Looking Beyond Kanye West, Antisemitism Explodes in the West

There has been a lot of discussion these past few weeks about Kanye West’s bullet train journey towards self destruction. It’s terrifying and sad at the same time.  

As a refresher in case you haven’t been following the story, here’s what happened with Kanye West (now known as Ye).

On October 3rd, 2022, Ye showed up to a Paris Fashion show week wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt. As a result, he drew quite a bit of criticism from the press and other public figures. Ye responded to the criticism by blaming the fallout on the Jews, claiming people who criticized him were being controlled by the Jews. 

Many of Ye’s fans responded by defending him, claiming the Jews were indeed behind the attacks on him. On October 8th, Ye posted this on his Twitter page: “I’m a bit sleepy tonight, but when I wake up I’m going to go Death Con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.” Again, many people condemned Ye, and again his fans defended him. 

Since then, Ye has gone from one doubling down session to another, saying he is “absolutely not sorry” for his antisemitic comments, he “loves Hitler,” and “Hitler and the Nazi’s did a lot of great things.” 

Again, many of Ye’s fans defended him, flooding social media with antisemitic comments and responses, and an antisemitic group hung banners in Los Angales saying, “Kanye is right about the Jews” accompanied by Nazi salutes. Ye’s fans went so far as to start a fundraiser for him after his contract with Adidas was terminated entitled “Make Kanye a Billionaire Again.” 

Admittedly, there are two things at play here. 

First, Ye is an actual antisemite, meaning he has bought into all kinds of lies and conspiracy theories about Jewish control over major western institutions and a master Jewish ring of power dominating the world. 

Secondly, Ye is experiencing a mental health breakdown. Both of these things are tragic, concerning, and terrifying and I want to discuss them both.

Kanye West’s Mental Health Breakdown

In 2019, Ye was a guest on a show with David Letterman where he revealed to the public that he was suffering from bipolar. Bipolar, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, is a condition that causes mood swings. Someone with Bipolar will periodically experience an emotional ramp-up leading to a plateau in a manic high, followed by a crash and severe depression. The frequency of these swings and their severity can depend on the type of bipolar someone has. 

To quote from the Mayo Clinic’s website: 

When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts to mania or hypomania (less extreme than mania), you may feel euphoric, full of energy or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly.”

The whole thing is a fascinating and tragic reminder about the mental health pandemic sweeping the West right now. On the one hand, minor mental health conditions such as ADD, anxiety, eating disorders, etc., are being over-diagnosed and treated with all kinds of drugs and therapies. On the other hand, all kinds of people, including major celebrities, are running around with major mental health conditions like bipolar and gender dysphoria with little to no conversation about helping them find healing. 

But while it seems like we are watching a mental health breakdown with Ye that is probably responsible for him taking his antisemitism to the point of self destruction, it is pretty clear that this didn’t come from nowhere. Ye has a history of low-lying antisemitism, something that’s only being magnified by this most recent manic episode he is experiencing. 

Antisemitism in the West

The Mirriam Webster dictionary defines antisemitism as, “hostility toward or descrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group.” While the term antisemitism wasn’t coined until 1879, the concept has been around arguably since the time of Abraham. Jews have been the subject of conspiracies, persecutions, genocides, and expulsions, in nearly every generation since becoming a people. 

If you are a Bible believer, this makes sense. God chose the Jewish people as His own special inheritance. They are the apple of His eye. With His choosing however, comes an opposition from those who oppose God. Sadly, this mantle of opposition has been passed from one people group to the next through history. Muslims, Christians, and finally the secularists of the Holocaust and communist empires all took their turn in heavily persecuting the Jewish people. 

Also sadly, persecution of Jews is an expression of human behavior. We as human beings rarely have the courage to take responsibility for the consequences of our own bad behavior. Instead, we tend to seek a scapegoat. We look to groups of people who may be in a minority socially but who are more successful, or wealthier, or happier, and blame our problems on them. Many times the Jewish people have fit this bill. As a whole, this is something historically that America has done differently. For most of our history, we have looked at people who were better off than us not with envy, but with curiosity. We sought to emulate their success. This is part of what made America uniquely great. 

But today, with America and the West facing so many political and social differences, many people are quickly slipping into the trap of scapegoating for the sake of self gratification. Antisemitism is on the rise again. In fact, antisemitic incidents in 2021 and 2022 are the highest number they have ever been since the Anti-Defamation League began keeping track in the late 1970s. 

With this in consideration, now is the time to stand with Israel and the Jewish people. Now is the time to examine ourselves and take responsibility for the consequences of our own bad decisions. Let’s stay focused, keep our faith strong, and not be ashamed to stand up for Israel and the Jewish people no matter the cost.

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5 Responses
  1. Olga Florez

    How do we reconcile God’s WORD about Jews returning to Israel and antisemitism? It may sound harsh, but is keeping quiet the answer?

  2. Liz Cook

    Ben, I loved your article “Looking Beyond Kanye West, Antisemitism Explodes in the West”.
    I have had childhood friends in my life who are currently bipolar and it’s not just the mood swings, it’s also the delusional ideas they deal with plus the fact that they are probably not taking their medication on a regular basis.
    At multiple points in their life they become a danger to themselves and others.
    I am afraid this is where Kanye West is in his life, it’s just a matter of time.