Henry: Ye reflects America’s antisemitism, CSU jewish community faces threats

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Collegian | Chloe Leline

Brendan Henry, Collegian Columnist

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

A recent tweet by Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) rose to infamy with a claim about “going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE.” 

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The tweet initiated a storm that has stripped Ye of a deal with Adidas and alienated his main fanbase while also inspiring others to either agree with or take up his opinion on the Jewish community. Kyrie Irving has also entered a similar state of controversy after tweeting a link to an antisemitic film. 

Ye is not unique in his opinion of the Jewish community but a byproduct of the ever-growing antisemitic movement. It is always easy to assume that this rhetoric and mentality are not present in our own communities, but the truth is sometimes surprising. The Anti-Defamation League recorded a 61% increase in antisemitic incidents in Colorado from 2017 t0 2021 and reported 32 more incidents in 2021 than in 2020.

At (Colorado State University), like on other campuses, we have our share of antisemitism that is derived from the white supremacist’s playbook: public showing of swastikas, etching of swastikas on student doors and students — mostly in the residence halls — peddling age-old antisemitic tropes like all Jews have big noses and control the media and banks,” said Mica Glantz, co-chair of the Presidential Task Force on Jewish Inclusion and the Prevention of Antisemitism and anthropology professor at CSU.

“Sometimes these incidents are the result of ignorance about Jewish identity and diversity, and sometimes they are purposely threatening,” Glantz said. “All of them tear our shared community down.”

Glantz added that political affiliations play little role in discrimination, as anyone can have biases against Jewish people regardless of their political leaning. 

“We are fighting a tendency for voices on the left to shut down and shut out the voices of the Jewish community (students/faculty/staff) who want to be part of campus organizations that support justice movements like Black Lives Matter and trans(gender) rights and many others,” Glantz said. “They get shut out simply because they are Jewish because of an assumed loyalty to Israel — an age-old stereotype — and this is some of the worst antisemitism we are facing on campuses today.”

“There simply is no time nor place for hatred of any people to prevail in this country. People of many different backgrounds and cultures create an environment of understanding and open-mindedness that only benefits people that fully embrace it — fear of these differences only holds America back.”

Antisemitic acts occur on CSU’s campus, along with campuses all over the country. As the ADL has shown, reported instances of antisemitism have significantly risen between 2020 and 2021. Ye did not start the fire but instead added fuel to the already growing flame. 

An anonymous source on campus who has an inside understanding of how the university handles antisemitism said there may be even more instances of antisemitism on CSU’s campus than what is shown to the public and that there are those in power who seek to downplay the issue to prevent bad publicity affecting the university. This is unacceptable and a disservice to CSU’s Jewish community.

Glantz did not want to focus on Ye by giving him more attention, although Glantz offered him an invitation to an antisemitism training session, but he does deserve the attention. He deserves to be in the spotlight — or else he would not have lost everything he has up to this point. He has a history of suggestive comments and deserves to suffer the ramifications that come with the freedom of speech. 

The First Amendment is a double-edged sword, and Ye got stabbed in the money by it. If you play with fire long enough, you will eventually get burnt. Ye is an example of the hate growing in the United States today, and his current financial and social downfalls should set a precedent for others who are looking to jump on the train of discrimination.

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There simply is no time nor place for hatred of any people to prevail in this country. People of many different backgrounds and cultures create an environment of understanding and open-mindedness that only benefits people that fully embrace it — fear of these differences only holds America back. 

Reach Brendan Henry at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @BrendanHenryRMC.