Letters to the Editor: Kanye West’s antisemitism is sadly familiar. Our response doesn’t have to be.
On July 13, we published a story about the ongoing effort by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and other Jewish groups to label Kanye West a white nationalist and a Holocaust denier in order to get his record label to withdraw his new album, The Life of Pablo. We also responded to some of the criticism leveled against our response by West’s fans and the media.
To the best of our knowledge, no one has written to us about the ADL’s effort to label West’s art and message as anti-Semitic. We were shocked when we saw this latest stunt by the ADL, which we assume will lead to another one, since they’ve made a career out of attacking anyone who challenges their orthodoxy.
On Sept. 6, a group of prominent journalists, writers, public figures, and artists released an open letter to West protesting his “whitewashing” of Jews, Jews, and Israel in “an effort to delegitimize the Jewish state.” They included statements from Kanye himself expressing support for Israel’s existence and criticizing the anti-Israel narrative promoted by the White House and the US right-wing media.
As for the claims West’s music is anti-Semitic, we don’t really believe that for a second.
Kanye West is not a white nationalist, and he was not a Holocaust denier – not even indirectly. In fact, he was the first American rapper to make a national impact and a cultural hero with a critically acclaimed album and an international success. He’s done his part to help bring peace to the Middle East and has made billions of dollars more than he ever expected from music. We do not believe his music is anti-Semitic, as some have suggested.
For West to be called a white nationalist would be like calling a woman a feminist for using the term. And labeling him a Holocaust denier is like calling 9/11 a false