Jews were gassed during the Second World War. It only implies that the importance of what Jews call the Holocaust has been exaggerated. The view that the rap itself represents “Holocaust denial” is an interpretation, based on the assumption that B.o.B. agrees with the ADL's rather distorted view that David Irving is the epitome of a “notorious Holocaust denier.”

Irving rejects or "denies" only the claim that Jews were gassed at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and is thus, as Professor Faurisson calls him, a semi-revisionist, or in enemy terms, a semi-denier. Holocaustian propaganda, however, has made David Irving into the unwilling and inappropriate symbol of “Holocaust denial” in general.

Apart from the reference to Irving, the statement that Stalin was “worse than Hitler” would have been relatively commonplace and uncontroversial during the Cold War. Clear-thinking people who do not even question the Holocaust can still be heard from time to time saying that Stalin was worse than Hitler.

It is the lens of specifically Jewish interests, and the propaganda based on those interests, that gives special value to whatever number of Jewish deaths is alleged, thereby making Hitler worse than Stalin. It is not absolutely clear from the lyrics that B.o.B. is doing more than simply rejecting the exaggerated importance given to “the six million.”

On the day of video's debut, David Irving was asked for his reaction by Myles Tanzer of The Fader, a magazine devoted to music news. Irving told Tanzer that he had not heard about B.o.B. or the song.

"I would like to say I have the greatest respect for American rap singers, but can’t quite get the words out," said Irving.

After perusing the lyrics, Irving said that he agreed with B.o.B.'s assessment that Stalin was worse than Hitler. "I think that Stalin is credited with 35,000,000 nicks on his bedpost, Hitler only 6,000,0000.”

Irving also opined, "[B.o.B.] does not quite go along with what the media (and shortly, Hollywood) says about me, quite right."

In fact it is not at all clear from the lyrics what B.o.B. knows or believes about David Irving, beyond the vague notion that Irving is some kind of critic of the demonization of Adolf Hitler or of Jewish power, and that B.o.B agrees with whatever it is that he thinks David Irving represents.

B.o.B. may have simply assumed that Irving was the “notorious Holocaust denier” that the ADL always says he is. (It seems a doubtful assumption that rappers would fact-check their lyrics.)

Finally, Irving told Tanzer that he "will now take a greater interest in American rap."

While free thinking is something that CODOH promotes, the rapper's “free thinking” takes an unfortunate turn when it implies that the Earth is a plane rather than a sphere. The Flat Earth Hypothesis is in fact the rap's main point. (It should be noted that the movement to revive belief in the flatness of the Earth originates in Biblical literalism. As a defense of religious belief against evidence and reason, Flat-Earthism therefore springs from a general tendency that is in this regard the opposite of revisionism.)

The references to Irving, Hitler, and Jewish power in "Flatline" serve as supporting evidence for a general contention that much is not as we are told. Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, is what B.o.B. means when he invokes the fact that Adolf Hitler has been unjustly treated in Jewish-dominated mainstream history. If they lie to us about Hitler, then they are probably lying about other things (and therefore, B.o.B. contends, the Earth might be flat). This means that for B.o.B. the point about Hitler and Jewish power is not a point that has to be proven, but a given.

Despite the flaws of B.o.B.'s presentation, it is a matter of some importance that a Black entertainer of some prominence is showing disrespect for the Holocaust, because of the privileged status that Blacks enjoy in public discourse. When Blacks in the United States espouse an opinion, the American left finds itself obliged not to dismiss that opinion too summarily, lest one appear racist.

The sense of a dilemma and the need to step lightly was evident in the tone and content of the reaction from the ADL's Greenblatt, whose statement includes the hope that B.o.B. might not have intended the lyrics to be “taken seriously.”

Shamelessly exerting censorship, the ADL (in a press-release of 27 January) praised the quick removal of the “Flatline” video from Soundcloud, calling this a “positive first step to acknowledging a mistake here, but … not nearly enough.”

In addition to suppression of the rap, ADL  wants the rapper to recant: “We hope that B.o.B will find a way to communicate clearly to his fans that Holocaust denial is unacceptable and that he will apologize for invoking the age-old conspiracy theory about Jewish control of the government.”

Presently, the video is back online and easily found. It does not seem that the ADL et al. are going to get their way in this matter. In fact, they have probably made the matter a lot worse for themselves by complaining about the rap and advertising that B.o.B's rap promotes somebody that ADL regards as a “notorious Holocaust denier,” when the public might not otherwise have understood it that way or thought much about it.

B.o.B. does not seem to be in danger of being marginalized for his views. Black celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is attacked in the video, says that the incorrectness or objectionability of some of B.o.B.'s  beliefs “doesn’t mean we all can’t still like your music.”


The Algemeiner, Jan 27, 2116

The Jerusalem Post, Jan 28, 2016

The Jewish Chronicle, January 26, 2016

Additional information about this document

Author(s) Hadding Scott
Title ADL: B.o.B.'s Rap “Flatline” Promotes “Holocaust Denial”
Sources The Algemeiner, Jan 27, 2116, http://www.algemeiner.com/2016/01/27/rapper-b-o-bs-new-song-invoking-antisemitism-holocaust-denial-has-jewish-group-deeply-troubled/; The Jerusalem Post, Jan 28, 2016, http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/US-rapper-downplays-Holocaust-suggest-listeners-read-David-Irving-442824; The Jewish Chronicle, January 26, 2016, http://www.thejc.com/news/world-news/152788/chart-topping-american-rapper-promotes-holocaust-denier-new-single
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Dates published: 2016-02-09, first posted on CODOH: Feb. 9, 2016, 9:43 a.m., last revision: n/a
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