by Roger L. Simon
Sometimes in life, you get sideswiped.
And then you have to ask yourself about the degree it was your fault, the degree you were gullible, the degree you wanted something to be what it really wasn’t—not completely anyway.
No sooner had this outlet published my article celebrating rapper/fashion designer/billionaire Kanye West after his interview by Tucker Carlson, defending the man who calls himself “Ye” against accusations he was “crazy,” he jumps a thousand sharks on Twitter by posting this:
“I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE,” he wrote in the now-deleted post. “The funny thing is I actually can’t be Anti Semitic because black people are actually Jew also You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda.”
I guess, counter to what I wrote, he really is crazy, and bigoted into the bargain, something of a Jew-hater in denial. And not just because he confuses “death con” with “defcon.” I hope that wasn’t a Freudian slip.
I owe an apology to my readers for misleading them.
There’s more, sadly.
In the midst of his Twitter rants, West blamed the Jews for starting “cancel culture,” not a very sophisticated view, to put it mildly, because that phrase is merely the latest incarnation of something that has been going on from time immemorial.
People have been canceling and suppressing each other’s words since long before Gutenberg and type.
But even if we accept that this is something new and special, the most prominent original modern cancellations came from Twitter (i.e., Hunter Biden’s laptop)—a company that was co-founded by Jack Dorsey, a non-Jew.
The banning of books—another old tradition of cancellation that may have reached its apotheosis with the burning of the Talmud in front of the Notre Dame cathedral in 1242—was recently brought back on Amazon under Jeff Bezos, also not Jewish.
Mark Zuckerberg is Jewish (although not a religious one) and Facebook, now Meta, his company, has been known to cancel people, including me, a Jewish boy ironically, for reasons I have been unable to ascertain. I was also canceled by his Instagram.
(To be clear, I take this as a positive, because I find social media to be a time-sucker for adults and outright destructive for children and teenagers.)
But what actually is on West’s mind, I would wager, isn’t really the cancel culture, wretched as it is and despicable whoever it is who is instigating it at this moment.
It’s the old black–Jewish thing again, and I’m downhearted that someone of Kanye’s obvious intelligence and cleverness would be drawn into it, especially now when overt anti-Semitism is on the rise again.
Well over 50 percent of religious hate crimes in the United States are against Jews when they are only 2 percent of the population. It’s been that way for a few years and doesn’t appear to be diminishing.
More than just crimes, the old “canary in the coal mine” thing is all over the zeitgeist now. You can even find it in most internet comments sections, even at The Epoch Times, though here, at least, it is usually down-voted out by the intelligent readership.
As for Kanye, when he wore his “White Lives Matter” t-shirt at the Paris Fashion Show, did he think most Jews were not Caucasians?
Well, maybe not. He seems obsessed with the fact that blacks are the real Jews. Some are, obviously, including the Falashas from Ethiopia. Maybe others are, too. Frankly, I don’t know—and he probably doesn’t either, except in an emotional way—but does that justify, whatever the case, going to “death con 3” against the rest of us?
I have seen this rift for a long time, since before Kanye was born.
As is well known—even Barack Obama mentioned it—Jews were the close allies of blacks at the beginning of the civil rights movement.
But by the time I got involved personally in the mid-’60s, I could smell a change on the way on visits to SNCC (Snick) headquarters in Atlanta, where I met the young Julian Bond and others.
Maybe it was that “no good deed goes unpunished” thing or maybe some of us, myself included, were doing a little virtue-signaling long in advance of that term being known.
Or perhaps there was some competition in victimhood. We had our Holocaust and they had their slavery, a senseless battle if there ever was one.
But even then I could sense an uneasiness that has grown in present times, including moments of maximum ugliness like the Crown Heights riots in New York featuring the Rev. Al Sharpton.
This makes Kanye’s comments especially disturbing because of his influence. Nevertheless, as one who treasures the First Amendment, I don’t agree that Twitter should have banned him. (He was also blocked by Instagram for similar antisemitic statements.)
I still want to believe that the answer to bad speech is more speech.
But then I left Twitter years ago when they started to deduct followers from me.
Also, since he’s a music business guy, I suspect most of the Jews that West knows are music execs—largely secular Jews voting Democratic—that he believes are exploiting black musicians. (We’ve seen this before, in Spike Lee movies.)
A growing number of us aren’t like that at all. In fact, as a religious person, Ye might be surprised that things among our people are going almost inexorably, though slowly, in the opposite direction.
I have a lot more to say about this but I think I’ll end it with a rather telling joke going around that includes someone Kanye says he admires:
What’s the difference between Donald Trump and secular Jews?
Answer: Trump has Jewish grandchildren.
First published in the Epoch Times.