The fallout from Kanye West’s October tweet declaring that he was “going death con 3 on the Jewish people’’ has ranged from condemnation to corporation giants severing their partnership with the music mogul.
Over the years, West, legally known as Ye, heightened his celebrity status by breaking with the liberal dogma promoted in Hollywood circles by expressing support for gun rights and addressing the rise of abortions within the black community.
West’s activism included lobbying former US President Donald Trump on prison reform. Donning a MAGA hat, West spoke about his admiration for Trump during a 2018 White House visit.
While his latest comments are appropriately denounced, West’s targeting of Jews dates back years. The antisemitic watchdog group StopAntisemitism notes that in a 2013 interview on Power 105, West invoked the antisemitic trope declaring that all Jews are wealthy and that “black people don’t have the same levels of connection as Jewish people.” Years later, a picture emerged of West and his family smiling alongside Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Those applauding the cancellation of West should investigate why, up until last month, contemporary society was indifferent to his antisemitic past. Outrage appears easily when antisemitism directly libels Jews and is not cloaked in the progressively popular repackaged form of anti-Zionism.
Moreover, once West fit the convenient political narrative of antisemitism arising under the MAGA umbrella, attacking him proved effortless.
The widespread adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism explicitly mentions that “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor” is antisemitic. Still, slandering Israel goes largely unnoticed by Democrats, whose actions receive a pass or are praised for their distorted convictions.
In 2020, Representative Rashida Tlaib(MI) effectively called for the destruction of Israel in a since-deleted tweet, declaring, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” She remains a sitting US congresswoman. While visiting Michigan last year, US President Joe Biden praised Tlaib for her intellect and remarked, “you are a fighter and God thank you for being a fighter.”
What was once a small anti-Israel faction led by congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) has evolved into an influential cadre of lawmakers whose legislative priorities and hostility towards Israel are undermining Jewish security.
Following West’s disturbing post, tweets declaring, “I support my Jewish friends and the Jewish people,” were shared by those who remained silent as anti-Zionism has gained a foothold in the liberal political arena.
Symbolic forms of solidarity are rendered less believable when espoused by the same people who, two years ago, instinctively replaced a black square as their online profile on blackout Tuesday to honor the BLM movement.
The organization’s original platform called Israel an apartheid state. Stuck in an online haze, an eagerness to participate in the latest cultural trend suppresses the critical thinking associated with investigating positions held by progressive organizations.
Jewish Americans who reacted by shrugging their shoulders to Democrats’ demonizing Israel were suddenly championing Jewish interests, confident in their sanctimony as they urged friends to sign a petition demanding that corporations break with West.
THE ADVANCEMENT of a far-left ideology denigrating Israel is occurring in tandem with critically covering conservatives. Pennsylvania Republican Gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano has come under fire over his ties to the far-right social media platform Gab.
Politico reports that Mastriano once sat down for an interview with CEO Andrew Torba and had an account on the online portal. The GOP nominee also paid Gab a $5,000 consulting fee.
Since the allegations surfaced, Mastriano deleted his account and released a statement affirming that “Andrew Torba doesn’t speak for me or my campaign. I reject antisemitism in any form.”
Retaining relationships with extremist groups, on the Left or Right, is indefensible. Yet, rarely are conservatives who at least attempt to disassociate from far-right figures given the benefit of the doubt afforded to the other side of the aisle.
Republicans and Democrats
When past US President Barack Obama broke with his controversial Pastor Jeremiah Wright, who absurdly claimed that ‘ethnic cleansing is going on in Gaza,’ the matter was dropped. Obama then went on to win with over 78% of the Jewish vote.
After pressure from Republicans several years ago, numerous Democrats were forced to denounce Farrakhan after revelations that they had met with the antisemitic minister surfaced. Once they publicly repudiated Farrakhan, the issue was largely forgotten.
And while liberals assail Republicans, like Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene over stupidly appearing at rallies with right-wing antisemites, their fickleness when highlighting disturbing associations is evidenced by muted reactions when leftist party members cavort with progressive Jew-haters.
Last month’s Fox News story on New York Governor Kathy Hochul attending a Harvard Club fundraiser while posing alongside donor Maher Abdelqader, a promoter of antisemitic conspiracy theories, has received scant attention.
In 2020, several Democrats agreed to speak at an online plenary session at the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) Advocacy Days. The group allegedly harbors financial links to the terrorist group Hamas and has accused Israel of ethnic cleansing.
Still, AMP boasts a rising number of lawmakers who admire their mission. Last year’s recipient of the organization’s “Champion of Palestinian Rights Award,” Illinois Democrat Rep. Andre Carson, stated that AMP’s recognition of his work was a deep honor.
Combating antisemitism requires dropping a politically partisan guard. For some, hollow anger involving West is paired with bolstering people, policies and movements that attack Israel. While stylistically different, the consistent demonization of Israel reflects a Jew-hatred equal to that of West.
Those who performatively spent last month lauding their activism should ask themselves, “have they held those who libel the Jewish homeland accountable for their antisemitism? Have they employed the moral courage to reject antisemitic progressive organizations and explore alternative avenues to address social injustice?” If the answer is “No,” how genuine is this fight against antisemitism?
The writer is a writer who resides in New York. Her work has appeared in The American Spectator, JNS, The Algemeiner and Israel Hayom.