Kanye West Antisemitism


Kanye West is widely praised for his music and was considered “The Greatest Artist of the Century” by The Echo in 2020. But recently, Kanye West has faced dramatic backlash. West has made countless antisemitic statements over the years and is beginning to face repercussions for these comments. The Economic Times reports that West has lost over $1 billion in light of recent controversies. 

The issue began when West tweeted over Sukkot that he was “going death con 3 on Jewish people,” and that the Jewish community has “toyed” with him and “tried to black ball anyone” who opposes their “agenda.” West continued by claiming that he is a part of the Jewish community, as “Black people are actually Jews.” He later mentioned his partnership with Adidas, doubting that they would sever ties with him despite his antisemitism. West’s company, Yeezy, generated an estimated $1.7 billion in annual revenue for Adidas, according to Baird, a financial services company. Despite his assumption, Adidas terminated its partnership with Kanye West. The company said in a statement: “Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism or any other sort of hate speech” and that “Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.” Many other companies followed suit, with Balenciaga, Foot Locker, Gap, Vogue, and others severing ties with West. The loss of partnerships is estimated to revoke West’s billionaire status.

Kanye West’s recent antisemitism seems to be one instance in a long stream of anti-Jewish controversy. There are reports of West praising the Nazis, openly admitting his admiration of the party and reading Mein Kampf. Multiple sources have also reported that West wanted the name of his 2018 album “Ye” to be “Hitler.” In a removed clip from TMZ, West reportedly says that he “loves Hitler and loves the Nazis.” West has denied these accusations.

Jewish supporters of Kanye West are feeling conflicted over how to respond to the artist’s behavior. A poll of 48 Ramaz students found that in recent years, 37.5% of them have supported Kanye West, 29.2% have moderately supported him, and 33.3% have not supported him at all. 25 students said that they would no longer support West in light of recent events, 6 students would continue to support him, and 10 students were unsure. While some remain unfazed by West’s prejudice, others are feeling a bit flustered. One student said, “I feel like the situation is bringing too much attention. There are people who don’t know anything about Jewish people, and now Kanye is drawing negative attention to the Jewish community.” However, this student was also able to extract a bit of positivity from the situation, saying that “because of what’s happening, people are taking a stand against antisemitism.” Avital Sarao ’24 said that the response to West’s antisemitism is overdue: “It’s interesting that people are just now saying that he’s antisemitic…This has been going on for a while,” said Sarao ’24.

When asked if Ramaz would issue a statement regarding these events, Ms. Krupka, Associate Principal, replied: “Not yet. But we have often made strong statements about our approaches to it in the past.” To students who experience things that make them feel unsafe or worried, online or in person, Ms. Krupka advises them to tell someone. “If anything happens inside, outside, or in the vicinity of the building, or anywhere that makes a student feel unsafe or scared, they should report it immediately to the school,” said Ms. Krupka. Ms. Krupka also welcomes suggestions on combatting antisemitism. She would “love to hear from the students if they have ideas for initiatives or things that they want to do about it, as it’s definitely something important.”