No one is talking about the gravity of Kanye’s antisemitism.

I didn’t want to write this article.

Not for an absence of thoughts, or feelings. So many feelings. 

Because it's exhausting to feel this heavily. This frequently. 


Last Tuesday was Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year.

As I stood in my synagogue, our lips uttered prayer in unison for “the souls of the holy and pure who were killed, murdered, slaughtered, burned, drowned and strangled for the sanctification of the name”. 

For those who lost their lives to antisemitism over the ages: those who perished at the hands of the Babylonians in Jerusalem in 586BCE, and the Blood Libels of the late 1100s, and the Eastern European pogroms of the 19th and 20th century, and the Farhud of Baghdad in 1941. 

And Hitler’s Holocaust.

Millions of Jewish women, children and men murdered over thousands of years. Targeted for nothing more than being Jewish.

And antisemitism endures. 

Just a few days after we prayed together last week, rapper, Ye – formerly known as Kanye West – entered the conversation. 

After fellow rapper, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs sent a private SMS to Ye, pleading for him to “stop” after unveiling his shameful ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirts at his Paris Fashion Show, Ye accused Diddy of being controlled by Jewish people. 

“This ain’t a game. Ima use you as an example to show the Jewish people that told you to call me that no one can threaten or influence me,” Ye responded, and shared the screenshots to his social media.

But that was just the beginning.


In an interview with Tucker Carlson on Friday, Ye accused former White House senior advisor, Jared Kushner, of brokering the Abraham Accord peace agreements between Israel and various Arab nations to “make money”.

In the same interview – edited out, and only just publicly released – Ye stated: “I would prefer my kids knew [the Jewish holiday] Chanukah, than [African American celebration] Kwanzaa. At least it will come with some financial engineering.”

And over the weekend he took his antisemitic slurs to another level. 

In a late night Twitter tirade, he posted: “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.”

“The funny thing is I actually cant be Anti Semitic because black people are actually Jew also. You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone who opposes your agenda.”

When I read it, his words fell to the pit of my stomach. 

And I hate repeating them – his words – giving them more space to live and breathe.

In just a handful of text messages, tweets and comments, Ye successfully managed to invoke some of the oldest antisemitic tropes that have been rolled out since the beginning of time:

That Jewish people are greedy and money-hungry. 

That Jewish people have a special agenda. 

That Jewish people control the media.

And then he threatened the lives of Jewish people.

It’s basically straight from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the propaganda arsenal that fuelled Nazi idealogy. 

And history has shown us, that when you put out hate-mongering words, there is a very real danger that some people will actually believe them – out of ignorance, fear, or blind hatred.


It was words that came before the pilfered homes, and broken glass, and burned holy scriptures, and rancid black chimney smoke.

Words that eroded respect, values and human dignity. 

But “so what?” some will say. “So what, Ye is just mentally unwell.” 

But mental illness and antisemitism (or anti-Blackness) are not mutually exclusive.  

And let's not forget, this isn’t a random person shouting views into the street. This is a man with a platform – over 18 million followers on Instagram, and 30 million followers on Twitter.

The world Jewish population is 14.8 million. 

Let that sink in. 

So, where is the outrage?

Because when Ye and Candace Owens appeared in their ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirts – a nod to the catchcry of white supremacists – the world reacted loudly. Thankfully.

My social media feed immediately filled with celebrities, influencers, media outlets and regular people denouncing the act.

But Ye’s antisemitism? 

The silence is deafening. Except largely from Jews.

Allies, please say something. 

Because this is not acceptable. And it’s not okay. 

Nor is the diluted language reported by particular media outlets. Reuters referenced Ye’s “alleged antisemitic posts”. The New York Times said Ye’s comments “prompted accusations of racism and antisemitism”.


Call it what it is. Antisemitism. Not just according to me, but the IHRA definition too. 

For us to speak out against a problem, the problem needs to first be acknowledged.

Instead, it is trivialised.  

And when someone with the stature of Ye speaks, with his influence in mainstream culture and mass platform, these words become incitement in a world where antisemitism is ever-increasing. 

Just last year alone, the number of reported antisemitic incidents rose by 30 per cent in Australia.

And every time something like this happens, those who hold similar views feel permitted to openly express their sentiments too. The noxious seeds of hatred creep from the fringe and into the mainstream. Normalised.

The result is tangible. 

Jewish people are targeted. In the streets on their way to their synagogue, on public transport, and hate is shown to children in schools.

I know this too well. Personally. And I’ve seen it too many times – as a former journalist for The Australian Jewish News, who reported extensively on antisemitism and looked into the eyes of its victims. 

Still the words of the revered writer and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel resound. “Let us remember: what hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor but the silence of the bystander.”

I didn’t want to write this article. 

And I shouldn’t have to.

Would you like to read more from Rebecca Davis? You can find her articles here, or follow her on Instagram.

Image: Getty + Mamamia.

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