NEW YORK — The disparaging, antisemitic remarks from the rapper formerly known as Kanye West are sparking conversations here in the Big Apple about hatred and prejudice.
Multiple Jewish people condemned his comments at an event Monday night aimed at ending antisemitism.
CBS2’s Tim McNicholas has the story from the Center for Jewish History in Union Square.
The goal of the event was to “End Jew Hatred.” Organizers even handed out pins with those words.
And while they planned the event months ago, it didn’t take long for Ye’s recent comments to come up.
“Kanye West’s 18 million followers outnumber the 15 million Jews in the world,” Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan said.
From a local legislator to William Daroff of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who said, “Billionaire rapper Kanye West … spewed dangerous antisemitic views on Twitter and Instagram and elsewhere that has received tens of thousands of likes.”
There is no doubt that the people in the room Monday night were disgusted by Ye’s comments.
Organizers gathered with local lawmakers to declare April 29 as #EndJewHatred Day.
“If there was more education we’d be able to change minds. We’d be able to inform minds,” Yuval David of the #EndJewHatred movement said, adding, “We have too many people who are bystanders, standing by. It’s time for people to be upstanders and do something about it.”
In a troubling display over the weekend, a group of people raised their arms in Nazi salutes and hung a banner over a Los Angeles freeway, saying, “Kanye is right about the Jews.”
“Hate begets hate,” said Scott Richman, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.
The ADL says an antisemitic hate group was behind the display.
“You know, Kanye West put this out there and now we see real visible manifestations of hate,” Richman said.
Richman says, sadly, that hate is nothing new and antisemitic incidents are on the rise.
“There are more antisemitic acts that are committed in the New York/New Jersey region than any other part of the country,” Richman said.
On Monday night, the ADL called on Adidas, which partners with Ye for his sneaker line, to cut ties with the rapper.
The ADL said it has had several discussions with Adidas executives, but the company’s response has been “insufficient.”
“We hope that Adidas is going to reconsider its position, but we’re not satisfied,” Richman said.
CBS2 reached out to Adidas to ask how it is responding to the rapper’s comments, but did not immediately receive a response.
Several other companies, including Ye’s high-profile talent agency, have cut ties with him.