I listened to Kanye West slander Jews for three hours so that you don’t have to
Less than five minutes into a recent interview, Kanye West began to blame his difficulties on the Jews.
“They’ve been f—ing with me too long,” West said of every Jew in his life. During the three-hour video episode of the podcast “Drink Champs,” which was removed from YouTube and other platforms overnight, his antisemitism flowed as quickly as the Cognac. Every problem had a Jewish answer.
The only person who was never held accountable? West himself.
West, who has legally changed his name to “Ye,” last week sparked international outrage for promising to go “Death Con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.” Following the tweet, he was temporarily banned from posting to Instagram and Twitter; on Monday morning, news outlets reported that he would buy the far-right social medial platform Parler.
On the podcast, West said that Los Angeles Apparel also backed out of a deal to print his “White Lives Matter” T-shirts.
You can imagine many reasons why a company would not want to be associated with the slogan. But according to West’s diatribe, the only one is that the company’s CEO, Dov Charney, is Jewish. And Jews “take one of us, the brightest of us that can really feed a whole village,” West said, referring to Black people, and “milk us until we die.”
Even the silly things are somehow our fault. Who is to blame for President Obama’s hair turning gray? Couldn’t be Mother Nature — it must be the so-called “Jewish media.”
West is a broken man, and broken men take everyone they can down with them. “Drink Champs” bills itself as a place for “boozy conversation and boisterous storytelling.” But this recent episode was three hours of straight up narcissistic conspiracy-slinging, and it was painful to watch.
The hosts of the podcast, rapper N.O.R.E., music executive DJ EFN, pushed back often, insisting that they love Jews and reminding him that “everyone loves Kanye.” On Monday, N.O.R.E. apologized to George Floyd’s family for West’s false claim about how he died, and for the antisemitism.
“I apologize to anybody that was hurt by Kanye West’s comments,” N.O.R.E. said.
“I support freedom of speech,” he said. “I support anybody, you know, not being censored. But I do not support anybody being hurt.”
West’s antisemitism is not novel, nor were the tropes he deployed new. But his crazy conspiracy-mongering, the inevitably robust media frenzy it engendered, and even the toothless condemnations that followed show just how common it’s becoming for major figures in politics, music and public life to blame everything on others instead of taking responsibility for their own actions.
Worse, there seem to be little or no consequences. Sometimes, it even helps you become president of the United States.
West made a half-hearted run in 2020, appearing on the ballot in 12 states, and is threatening to do it again. He does not seem to be after the Jewish vote.
“I’m #MeTooing the Jewish culture,” West said, adding, “y’all gotta stand up and admit to what y’all have been doing.”
He wants to topple the “Jewish media” most of all. But he’s also upset at the Jews in general: Jewish Zionists, Jewish record labels, producer Scooter Braun, actor Pete Davidson, Disney CEO Bob Iger, Josh and Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump. Even poor Ralph Lauren somehow gets dragged into this. (Drake somehow gets a pass.)
West’s estimated net worth is around $2 billion. His personal life is in shambles. It’s clearly everyone’s fault but his own, and he wants us to know it.
“I want Jewish children to look at they daddy and say, ‘why is Ye mad at us?’” he thundered.
Why, indeed? West blames his competitive instinct. He blames his jealousy. And he blames us.
The hosts gave West every opportunity to dig himself out. N.O.R.E. at one point reminded him of his earlier contention that he cannot be antisemitic because Black people are actually Jews from the lost tribes of Israel.
“We’ve got to say that we love Jewish people then!” he insists. “We love Jewish people! I love Jewish people.”
In the video, West looks as if he’s been forced to eat a lemon.
“My homie’s a Nicaraguan Jew, his dad came from Poland, he escaped the Holocaust,” DJ EFN chimes in. “He would be like, ‘I don’t know what’s going on!’”
But West wasn’t having it. It’s Black people, he insisted, who “are still in the Holocaust.” On a show about hip-hop, in conversation with two other men who live and breathe hip-hop culture, West contended that the “toxicity put in our music” is there because “Jewish people” are “getting paid off of it.”
The hosts didn’t buy it. But they did defend his right to say it, and his place in their tribe as a respected artist.
“All Jewish people are not bad,” West allowed. “But I need the ones to step up. Because up to this point, I can name you 20 nightmare situations.”
The hosts both noted that others use the same logic to demonize people who live in the projects, or even entire countries.
West seized on the metaphor but entirely missed its point. He insisted that Blacks and Jews are in a turf war. “If I go to somebody’s block, and somebody shoots at me, kills one of my homeboys, then it’s f–k their whole block,” he said. “Now you get it?”
“But for the record, nobody’s killing Kanye,” N.O.R.E reminded him. ”Everyone loves Kanye.”
West pivoted again. He compared his “bravery” in making antisemitic comments to standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square.
I suspect that West is intelligent enough to know that actually improving Black lives, and especially his own life, does not require attacking Jews. But that doesn’t make for good theatrics.
“This is the one where you win the Emmy,” West joked of the interview, “because you say, ‘Ye calls out the Jewish media.’”
N.O.R.E quickly rejected that characterization. “No! We do not say that,” he said. “We say, ‘Ye makes amends with Jewish people.’ Because we love Jewish people, we love Black people, we love everybody. And we love Ye.”
Two hours into the three-hour madness, N.O.R.E. seems to have had enough. “We’ve got to leave the Jewish people alone, man, I ain’t gonna lie,” N.O.R.E. said. “You’ve been going way too far. You’ve gotta stop.”
But West did not stop.
Thirty minutes later, N.O.R.E. tried again. “I want everybody to know, Black people, Jewish people, Kanye loves y’all.”
“No,” West quickly clarified. “I’m jealous of y’all.”
N.O.R.E. practically begged West to “help him out,” to clarify that he doesn’t mean all Jews. West instead goes on a rant about how he’s the most athletic, most fashionable, smartest, most emotionally intelligent person on the planet.
It reminded me of a certain former president of whom Kanye is a fan.
The most terrifying thing about it all? West was wearing a black hat with “2024” across the brim.