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  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.