May 25, 2024

After Kanye West’s antisemitic comments last week

With a rise in antisemitism over the past few years, it has never been more important to understand antisemitism and arm yourself as best as to possible to be an ally to Jewish people.

And this is particularly important after Kanye West’s antisemitic comments over the past few weeks that have fuelled a spike in offensive comments toward Jews online and, over the weekend, a well-known hate group to Los Angeles set up a demonstration of support on a 405 Freeway overpass (including banners that read “Kanye is right about the Jews”, raising alarms from local officials and residents that the rapper’s rhetoric was inspiring more public bigotry.

Kanye’s commentary on social media, which has positioned as “the truth” rather than “antisemitism” on various occasions, proves just how misrepresented Jewish people are, and how many commonly accepted, racist tropes still float, unchecked, around society, continuing a dangerous mindset that Jews somehow ‘deserve’ what they get as they are ‘all-powerful’ and ‘corrupt’.

Thankfully, many allies to the Jewish community have taken to social media to express their solidarity and commitment to standing up against antisemitism in recent times – when former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn was suspended from the Labour party last after a damning report into antisemitism under his leadership; when rapper Wiley posted a string of antisemitic rants on Twitter last summer, including an incendiary statement that likened Jewish people to the Ku Klux Klan.

Just as we pledged to further our Black Lives Matter knowledge following the tragic murder of George Floyd – something we hope everyone is still doing – we are committed to doing the same in our authentic allyship to the Jewish community – by educating ourselves on the history of the Jewish people and understanding where many of the tropes and deep seated bias many of us may unconsciously hold are coming from. Because antisemitism is racism, and we cannot be truly anti-racist unless we acknowledge it as such.

As many Jewish people pointed out on social media in the last few months, antisemitism is often misunderstood – some people just don’t like to talk about it, while others believe it simply does not exist. Antisemitism is the belief or behaviour that shows hostility to Jews just because they’re Jewish. It may take the form of religious teachings that proclaim the inferiority of Jews, for instance, or political efforts to isolate, oppress, or otherwise, injure them. It may also include prejudiced or stereotyped views about Jews. ”

But as the author Matt Haig shared on Instagram: ‘Antisemitism is rising sharply across Europe. In France, Germany and the U. K. Antisemitism violence rose by over 50 per cent last year.

By 1945, across German-occupied Europe, 6 million Jews had been systemically murdered by the Nazis. That was two thirds of Europe’s Jewish population.

In a recent global survey 90 per cent of Jews worldwide thought that antisemitism was rising in their country. ‘

Now is not the time to shrink away from the conversation. Now is not the time to shift the narratives around ourselves or to focus on our own feelings of discomfort. Now is not the time to post a performative social media post with no intention to follow through. Now is the time for all Jewish allies to listen, to change and to learn.

Progressing our own authentic allyship means conducting our own research and reading, but as a starting point, these are some helpful educational resources on antisemitism and the Jewish experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *