Ye’s antisemetic remarks reveal an American trend


Bennett Teitle

Sophomore Bennett Teitle and his sister, Lila, celebrating Hanukkah with a traditional dinner.

Leila Assadi, Opinion Editor

The 21st century is often described as the “progressive era”: a society that is more accepting of different races, ethnicities and religions than ever before—but rising blatant antisemitism once again threatens American Jews. 

It only took a single statement from one influential figure to embolden antisemitic Americans to spread their hate. 

“I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE.” 

This remark, posted by Kanye West via Twitter on Oct. 8, resulted in an increased number of hate crimes against Jews and sparked debate over the rise of antisemitism in the United States. 

Sophomore Bennet Teitle is Jewish and a former fan of West. “It hurt to see these interviews. When he left the tweet up and started doing interviews and talking about Jews, it started to sink in that he was completely serious,” Teitle said. “For him to repeatedly make antisemitic comments and then try to use his fame to play it off was pretty sad, and I don’t feel like I can listen to Kanye anymore.”

Though antisemitism has always been lurking behind the scenes of American society, West’s comments sparked action; on a Los Angeles freeway, a hate group hung banners promoting antisemitic messages like “Kanye is right about the Jews” and “honk if you know” while raising their arms in the Nazi salute. 

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and antisemitism on the rise, the present is becoming reminiscent of the past. 

While filling his car with gas in New York, Rabbi Simon Taylor was religiously profiled and targeted by another customer. Upon noticing the skullcap atop Taylor’s head, the man exploded into an obscene rant about his hatred for Jews, soon chasing Taylor with raised fists. 

“I’ve never had anything like this in New York, and it definitely felt to me like this whole Kanye West thing had something to do with it,” Taylor shared. “All it takes is a couple influential people to say things, and suddenly it becomes very tense.”

Though West’s comments brought consequencesmost notably dropped brand deals and blocked social media accounts—too many groups and people embraced his sentiments

Student minister Ishmael Muhammad referenced West’s comments at a Nation of Islam sermon, and extremist Black Hewbrew Istraelite sects praised West. White Lives Matter groups plan to utilize West’s comment to create new propaganda and further their agendas. 

In 2021, reported anti-Jewish hate crimes reached 387 incidents—a 148 case spike from 2020. In 20 of the largest U.S. cities, including Los Angeles and New York City, home to the largest Jewish communities in the United States, violent beatings of Jews increased by 59%. 

As hate and harassment against Jewish people see their highest levels since the 1970s, West’s blatant antisemitism is troublesome—but he is not the only perpetrator. Experts say another group factors into this violence: far right-wing political forces. 

Two of the most prominent examples are former President Donald Trump and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. 

In an online post on TruthSocial, Trump wrote that American Jews needed to “get their act together” and show appreciation for the state of Israel “before it’s too late.” Trump’s comments supported the false antisemitic trope that American Jews have a secret loyalty to Israel. Trump also has years of alignment with extreme antisemitic figures. 

On Sept. 1, an antisemitic social media post published by Greene resulted in Democrats seeking to censure her. The post in question: “Joe Biden is Hitler,” along with an edited video of President Biden with a mustache standing with swastikas in the background. 

These comments come after Greene’s 2018 claims that California wildfires could have been caused by a Jewish cabal with a space beam. She also addressed a conference organized by white nationalists who attended neo-Nazi rallies and compared COVID-19 mandates to the forced yellow-stars Jews were made to wear in Nazi-controlled Europe. 

“The number of antisemitic remarks made by right-wing politicians has been troubling,” Teitle continued. “The fact that supporters of these politicians can just shrug off hateful comments and continue supporting them is the exact same principle that got leaders like Hitler into power.”

These politicians’ comments are troubling to many, but that concern apparently did not translate to their popularity. Both politicians still have large platforms, while West’s social-media following significantly increased after his antisemitic remarks. 

Social Blade, a website that tracks social-media statistics, found that West’s Twitter account gained 180,925 new followers, a near 1000% jump from the previous day’s increase. West’s Twitter followers already double the global Jewish population, and this increase only furthered the gap. 

Teitle finds this statistic incredibly troubling. “The fact that his followers increased means that Kanye has succeeded in taking a step towards normalizing antisemitism in today’s society,” he said. “For some reason, people never think twice when hating on Jews. Since there are so few of us, people feel like they can be openly antisemitic without hurting anyonewhich couldn’t be further from the truth.”

There is an old saying that every Jew knows where their passport is. With the war in Europe and the rise of antisemitism in the United States, many American Jews have begun to feel unsafe in their own country with seemingly no better option. 

History is very real, and for American Jews, there is fear that the past could become the present.