- The Anti-Defamation League counted 59 incidents in which antisemites cited the rapper formerly known as Kanye West.
- In an interview last year, Ye denied the Holocaust and praised Adolf Hitler.
- Overall, ADL researchers found there was a 59% increase in antisemitic incidents last year.
Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, did more than just derail his own career when he began last year to publicly proclaim his love for the leader of Nazi Germany and hatred of Jews that he claimed had wronged him — he appeared to inspire dozens of antisemitic incidents across the United States, according to a report released Thursday, including a physical attack by a perpetrator who yelled, “Kanye 2024!”
Beginning last October, Ye gave a string of interviews in which he espoused rank bigotry, including an appearance with far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in which he declared: “I like Hitler.” He also sparked outrage when he brought white nationalist provocateur Nick Fuentes with him to a dinner at Mar-a-Lago with former President Donald Trump — a meeting that came roughly a month after he was dropped by Adidas over his “unacceptable, hateful, and dangerous” comments.
The celebrity endorsement of antisemitism was followed by a spree of hate by emboldened bigots, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which counted no fewer than 59 incidents in the last three months of 2022 in which bigots directly referenced Ye, including two assaults. At least 10 incidents of harassment or antisemitic vandalism occurred in schools across the country that referenced Ye’s remarks; in Los Angeles, neo-Nazis dropped a banner on a highway overpass declaring, “Kanye was right about the jews”; and at a Jewish cemetery in Illinois, gravestones were desecrated with swastikas and the words, “Kanye was rite.”
The incidents have continued through this year, with white supremacists setting up booths on college campuses in Florida and Alabama with a banner that read: “Ye is right, change my mind.”
Attorneys representing Kanye West did not immediately return Insider’s requests for comment.
Overall, ADL researchers found there was a 36% spike in antisemitic incidents in 2022 compared to the year before, with the ADL tracking just under 3,700 cases across the country, the highest on record. That number includes more 111 assaults on Jews and people perceived to be Jewish, up 26% from 2021; just under 1,300 acts of vandalism, including the drawing of swastikas on or near synagogues, up 51%; and nearly 2,300 incidents of harassment, up 29%.
“We’re deeply disturbed by this dramatic and completely unacceptable surge in antisemitic incidents,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “While we can’t point to any single factor or ideology driving this increase, the surges in organized white supremacist propaganda activity, brazen attacks on Orthodox Jews, a rapid escalation of bomb threats toward Jewish institutions, and significant increases of incidents in schools and on college campuses all contributed to the unusually high number.”
The ADL said there was an especially large increase in organizing by avowed white supremacists, with the organization counting more than 850 incidents of racist extremists distributing antisemitic propaganda, double the year before.
The ADL report comes after the FBI last year said that white supremacists “pose the primary threat” of domestic terrorism. The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, which tracks far-right activity, also found a dramatic increase last year in extremist organizing, with white supremacist groups increasingly targeting those perceived to be members of the LGBTQ community.
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