“Angry,” “disgusting,” and “frustrating.”
These are the words coming from Seton Hall students in response to the antisemitic statements made by American rapper Kanye West, now known as Ye, last week.
On Dec. 1, Ye posted a picture of the Star of David, the symbol which represents Judaism and Jewish identity, merged with a Nazi swastika on his Twitter account only hours after he praised Adolf Hitler in an interview with Alex Jones of conservative talk show InfoWars. This resulted in his Twitter account being suspended, again.
“I wish he didn’t have a platform anymore,” Hannah Blend, a junior special/early education major, said. “It’s frustrating that people keep giving him somewhere to spread the hateful things that he’s saying.”
Blend, who is vice president of the University’s Jewish organization Hillel and identifies as Jewish, said that having Ye banned from Twitter is not enough to stop him from spreading hateful messages. She added that Ye should no longer be invited to do interviews and should be blocked from all social media.
Blend added that people should stop listening to his music to help revoke his platform as a celebrity.
“It's not that hard to just not listen to somebody,” Blend said. “There's other artists out there who are doing so much better things with their platform, so I just don't think there's any reason to support him. No music is worth supporting that.”
Blend said that by allowing Ye to keep his platform, it is only going to allow antisemites to use him as an excuse to say antisemitism isn’t wrong.
“I’ve seen on TikTok when people post about the things he’s saying,” Blend said. “There’s always somebody in the comments who’s like, ‘well, he’s not wrong.’ So, it just gives other antisemitic people somewhere to spread their hate.”
Mikhayla Rogowsky, a junior biology major and member of Hillel, said she is disgusted over Ye’s antisemitic statements and society not doing anything about it.
“I feel like with someone who has as much prowess and publicity as he does, putting out vehemently disgusting anti-Semitic remarks is just horrible, and the way that society has not really done anything to condemn his actions and his statements has just been absolutely appalling to me,” Rogowsky said.
Rogowsky, who identifies as agnostic but is very interested in Judaism, said she fears for her Jewish friends after Ye posted his antisemitic comments to the public.
“Anti-Semitism as a whole is at an all-time high, and acts like this, public speeches like this, and even the imagery that he's posted, it just bolsters this negative hate towards the Jewish people,” Rogowsky said. “It's going to put more fuel into the fire of those hateful people and I'm personally afraid for my Jewish friends that something's going to happen physically because Kanye West has basically given them more of a platform to spew their hate and violence towards the Jewish people.”
Rogowsky also advocated against listening to Ye’s music.
Hana Kisswani, a sophomore social work major and member of the Muslim Student Association, said that Ye’s post of the swastika infused in the Star of David was “really disrespectful, insensitive and inhumane.”
“The Holocaust was genocide and to have something like that is disgusting,” Kisswani said.
Kisswani added that people are using Ye’s mental health as an excuse for his antisemitic comments.
“That’s just an excuse because stuff like this always happens and to be like, ‘Oh, it’s their mental illness, they’re excluded from this, they’re excluded from that.’ Kisswani said. “No, you should be teaching people, encouraging acceptance and unity regardless of any faith. I feel like ignorance is the biggest issue. It’s not his mental health.”
Kisswani said she thinks society won’t do much to end the rise in antisemitism in the long run.
“A few months down the road, it’s probably not going to be relevant anymore to social media because, unfortunately, that’s how things are,” she said. “People shed light on them at the moment, and then once everything goes back to normal, it’s like everything changes. Nobody pays attention or cares anymore. And I hate to say that, but that’s the society we live in today.”
Rachel Suazo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.