Candace Owens defends Kanye West, says tweet about Jews wasn't antisemitic

Owens defended Kanye West on an episode of her political talk show, saying that "honest people" knew that he wasn't actually being antisemitic.

Candace Owens speaking with attendees at the 2018 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA, Florida. (photo credit: GAGE SKIDMORE/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Candace Owens speaking with attendees at the 2018 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA, Florida.
(photo credit: GAGE SKIDMORE/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

Conservative political commentator Candace Owens dismissed the charges that Kanye West was antisemitic in a recent tweet stating that he would "go death con 3 on Jewish people." Owens said that West's statement was not actually demonizing Jewish people.

"If you are an honest person, you did not think this tweet was antisemitic," Owens, who works for the Daily Wire news site run by Jewish political commentator Ben Shapiro, said Monday. "You did not think that he wrote this tweet because he hates or wants to genocide Jewish people. This is not the beginning of a Holocaust."

"If you were an honest person, when you read this tweet, you had no idea what the hell he was talking about. I had no idea, when I read this tweet, what the hell he was talking about," she continued. "This tweet inspired questions, not answers."

"If you are an honest person, you did not think this tweet was antisemitic."

Candace Owens

Owens made these comments on an episode of her political talk show Candace, which is produced by the news website The Daily Wire.

Owens further gives her opinions on West's tweets, asking what is "death con 3." She then argues that West may have meant to tweet "Deafcon 3," which is an alert state used by the US Armed Forces, to which Owens says "would be a military defense position - not an offense position for those of you who are offended."

Candace Owens (R) and Charlie Kirk (L) holding a copy of The Jerusalem Post (credit: CHARLIE KIRK)Candace Owens (R) and Charlie Kirk (L) holding a copy of The Jerusalem Post (credit: CHARLIE KIRK)

West recently had his Twitter and Instagram accounts locked over his antisemitic posts.

"Is [West] tweeting this because he's reading the Newsweek headline - calling him antisemitic? Is he angry because he can't believe he's not free to talk about people in his life who happen to be Jewish without being accused of antisemitism?"

Owens then alleges that if one is "lying" about West's tweet, it's because "they were scared and thought that Kanye West was going to launch a military strike at Israel." She further alleges that it was "the reaction that was met with this tweet." 

Despite this, Owens stressed that her statements are not a defense of his tweet, "but an open question which never seems to happen anymore.

"It's like you cannot even say the word 'Jewish' without people getting upset."

Responses to Owens's statement

Democratic congressman Ritchie Torres tweeted: "Imagine if Kanye were a left-wing celebrity. Does anyone think Candace Owens would be rushing to defend the indefensible? If you’re an apologist for Antisemitism in your own backyard, you’re part of the problem."

Earlier this week, Torres also criticized the rapper, saying that "if you see yourself at war with Jewish people, then you are, by definition, antisemitic. Shame on you and your enablers like Tucker Carlson."

The non-partisan organization Stop Antisemitism tweeted in response: "Candace Owens telling Jews what is and isn’t antisemitic."

Previous controversial statements by Owens

The conservative commentator was met with heavy criticism after she said in early 2019 that she would've had no issue with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had he kept his nationalism local in Germany rather than projecting it globally, a statement which forced her to defend herself the day after - saying that her comments were misinterpreted.

In late 2021, she compared giving children aged five to 11 a COVID-19 vaccine to child predators and Nazi and Soviet youth programs.

"White Lives Matter" shirt

A photo of Owens and West was taken at a Paris fashion show earlier this month, where the two wore shirts with the text "White Lives Matter" on them. Like Owens's defense of West's tweets, the photo received much social media backlash.

The Anti-Defamation League tweeted in response:  "The behavior exhibited this week by @kanyewest is deeply troubling, dangerous, and antisemitic, period. There is no excuse for his propagating of white supremacist slogans and classic #antisemitism about Jewish power, especially with the platform he has."

The phrase "White Lives Matter" is a white supremacist phrase, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), that originated in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. ADL also stated that groups such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) have promoted such phrases and used the slogan. The KKK is also classified as an antisemitic, Neo-Nazi hate group.

Tamar Uriel-Beeri contributed to this report.