Saturday, October 22, 2022

'Kanye West's Dark, Twisted Fantasy

From Bari Weiss, at her Substack, "And Jewish reality":

Yesterday was any given Sunday in America, which meant that most Jews were not at all astonished when we looked down at our phones and discovered a former president was calling us ingrates and one of the most famous artists in the world was doing Louis Farrakhan one better. We are long past astonishment.

For those who don’t have an anxious Jewish mother or an internet connection, here’s a glimpse of this past weekend’s bile, starting with Kanye West.

“On TMZ I just saw yesterday it said, ’Pete Davidson and Kim have sex by the fireplace to honor their grandmother.’ It’s Jewish Zionists that’s about that life. That’s telling this Christian woman that has four black children to put that out as a message,” he said on a podcast, in which he went unchallenged by the hosts.

Another clip: “Jewish people have owned the black voice. Whether it’s through us wearing a Ralph Lauren shirt, or it’s all of us being signed to a record label, or having a Jewish manager, or being signed to a Jewish basketball team, or doing a movie on a Jewish platform like Disney.”

And another: “You know they came into money through the lawyers, when after Wall Street when all of the, like, the Catholics, they wouldn’t divorce people so the Jewish lawyers came and they were willing to divorce people. That’s when they first came into their money.”

In one interview—an interview that the host, a rapper who goes by the name N.O.R.E, celebrated as having gotten more views than Sunday night football—West pulled off a perfect antisemitic hat trick: nod to our apparent sexual deviancy and perversion; accuse us of exploiting other minorities for our benefit; and suggest that our success is ill-gotten. It was almost impressive.

While those clips were going viral, Donald Trump offered his own take on American Jews. “No President has done more for Israel than I have,” the former president wrote on his platform, Truth Social. “Somewhat surprisingly, however, our wonderful Evangelicals are far more appreciative of this than the people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the US. Those living in Israel, though, are a different story—Highest approval rating in the World, could easily be PM! US Jews have to get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel—Before it is too late!”

Here is the part of the column where I tell you things that are also true.

Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, is a brilliant musician. He is a brilliant musician who is mentally ill.

Also: The Trump White House did a tremendous amount for the cause of Middle East peace.

But those facts do not undermine what is undeniable. Namely, that the wealthiest musician in the world appears to hold deeply conspiratorial views about Jews informed by the antisemite Louis Farrakhan and a hate cult called the Black Hebrew Israelites, whose worldview—black people are chosen by God; Jews are pretenders—is disturbingly prevalent in large parts of American culture. And that the former president is criticizing American Jews for being ungrateful, commanding them to show him proper respect—and issuing a veiled threat if they do not. (His staunchest supporters may insist that Trump’s warning “Before it is too late!” meant “Before it is too late for America” or perhaps “too late for Israel,” the implication being that Biden isn’t as supportive of the Jewish state and so Jews need to support Trump. However you read the opaque missive, the toxic notion of the ungrateful Jew is unambiguous.)