(Or whatever he is called these days). Kanye West is still at it, calling out the media, the fashion world, and even Disney as being controlled by Jews. I really didn’t think it could get worse than it already was, after his antisemitic rant on Instagram, Twitter, and the Tucker Carlson show. When he was kicked off the social media platforms, it just seemed to egg him on even more.
I began writing this on Chol Hamoed (the intermediary days of) Sukkot. Here in Israel, we were (and still are, unfortunately) on high alert during the holidays for random acts of deadly terror that seemed to occur almost daily. Tragically, there have been victims. Even the “good” news from Wednesday that the fugitive terrorist who murdered Noa Lazar two weeks ago was shot dead while committing yet another attack against Israelis just reinforces the fact that we can never ever let our guard down, even for a minute. Even for a holiday such as Sukkot and Simchat Torah, when we are commanded to be happy and rejoice.
Now that the holidays are behind us, and though we have elections coming up both here in Israel and mid-terms in the US, which seem to be taking up all the newscasts and social media posts, it is imperative to not just sigh and wash off Kanye’s remarks. Many high-profile figures (such as the former president) have tried to soften the blow of his comments. Sure, we can say that his remarks were misguided (he is paranoid), ignorant (does he really think Jews control everything and only care about money?), and stupid (what exactly does “Death Con 3” mean anyway?), we as Jews must not ignore this. This may seem cliche-ish, and it is. It’s not original- it’s happened before and it’s happening again now.
All over the world, Jews are at risk. You can call it antisemitism or anti-Israel, but it’s the same thing. On just one day of Sukkot, just last week, these were the headlines:
*The ADL reports that there were 359 anti-Israel incidents on U.S. college campuses during the 2021-22 academic year.
*An Ottawa, Ontario man has been arrested for making antisemitic threats against a Jewish doctor.
*A synagogue in Wisconsin was vandalized multiple times during the Sukkot holiday.
*A swastika was discovered on the door of the kosher kitchen at Ithaca College in Upstate New York.
*A Portland, Oregon Jewish-owned restaurant was defaced with a swastika.
*On the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a sukkah was vandalized by being kicked in and urinated on.
*Three neo-Nazis in Spain were arrested and charged with hate crimes against the Jewish communities of Madrid and Burgos.
So back to Kanye. He is on a roll now. The more media attention he gets, the more he lashes out. What makes this even more worrisome is that he identifies as Conservative. I won’t go into all his views here, but knowing that he has been embraced by Conservative America makes me concerned even more. Conservatives are supposed to be on “our side”, aren’t they? Aren’t they pro-religion, pro-Israel, pro…..Jewish? Kanye doesn’t speak for all Conservatives, thankfully, but we should be alarmed nonetheless.
Here in Israel, we know who are our enemies are. They make sure we know. When an anti-Jewish incident takes place, it isn’t graffiti, an antisemitic remark, or a pro-Palestinian rally. It’s a real attack, and it’s caused by years-or rather, generations-of brainwashing and indoctrination.
This can also happen in America and anywhere else in the world. It may not be as obvious, it may not be officially taught in schools like it is in the Palestinian Authority, but it is there, and it is happening. They don’t call themselves Hamas or Islamic Jihad. Sometimes, as in the case with Kanye, they may not even think that they are antisemites. But words have influence. Especially from famous musicians and other celebrities. Someone out there has heard the hatred that Kanye has spewed and is coming up with ideas. Someone out there is agreeing with him right now and strengthening his/her own resolve.
This is why it’s so important not to make excuses for him. I have heard of a few Jewish organizations and celebrities denouncing Kanye’s comments, but it’s not enough. It seems that people are talking about it, but trying to find ways to dismiss it. Why haven’t Josh and Jared Kushner spoken out against Kanye’s remarks? Why don’t they defend themselves? What about Donald Trump? Candace Owens? Why is everyone sticking up for him? Brushing this off will only make it worse. I implore anyone and everyone with influence to make their voices heard, in defense of the Jews. Don’t sweep this under the rug.
Wishing everyone a peaceful New Year.