Kanye West validates voices of hate

Kanye West has become the catalyst for a new wave of antisemitism and neo-nazis to feel validated with their hate. Anyone who is on social media has by now seen or knows of the antisemitic West’s infamous “DEATHCON 3” tweet, his appearance on InfoWars with Alex Jones where he claimed Hitler was a good person, or his posted image of a swastika embedded into the star of David. This hate speech has opened the gates for bigots to feel validated in their antisemitism, as seen on Oct. 22 in the heart of L.A. A masked group of white supremesists demonstrated banners that read “Kanye is right about the Jews,” as well as saluted Hitler.

Many of my peers have discussed whether or not it is moral to listen to West’s music after his controversial statements. This should not have been the main conversation to spark from this issue. We should be focussing on how to minimalize the spread of hateful, especially antisemitic, ideologies.

The spotlight of this situation should be taken away from Kanye, not just to deplatform him, but to put the focus on the Jewish community and how to support them in what looks to be a growing wave of neo-nazism. Although only 0.2% of religious individuals around the globe, the Jewish community is abundant in our city. We always seemed to be the only ones aware of how antisemetic hate is still very much alive, especially on a local level. The events that occurred in LA may seem irrelevant to some of our citizens since it happened outside of our safe little bubble known as Thousand Oaks. But, these issues hit much closer to home than anyone may believe.

Just a few days after the banner event received attention all over social media, a local and familiar temple to many families in our community, Adot Alonim, received an abomination of a letter from the same LA group. The two page essay, headlined “The New Holocaust,” essentially blamed Jewish People for being the cause of abortions and “killing” 60 million babies. They made sure to include disturbing imagery of what they believe to be an abortion, as well as multiple swastikas. We hope that after a repulsive occurrence such as this, Thousand Oaks and its neighbors will be enlightened on how this issue concerns them. They cannot continue to ignore the antisemitism within their home towns and must take a vocal stand for the Jewish community. Posting an infographic on Instagram that can be done with one click is the absolute bare minimum, especially if you do not further educate yourself. We urge everyone to reach out to their Jewish classmates and friends to express their support.

Antisemitism has existed since the fifth century BCE; Jewish people were the first scapegoats of the world. The issue with his indestructible platform is that his ideas can be adopted by millions of his loyal fans or further encourage those with already antisemitic biases. We fear that this will manifest into aggression or violence, as seen in endless instances throughout history.
It is unfortunate and disappointing that this conversation was reignited only after open acts of antisemitism from an unstable, world-famous celebrity.