UM Reacts to Recent Ye Antisemitism

Antisemitic poster saying "Kanye is right about the Jews" flown over a LA Highway on Tuesday Oct. 24. Credit: @AJCCEO on Twitter

Antisemitic poster saying "Kanye is right about the Jews" flown over a LA Highway on Tuesday Oct. 24. Credit: @AJCCEO on Twitter
Antisemitic poster saying "Kanye is right about the Jews" flown over a LA Highway on Tuesday Oct. 24. Credit: @AJCCEO on Twitter

“I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE,” Ye posted on Twitter on October 8.

In recent weeks, corporate America has taken many measures to penalize Ye for anti-semetic statements that relied on prejudicial tropes and upset not only the Jewish community, but many of his fans.

Twitter eventually took down the post for violating community guidelines and Ye was suspended from the app along with social media platform Instagram.

Continuing on his anti-semetic spree in the following days, Ye was, again, suspended from Instagram after claiming that rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs was “controlled by Jewish people” via a comment on Diddy’s post.

Ye’s comments mimic anti-semetic tropes claiming that the Jewish community aims to control the government, social media, banks and other major outlets.

“The only difference between Kanye West and gunmen who perform anti-semetic shootings on synagogues is that Kanye doesn’t have a gun, but he does have 18 million followers–a percentage of these followers do have a gun,” said Rabbi Lyle Rothman, Chief Experience Officer and Campus Rabbi at UM Hillel.

Ye’s 18 million followers on social media total more than the amount of Jewish people there are in the world, as noted by Rabbi Lyle. There are 15 million reported Jewish people internationally–6 million of whom live in the United States.

As a result of Ye’s statements, Balenciaga, Creative Artists Agency, the Gap and Adidas dropped West as a partner and client. Adidas had worked with Ye for over 10 years and the partnership was monetarily successful due to the hype around West’s Yeezy sneakers.

Furthermore, MRC Entertainment, a major film-production company, released a statement that they will not release West’s completed documentary. All of these severed-ties cost West his billionaire net-worth.

“I don’t believe Kanye is being canceled for cancel-culture’s sake. I believe he is being silenced,” Rothman said. “His statements and actions are truly not just damaging, but dangerous to the 15 million Jews in the world who have known persecution, who have known what it’s like to walk in the shadow of Auschwitz and have seen the extermination of the Jewish people, solely because we’re Jewish.”

Music-streaming services are not yet stripping West’s music from the public, though many have condemned his statements. Spotify CEO Daniel Elk said the comments were “awful,” according to Billboard.

West’s streams have reportedly dropped over the last month, as his vast fan-base has taken a toll. However, some fans will continue listening to his music, as they have tweeted “you can love the art, but hate the artist.”

“I will definitely keep listening to Kanye, although I completely disagree with what he has said recently,” a UM student said. “I’ve bought his Yeezy shoes and listened to him for years, so I’m going to separate him from his work because as a person, he hasn’t made the best choices and has said really terrible things.”

The student asked to remain anonymous, to avoid receiving negative responses about their opinion, but was very insistent that West’s actions were unforgivable. They said they would continue to appreciate his music, as they grew up listening to West’s music at parties with friends.

On the other hand, non-supporters of West’s persona don’t mind cutting off his work entirely.

“I’m not going to keep listening to this music,” said Stewart Messenger, a freshman majoring in entrepreneurship. “I don’t support any people, brands, or public images that engage in destructive behavior and I don’t tolerate any form of anti-semetism, racism, etc.”

Messenger was never a big fan of West as a person, but she did have many of his hit songs on her playlists. After these incidents, Messenger was adamant about cutting any aspect of West out of her life, saying she would never follow someone who intentionally and wrongfully attacks any group of people.

In the Jewish community, repentance is a prevalent aspect of their practice–where an individual will reflect on actions they have taken part in and gone back to fix their mistakes. As a leader in the Jewish population on campus, Rothman believes West is incapable of repentance, at this point.

“Kanye’s comments, which started potentially as ignorant comments, employed not just antisemitic tropes, but truly antisemitic rhetoric, which I believe flame the fire of antisemitism that exists in the United States and around the world,” Rothman said.