Fawning remarks about Adolf Hitler and vituperative attacks on Jews made by Kanye West during an unsettling interview with Alex Jones of Infowars earned unusually sharp condemnation from Michael Herzog, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, who charged the world-famous entertainer and fashion icon with “hateful incitement, which could lead to violence and the death of Jews in horrifying incidents.”
West, who now goes by the mononym Ye, appeared on Infowars — the notorious website that made Jones the nation’s leading conspiracy theorist — Thursday morning, wearing a heavy coat and a black ski mask that obscured his entire face.
The interview lasted for three hours. Also present was Holocaust denier and white supremacist Nick Fuentes. At one point, Laura Loomer — a far-right, pro-Trump figure who is Jewish and has proclaimed herself a “proud Islamophobe” — called in to the show to denounce “the plague of cancel culture.”
In October, a Connecticut court found Jones liable for nearly $1 billion in damages for making false claims about the 2012 mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, in which 20 children and seven adults, including the shooter, were killed. He has often spread conspiracy theories based on longstanding antisemitic tropes.
However, even Jones seemed a little taken aback at times by the vehemence with which West defended the genocidal Nazi leader responsible for World War II and the Holocaust. "Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler," West said at one point.
That and other outlandish assertions earned sharp condemnation from Jewish groups. “Yes Kanye, what Hitler brought to the table was genocide, racism, and a world war that killed tens of millions and almost destroyed our civilization,” said the leaders of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an anti-bias organization named after the prominent postwar Nazi hunter.
Earlier this fall, West was widely condemned for a series of antisemitic social media posts and interviews. But he and Fuentes were invited for a Thanksgiving dinner with former President Donald Trump, leading to charges that the former president was normalizing antisemitism.
Israel’s past and incoming prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said that it was “misguided and wrong” of Trump — with whom he has been closely aligned — to hold court with Fuentes and West.
On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security issued an updated bulletin on domestic extremists, who are appearing to be growing more emboldened. “Recent incidents have highlighted the enduring threat to faith-based communities, including the Jewish community,” the memorandum warned.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, 2021 saw a record number of antisemitic incidents across the United States.
“At a time when antisemitism is on the rise, it is alarming that such vile rhetoric is given a platform and legitimized,” Herzog, the Israeli ambassador, said in his statement. “No society can have room for such hateful ideas,” he added later, “no matter who expresses them.”