KANYE WEST is certainly never one to avoid controversy, but over the past weeks, his pronouncements on social media have been called out for being nothing more than vulgar anti-Semitism. The result was the cancellation of lucrative contracts with sports brand Adidas, the shelving of an unreleased documentary, and a major talent agency CAA cutting ties.
Both singer Boy George and celebrity Kim Kardashian have spoken out against the rapper’s casual resort to hate speech.
Kardashian wrote that hate speech is “never OK” or “excusable.”
“I stand together with the Jewish community and call on the terrible violence and hateful rhetoric towards them to come to an immediate end,” she added.
Instead of issuing an apology, West doubled down along his bigot-alley pronouncements by claiming the term ‘anti-Semite’ was now akin to the ‘use of the N-word’, before taking a month-long ‘vow of silence’.
His absurd attempt at issuing reverse psychology certainly fell flat, since such an equivocation seeks to deprive black Jews and Jews of color with what is, in reality a stock defence against racism. The term Anti-Semitism was coined in 1879 by Wilhelm Marr to designate the anti-Jewish campaigns underway in central Europe at that time, it was later adopted by academics as a better sounding term than Judenhass, or Jew-hatred.
While some may feel a little sympathetic with West encountering contemporary cancel culture, and his views certainly deserve opprobrium, South Africans should feel ashamed that local news-outlets appear to have censored the news story.
One can only surmise that the reasons for doing so is because cautionary tales about bigots and thus the antics of the rapper also known as Ye, who just happen to be black, don’t sit well with editorial attempts to normalise anti-Semitism, at the same time Anti-Semitism’s proponents, seek to excuse racism whenever it appears convenient to do so.
A similar incident involving bizarre Holocaust statements (subsequently retracted) made by actress and talk-show host Whoopie Goldberg earlier this year, was similarly given the silent treatment by the local press, who seem to believe anti-Semitism doesn’t exist.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) ‘non-binding working definition of anti-Semitism’ states: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
In South Africa, a working definition might include ‘open hostility towards Jewish secular identity’.
If the brouhaha around David Unterhalter and the Judicial Service Commission was to be considered, a working definition could incorporate perverse anti-Secular ‘inquiry into religion’ in other words, religious inquisition or investigation that tends to avoid or exclude members of other religions, thus unfairly discriminating against members of the Jewish faith or persons who define themselves as Jewish