A King of Rap and A King of the Court Fuel the Flames of Antisemitism

Sarah Marine, Staff Writer

This past fall, Grammy winning artist and fashion designer Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, engaged in yet another twitter battle, this time with Grammy winning artist Sean “Diddy” Combs following Ye’s appearance during Paris Fashion Week where he wore a “White Lives Matter” t-shirt.

On October 7, 2022, Ye took to Instagram to post tweets in response to Combs’ alleged text messages. In these messages, Combs allegedly wrote: “I’m just trying to talk to you as a Black man. And I’m talking to you because this is hurting our people. Stop.”

Ye’s response on twitter implied “Jewish people” were controlling Combs and making decisions for him. Two days later, after having his Instagram taken down yet again for a similar message, Ye posted a tweet that directly called out, and threatened, the Jewish community. His antisemitic tweets, and the world’s response led to, according to Ye, an almost $2 billion dollar loss in his net worth.

Ye continues to push the boundaries of social media and free speech.

Weeks later, on October 27, NBA all-star Irving, currently rostered on the Nets, posted a link to an anti-semitic documentary, publicizing the movie to his 4.5 million Twitter followers. Three days later, Irving defended his posting during a combative press conference after a tough loss to the Pacers. He said, “what I post does not mean that I support everything that’s being said, or everything is being done, or I’m campaigning for anything. All I do is post things for my people in my community and those that it’s actually going to impact. Anybody else that has criticism, it obviously wasn’t meant for them.”

During an interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of InfoWars on December 1, Ye said that he “sees good things about Hitler.” After the interview, Ye posted another hateful, antisemitic image on his Twitter and has since declared he will be running for President in 2024. He has since been suspended by the platform.

A single tweet from a celebrity could be enough ammunition for a dangerous home-grown terrorist.

 It is important to note, also, that Ye is not the only antisemitic voice in the entertainment industry, but it can be heard, amplified, and rapidly spread from his elevated celebrity platform and large following. Ye has actively chosen to use his position of power to promote prejudice and potential violence. Attacks on Jewish temples have increased since his statement. Earlier in November, New Jersey synagogues were threatened. Although the perpetrator has been arrested, Ye’s posts taken down, and Irving’s half-hearted apology, no disciplinary response can undo the pain these hateful words have brought upon the world and the fire that has been added to the already growing flame of modern antisemitism.  

While Ye continues to push the boundaries of social media and free speech, Irving received a five-game suspension from the Brooklyn Nets as a result of his statements. While most people are outraged by these recent antisemitic comments, there will always be extremists who see these theories as the truth. Others have chosen to exploit Ye, not considering the millions of people they expose to such hate. For example, Jones actively chose West as an interviewee on his show for the large amounts of publicity he would gain, disregarding the fact that he was continuing to give Ye a platform to promote his hate speech. While some may dismiss these controversies because they could not imagine someone like Ye actually participating in violent acts, one does not have to participate actively to be a perpetrator of them.  A single tweet from a celebrity could be enough ammunition for a dangerous home-grown terrorist. 

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), who tracks instances of hate crimes, “there has been a 34% increase as of 2021 in antisemitic behavior across the nation.” For centuries the Jewish community has been a target of threats, hate and genocide. It is important to stomp out this spark before another temple is burned to the ground in violent, misguided, and hate-filled flames.