In a flurry of tweets Monday to his 1.6 million followers, actor John Cusack thanked Palestine’s Al-Aqsa University for the honorary degree bestowed on him after he retweeted a cartoon of a giant Jewish hand smashing a crowd of feeble-looking people.
“Dr. Cusack proved himself to be a true ally of Palestine,” University President Dr. Amiri Baraka said at the award ceremony in the Gaza Strip. “Today we honor him with a Doctorate in Applied Sciences of Surface to Surface Missile Technology.”
On receiving the award, Dr. Cusack raised his fist in the air, looked into the camera, and said, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”
When a reporter for USA Today said the phrase originated with white nationalist neo-Nazi Kevin Alfred Strom, Dr. Baraka tried to shush Dr. Cusack.
Dr. Cusack was having none of it. “Follow the money!” he shouted.
As the crowd took up the chant, a panicked Dr. Baraka pushed his way in front of Dr. Cusack and denied any ties between Islam and fascism of any kind.
“Yes, all Arabs must revolt and fight the Jews wherever we find them,” said Dr. Baraka. “But Dr. Cusack’s speech has been hacked by white nationalists. He meant to criticize Israel’s policies against Palestinians, not to disparage the Jewish faith as a whole.”
Dr. Cusack, shaken by Dr. Baraka’s denial, tried to recant. “I was got by a bot,” Dr. Cusack said. “I’ve been digging in deeply to the complexities of the history of anti-semitism and fascism for years.”
The effort came too late, and Dr. Baraka snatched the honorary doctorate from Dr. Cusack’s hands.
“The use of anti-semitic tropes, even if they depict the state of Israel committing human rights violations, has no place in any rational political dialoge,” said Dr. Baraka.
The crowd returned to normal, and Dr. Baraka welcomed Dr. Louis Farrakhan to the stage to accept an honorary degree in Comparative Religion.