Dear Gossips,   

When I last wrote about Kanye West’s antisemitism it was about how his hateful messages were being amplified, even though he had ostensibly been deplatformed from social media. Traditional media coverage of Ye continued – and even though it wasn’t supportive of him, it still ended up functioning like a broadcast server for his bigotry. 


The big news yesterday was that Adidas finally cut ties with him. Earlier this month Adidas said that their partnership was “under review” and on Tuesday they formally announced that they were terminating their business with him. And while some believe that this decision came because they wanted to do the right thing, as many others have pointed out, there were financial considerations. A LOT of financial considerations. So this wasn’t entirely an issue of money or morality; much of it was an issue of money, just money. Because Adidas stock has been sharply falling. They hesitated, however, because the Yeezy label was one of their major assets. Just last week, after he’d already been on his f-cksh-t (again and again) his latest drop sold out – and those shoes are not cheap. 

So, sure, Ye has just lost his billionaire status now that Adidas has finally quit him and that is indeed a consequence for him, as an individual, but it’s not like antisemitism has been solved. Far from it. As previously mentioned, I’ve been reading a lot of Yair Rosenberg’s work on antisemitism at The Atlantic and here’s what he wrote even before Kanye’s consequences came for him. 


The point is, Ye’s lost a couple billion and partnerships and maybe he’ll go quiet for a while (if the media stops paying attention to him) but those harmful ideas will persist. Because there are people who are still perpetuating them, more subtly. As Yair writes: 

“Anti-Semitism thrives thanks to fashionable enablers. West’s tweets did not emerge from a vacuum. They were seemingly the consequence of criticism he’d received after a weekend interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson. Carlson himself has winkingly trafficked in anti-Jewish tropes, and he elicited similar insinuations from West in their conversation.”

Kanye’s antisemitism in that interview was encouraged – he had a soft place to land, he was speaking to an ally. But because Tucker’s antisemitism isn’t as blatant as Ye’s, the protests against him and others who “winkingly traffic” in a more insidious and slippery form of antisemitism, nobody’s calling for him to be shut down. It’s the insidious and slippery sh-t that sticks around, lurking in the spaces around us, and rotting the walls. And we don’t notice it. 

Because, as Yair Rosenberg posits, antisemitism is misunderstood even by those who mean well; it’s not just about a hating Jewish people, it’s a whole conspiracy theory about how the world works. Per Yair: 

“…antisemitism constructs its Jewish targets as the privileged and powerful. And political partisans, more concerned with pinning the problem on their opponents, spend their time parsing the identity of antisemitic individuals, rather than countering the ideas that animate them. In short, although many people say they are against anti-Semitism today, they don’t understand the nature of what they oppose. And that’s part of why anti-Semitism abides.”


On top of this misunderstanding then is stereotyping. This tweet thread sums it up succinctly.

"Jews make up 2% of the American population and just 0.2% of the world population. In practice, this means that most people have never met one." You can see how this might cause problems. What the average person knows of Jews, they know from received cultural stereotypes, television, and the internet. The consequences of this are regularly evident in our public discourse, where ignorant and ill-intentioned ideas about Jews abound." 

By all means, let’s sh-t on Kanye and be more mindful of how much oxygen we give him in the culture. But also, let’s not stop there. Because it’s not even f-cking close to being that simple. Most of you reading this, like me, need more education on antisemitism. Not just because we stand with Jewish people against antisemitism but because antisemitism is a problem for everyone. 

That tweet led me to this one: 


So that’s what I’m watching this weekend. But, to go back to Yair, knowing more is also what Yair is suggesting: 

Antisemitism dehumanises Jewish people. Part of fighting it requires us to know more about Jewish people, Jewish culture, and the Jewish experience. 

Yours in gossip,