Opinion: Condemning Kanye West’s antisemitism is easy. Vigilance is harder.
YK West made a huge mistake by taking aim at the Jewish community on The Life of Pablo.
The rapper and producer has taken a particular axe to the Jewish people in recent months, and with his latest attack on Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, West once again proved how deeply he was prepared to go.
West’s words on Sunday were an attempt to “out” the Jewish people of his hometown of Los Angeles, the city of his birth and childhood. He accused the center of being a “fraud” and a “symbol of anti-Semitism.”
Now, it’s easy to condemn someone for the very thing they did. But West’s attack on JDC has gone so far that many of us are not sure how to respond.
First, one should note that West did not actually name the Yerbabuena Center in his criticism. He had referred to them as JDC when first mentioning them in an interview with Rolling Stone, but he changed the reference on social media several days later. JDC is merely the “home” to the JCC (Jerusalem Center for Israel-Palestine) and is certainly not a part of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
I was at JDC this weekend and had the opportunity to meet with a young woman from the Center, in particular, whom I had the pleasure of calling to ask her about her perspective on West’s attacks.
According to her, Yerba Buena Center has been on the front lines of the conflict with the Jewish community for many years. It has hosted hundreds of activists for Palestinians and Jews, as well as activists committed to building peace.
When a Jewish youth was killed by an American sniper, at the age of 21, in 2008, JDC gave a $500,000 donation to a fund established by the American Jewish Committee to fight anti-Semitism in America. The Center’s board of directors also made a $100,000 contribution to the organization.
When the JCC was forced to close its doors last month, following a series of events that brought to the attention of the world the Palestinian-led