On Kanye West and Anti-Semitism

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Just when I thought I was going to be free of discussing Kanye West, AKA “Ye,” and his “White Lives Matter” marketing ploy, the rapper caused further controversy by making what some believe to be anti-Semitic remarks. Some have suggested this illustrates a lesson that conservatives should learn about glomming on to celebrities who might make a few statements with which they agree.

Last week, West said (in a since-deleted tweet):

I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE. The funny thing is I actually can’t be Anti Semitic because black people are actually Jew also.

“You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda,” he added.

The tweet came only days after the rapper posted screenshots of a text message exchange with rapper Diddy in which he wrote, “Ima use you as an example to show the Jewish people that told you to call me that no one can threaten or influence me. I told you this was war. Now gone get you some business.”

Predictably, Ye’s remarks elicited a firestorm of criticism from the left and some on the right. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted:

There is absolutely no room in this country or world for antisemitism. It is important to see how harmful + dangerous Kanye’s words are – not only to our Jewish brothers, sisters, & siblings, but also to our collective society at large.

We must reject this 🚮 wherever we see it.

Of course, coming from someone who pals around with noted anti-Semites Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), this doesn’t mean much. But it was indicative of the claptrap coming from Democrats over this matter.

However, some on the right also took exception to Ye’s comments and argued that conservatives must be careful with celebrities. In his usual humorous fashion, conservative commentator Jesse Kelly tweeted:

Repeat after me:

I, person on the Right who’s been beaten down by a hostile culture, will NOT fall in love with the latest celebrity/billionaire who says one thing I like. I won’t because it makes me look desperate and pathetic and I’m just gonna get burned again.



But it was criticism coming from podcaster and speaker Ian Haworth that I thought was pretty interesting. He also spoke out on Twitter about Ye’s remarks but also penned an op-ed for the Washington Examiner in which he elaborated on his arguments.

He starts off by noting how conservatives typically react to celebrities:

Despite declaring that celebrities are false idols in our society in a sometimes jealous response to the Left’s undeniable domination of culture, conservatives are too often desperately hungry to gain any cultural relevance they can.

And this desperation has one particularly irreparable consequence: The conservative movement is damaged by rushing to celebrate a single celebrity because he or she said one supposedly conservative thing — among a sea of not-so-conservative things.

Kanye West is the ultimate example.

Haworth also brought up comments West made about Jared Kushner, insisting that he only pushed the Abraham Accords to “make money” and that “black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people.”

“[B]y the metrics we use to judge those on the Left, Ye is antisemitic,” Haworth wrote.

“After all, Democrats have been correctly labeled as antisemites for saying far less — or at least for being far more subtle about it,” he added.

Haworth continued:

Ye has promoted the notions that Jewish politicians are motivated solely by profit, that Jewish people exert an outsize level of control, and that Jews are actually black — the foundational and historically inaccurate claim at the center of the radical Black Hebrew Israelite ideology, which not only fueled two deadly attacks in December 2019 but also the waves of physical violence against Jews in black communities. So you’d think the broad conservative movement would move to condemn Ye as quickly as it moved to reject Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-NI), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

He acknowledged that some “did condemn Ye,” but that “the awkward and embarrassed silence from others is deafening.”

I can’t say he’s wrong.

I’m not sure whether Ye despises Jewish people or not. He is known for shooting off at the mouth (or fingers). But if members of “The Squad” or anyone else on the left had made similar remarks, you best believe conservatives would be all over it. We’d have numerous videos, op-eds, and reports coming from the right, excoriating these folks for their apparent bigotry. Hell, I’ve written several pieces about Tlaib and Omar’s anti-Jewish sentiments.

But since West is a celebrity that once wore a MAGA hat and agrees with us on policy, too many are unwilling to speak up.

This isn’t to say that conservatives should not engage with folks like Ye. Indeed, he might end up apologizing or clarifying his remarks. He’s done it before. But when it comes to celebrities, especially ones as unpredictable as Ye, it might be a good idea to tread lightly.


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