Kanye West’s Antisemitic Tirades Normalize Jew-Hatred in Public Discourse and Fuel Real-World Threats to Jewish Communities
January 31, 2023
U.S. rapper Kanye “Ye” West’s slew of antisemitic outbursts this past fall — including a Twitter threat to go “death con 3 on Jewish people” — served as a catalyst for the mainstreaming of Jew-hatred in public discourse and elevated the real-world threat levels faced by Jewish communities worldwide.
West’s bigoted statements — disseminated to his tens of millions of social media followers — was echoed or defended by a number of fellow celebrities, including ex-NFL star Antonio Brown, NBA player Reggie Bullock, and model Carmen Ortega, among others, and amid the controversy West was hosted for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at Mar-a-Lago by former U.S. President Donald Trump.
Furthermore, according to an analysis conducted by the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) in partnership with the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), West’s follower count on Twitter nearly doubled following his “death con 3” post.
Despite ultimately being banned from Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, West has continued to propagate antisemitic vitriol, via interviews with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, journalist Piers Morgan, and YouTuber Tim Pool, among others.
West’s tirades have had dire implications for the security of Jewish communities across the globe, particularly in the U.S., with the CAM Antisemitism Research Center tracking a series of assaults and vandalisms inspired by the rapper’s rhetoric.
Just this past week, a Jewish man was physically beaten at a supermarket in Gaithersburg, Maryland, by a group of assailants who invoked West’s name during the attack, saying, “Yeah, do it for Kanye,” and in New York City’s Central Park last month a Jewish man was struck in the back of the head by a perpetrator yelling “Kanye 2024.”
Also this week, “#YeisRight” was chalked at several locations on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa, similar to an incident at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in October.
In November, a Jewish cemetery in Waukegan, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, was desecrated, with 39 headstones defaced with Nazi swastikas and the words “Kanye was rite,” and the same message was spray-painted in a public park in Melbourne, Australia, the following month.
In Los Angeles, California, in October, members of the Goyim Defense League (GDL) — a hate group responsible for numerous antisemitic provocations across the U.S. over the past two years — performed Nazi salutes while hanging a banner on an I-405 freeway overpass reading “Kanye is right about the Jews.”
At the end of October, an identical message was projected on the exterior of TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, following the conclusion of a high-profile rivalry game between the University of Florida and University of Georgia football teams.
CAM Antisemitism Research Center data shows that far-right motives accounted for an estimated 55% of total media reported antisemitic incidents the week of West’s “death con 3” tweet. The following week, the number increased to 62.2%, and two weeks after West’s tweet it rose again to 65.7%.
Moreover, antisemitic incidents with Islamist motivations rose from 5.9% the week of the tweet to 11.4% of total media reported antisemitic incidents the next week.
Below is a regularly-updated database of Kanye West-related antisemitic incidents monitored since the publication of this article:
Oct. 26 — LA Holocaust Museum Receives Torrent of Abuse After Kanye West Declines Invitation
Nov. 14 — Author Of ‘Bitcoin & Black America’ Terminated By CoinDesk For ‘Kanye Was Right’ Tweet After FTX Collapse
Dec. 1 — Ex-Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall Defends Kanye West’s Antisemitic Statements
Jan. 4 — Antisemitic Activist Nick Fuentes Claims Over 1,000 Sign-Ups for ‘Students for Ye’ Group
Feb. 1 — Antisemitic Kanye ‘Ye’ West Remarks Found Written Around University of Florida Campus