Famous rapper Kanye West on Oct. 9 told his 31.4 million Twitter followers that he would go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE” – in a post hidden by the Twitter platform for violating its rules.
The rapper added an aside – “Who you think created cancel culture?” – before Meta suspended him from Twitter and Instagram for violating their hate speech policies.
“Death con 3” apparently alludes to DEFCON, the United States’ defense-readiness condition alert scale, with an ominous twist.
“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 wrote in the now-hidden post.
The rapper’s words provoked the backing of numerous social media users, who posted anti-Semitic viewpoints or allusions in response to West’s “cancel culture” tweet.
ALL ISRAEL NEWS Editor-in-Chief Joel Rosenberg stated on Twitter that Kanye’s remarks are “revolting, anti-Semitic and unacceptable from anyone – but especially from someone calling himself a passionate follower of Jesus Christ.” He also called the words dangerous.
Rosenberg added the hashtag #PrayForKanye in his tweet.
On Saturday, after uploading a heated exchange of texts he’d had with rapper Sean Combs (aka. P. Diddy) to Meta’s Instagram app, which had found his language offensive, West took to Twitter, another Meta platform.
The two music creators had argued back and forth about a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt that West’s fashion brand, Yeezy, had introduced at a Paris Fashion Week runway show.
“The answer to why I wrote ‘White Lives Matter’ on a shirt is because they do,” West said in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson afterwards. “It’s the obvious thing.”
The phrase drew backlash from supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement, including from Combs. The rapper posted a video saying to his followers: “Don’t wear the shirt, don’t buy the shirt, don’t play with the shirt. It’s not a joke.”
In a private text conversation that followed, West suggested that Combs was being controlled by Jewish people and posted screenshots of the exchange on Instagram.
“I didn’t like our convo. I’m selling these tees. Nobody can get in between me and my money,” West wrote to Combs. “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.”
West’s remarks came under fire from social media users, lawmakers and several organizations, for evoking an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that alleges the existence of a secret plot by Jews to dominate the world.
The American Jewish Committee noted that West’s remarks were “laden with racist and anti-Semitic undertones.”
The Anti-Defamation League called the rapper’s behavior “deeply troubling, dangerous, and anti-Semitic.” It added in a Twitter post that “there is no excuse for his propagating of white supremacist slogans and classic #antisemitism about Jewish power, especially with the platform he has” – for perspective’s sake, reaching almost three and a half times the number of people that reside in the State of Israel.
In a CNN editorial, journalist Jill Filipovic said “the latest West affair has turned into a bizarre way for people across the political spectrum to put on a performance, either as a highly moralistic progressive who paints the world in black and white and good people versus bad, or as a West sympathizer, sending a message (sometimes tacit, in other cases overt) to their followers that they perhaps share West’s hateful sentiments.”
U.S. Democrat representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – who wept for standing by while the House voted to fund Israel’s Iron Dome rocket-defense system – was among those who lambasted the rapper for his anti-Semitic comments.
“There is absolutely no room in this country or world for anti-Semitism, AOC stated on Twitter, aligning herself. “It is important to see how harmful [and] dangerous Kanye’s words are – not only to our Jewish brothers, sisters, [and] siblings, but also to our collective society at large,” AOC posted on Twitter. Ocasio-Cortez has also courted controversy for accusing Israel of practicing apartheid.
Democrat congressman Ritchie Torres also wrote to West: “if you see yourself at war with Jewish people, then you are, by definition, antisemitic.”
Hollywood actress Jamie Lee Curtis called out West on the Today Show, and actor David Schwimmer wrote on Instagram: “Antisemitism is on the rise globally. Jews make up only 2.4% of the population of the United States but are the victims of more than 60% of all religious hate crimes.”
“Whether or not Kanye West is mentally ill, there’s no question he is a bigot,” Schwimmer wrote. West has been outspoken about his mental struggles and about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2017.
“His hate speech calls for violence against Jews,” Schwimmer went on. “If you interpret his words any other way and defend him, guess what? You are racist. If we don’t call someone as influential as Kanye out for his divisive, ignorant and antisemitic words then we are complicit.”
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.