Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania Condemns Kanye West’s Antisemetic Remarks
RE: Jacksonville antisemitic messages
CONTACT: Daniel Chejfec, Executive Director
(570) 961-2300; Cell: (845) 337-6616
November 1, 2022
The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania protests in the strongest terms the recent messages displayed in Los Angeles and Jacksonville in support of Kanye West’s antisemitic rants. While we strongly support freedom of speech as a linchpin of our democratic system, we also believe that there is a line between expressing one’s opinions and inciting hate or promoting harm. The messages displayed clearly cross that line. Four years ago, an individual influenced by similar rhetoric attacked the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh leaving behind 11 innocent dead.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s office stated that “the antisemitic messages are not currently a crime; they do not include any kind of threat and are protected by the First Amendment”. We disagree. An incitement to hate is not far removed from an incitement to violence and the latter often follows the former. This is even more painful when the messages are supporting a celebrity who openly uses cultural appropriation to disqualify an ethnic group, as Kanye West did when he said that African Americans are the real Israelites and Jews are not.
This ugly episode was an attack on Jews and Jewish cultural values and an incitement to hate. We urge all Americans to denounce this episode and to be aware of the danger West and those who promote his vitriol represent.