By Aaron Shaykevich, Managing Editor
The past couple of months have been eye-opening. Kanye West, a public figure with millions of “fans,” has launched a parade of antisemitism. On October 8, 2022, West began showing the world his antisemitic side, sharing on Twitter that he would “go death con 3 on the Jewish people.” While the meaning of this tweet is not entirely clear, the message was: West had an issue with Jewish people. Many were concerned with West’s statement, and thankfully, many businesses pulled out of deals with West over this. What followed was West taking a hiatus from social media (via being temporarily banned) and public appearances.
That was supposed to be the end of the story. West said rude, threatening comments and public perception of him would degrade until he was just another rich billionaire (or now millionaire) without the same fanbase he used to have. This did not happen. On December 1, 2022, West went on Alex Jones’s show (who is another story altogether) and shared his love of “both” Jews and Nazis. Afterward, West shared on Twitter a picture of a Jewish star with a swastika in it.
When Twitter took down West’s account (for the second time now), I went to Elon Musk’s Twitter page to see what his commenters were saying about the situation. Appallingly, many were focused on how banning West was another form of free speech suppression and how Musk was going back on his word when acquiring Twitter. While I am not going to argue the free speech claim, I am not nearly knowledgeable enough to, I will argue that it is not the most important conversation to be had right now. What is more significant to discuss is why Kanye West is saying these things and what can be done.
One must keep in mind that Kanye West has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, important context for any critique of his actions… That is why the first time West shared his wishes to go “death con 3” on the Jews, I hoped his next step would be to seek out treatment, so an outburst like that didn’t happen again. But by keeping this antisemitism going and not stopping himself and getting help, this is not just an outburst of a mentally ill man. He is an antisemite. His problematic statements are his own, and he is directly to blame.
West’s claim that he loves everyone, Jews and Nazis alike, is extremely problematic. West does realize that both can’t be true. No one who “loves” Jews would think it’s right to put a Jewish star and swastika in the same photo. The way I see it, there are two reasons he is claiming this. First, West likely has a lack of understanding of what the Holocaust really was. This may be unintentional, or he may be purposefully ignoring the truth. Either way, he hasn’t internalized that real people died. Secondly, his statement is likely bait for attention from Jewish people. Two months ago, he mentioned going “death con 3” on Jewish people, and when he realized threatening Jews was not going to fly, he’s instead trying to hurt us by grouping us with the Nazis.
Kanye West, in my opinion, is trying to stir the pot. I don’t know why, and I don’t care why. When we have to sit there and hear that our communities are “loved” by Kanye the same way he loves despicable murderers, I can’t stand it. I don’t know if what West had said, and likely will say, will ultimately lead to violence against Jews. I hope West’s influence is smaller than I think it is. But at the end of the day, his words mean something, and they hurt and scare me. Kanye, you can keep this “love” you claim to have for Jews. We don’t want it.