Neither Left nor Right Will Condemn Kanye West’s Anti-Semitism So Long as He Appears to Be on Their Side

Yesterday, the rapper Kanye West appeared on Chris Cuomo’s television program to discuss his series of anti-Semitic outbursts over the past week; he used the opportunity to make clear his conviction that he is a victim of “the Jewish underground media mafia,” and said much else in that vein. Since West has repeatedly voiced his support for Donald Trump—who praised West in an interview yesterday—certain segments of the American right rushed to defend him amid the latest controversy. Stephen Daisley comments:

David Horowitz, a conservative writer, says that: “Jews in Hollywood and Big Tech and in the donor base of the Democrat party and in the media” are out to “destroy” Kanye. “Realizing that his words would be twisted by the fascist left, Kanye added that blacks are Jews,” he added.

Progressives can’t claim the moral high ground. . . . Vice frets that [West] “has recently displayed an intense negative fixation on Jews.” There is nothing recent about it. Back in 2013, when he was a cookie-cutter celebrity Democrat, Kanye told a U.S. radio show Barack Obama was struggling to make good on his promises “because he ain’t got those connections. Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people.”

A Think Progress piece described the [2013] comments as “unfortunate and frustrating” but decided “it’s worth parsing what West actually said, rather than dismissing him as a crude anti-Semite” because “his remarks do capture a number of important anxieties.”

What conclusions can we draw from all this? One is that the new right, the very-online millennial right that calls itself conservative but is really just anti-liberal, is not doing enough to patrol its own boundaries.

Another conclusion is that Kanye’s anti-Semitic statements only became a problem for progressives when he stopped being one. This volte-face is another reminder of Jewish invisibility in the politics of anti-racism, a problem that afflicts progressives but many others too. Whether Kanye is a hate-filled anti-Semite or a desperately disturbed man—or whether the truth lies somewhere in between—he is not the only one who needs to reflect. He’s been saying these things for years and his fans, old and new, have told him it was okay.

Read more at Spectator

More about: Anti-Semitism, Donald Trump, U.S. Politics

The Possible Death of Mohammad Deif, and What It Means

On Saturday, Israeli jets destroyed a building in southern Gaza, killing a Hamas brigade commander named Rafa Salameh. Salameh is one of the most important figures in the Hamas hierarchy, but he was not the primary target. Rather it was Mohammad Deif, who is Yahya Sinwar’s number-two and is thought to be the architect and planner of numerous terrorist attacks, of Hamas’s tunnel network, and of the October 7 invasion itself. Deif has survived at least five Israeli attempts on his life, and the IDF has consequently been especially reluctant to confirm that he had been killed. Yet it seems that it is possible, and perhaps likely, that he was.

Kobi Michael notes that Deif’s demise would have major symbolic value and, moreover, deprive Hamas of important operational know-how. But he also has some words of caution:

The elimination of Deif becomes even more significant given the current reality of severe damage to Hamas’s military wing and its transition to terrorism and guerrilla warfare. However, it is important to remember that organizations such as Hamas and Hizballah are more than the sum of their components or commanders. Israel has previously eliminated the leaders of these organizations and other very senior military figures, and yet the organizations continued to grow, develop, and become more significant security threats to Israel, while establishing their status as political players in the Palestinian and Lebanese arenas.

As for the possibility that Deif’s death will harden Hamas’s position in the hostage negotiations, Tamir Hayman writes:

In my opinion, even if there is a bump in the road now, it is not a strategic one. The reasons that Hamas decided to compromise its demands in the [hostage] deal stem from the operational pressure it is under [and] the fear that the pressure exerted by the IDF will increase.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas