New York mayor: Do not ‘underestimate’ the damage Kanye West has inflicted

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New York mayor: Do not ‘underestimate’ the damage Kanye West has inflicted

The Combat Antisemitism Movement hosted a forum in New York, attended by Natan Sharansky, to discuss strategies against antisemitism. 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams joins the Combat Antisemitism Movement and 55 of their partner organizations to discuss new ways to tackle bigotry and antisemitic hatred. (Photo credit: Combat Antisemitism Movement)
New York City Mayor Eric Adams joins the Combat Antisemitism Movement and 55 of their partner organizations to discuss new ways to tackle bigotry and antisemitic hatred. (Photo credit: Combat Antisemitism Movement)

Kanye West’s antisemitic outbursts and the damage it caused should not be underestimated, New York City Mayor Eric Adams warned on Tuesday at a symposium against antisemitism. 

The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) hosted a range of Jewish and non-Jewish leaders, as well as 55 partner organisations, to discuss strategies against antisemitism.

“We are using antiquated methods to dismantle a modern-day crisis. If our methods are to merely sit in a sterilised environment of a room like this, with those of us who are all part of the same choir, that is not how you’re going to end antisemitism. The problem is not in this room, the problem is out there,” Mayor Adams said.

“Young people are being fed hate every day. If you aspire to be like someone, even when they do positive things, you’ll aspire to be like them when they start to do negative things. Don’t underestimate the power of Kanye West and what he did, and the millions and millions of young people who know nothing about the history of what antisemitism represents,” he added.

Adams called on the world’s greatest legal minds to come together and “sue the social media companies that are destroying our communities and our cities and feeding our children the hate and despair they’re witnessing.”

Natan Sharansky, former Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, and the leader of the Free Soviet Jewry Movement, also spoke at the event, stating that the important “beachhead in the struggle for the future of the Jewish people are on our campuses”.

“And today of course, antisemitism has gotten so big, there is a rise on the left, the right, in the Islamist community, and elsewhere. Antisemitism for thousands of years was always uniting our people, religious or nonreligious. Whether in Paris or Kiev, it didn’t matter,” he added.

Sharansky, former Soviet prisoner and Chair of CAM’s Advisory Board, warned that some rabbis today are “afraid” to speak about this phenomenon in their synagogues, “because it has become very political, on the left and the right. One says, ’The real antisemitism is on the left.’ The other says, ’The real antisemitism is on the right.’ Or the real antisemites are Antifa, or the Proud Boys.”

Hassan Naveed from the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, a mayoral office in New York City, also spoke at the event. They partner with 60 organisations throughout New York to thwart hate crimes, 20 of which represent the Jewish community.

Naveed called the coalition “the first of its kind.”

“There’s no other office like ours elsewhere in the country. Misinformation is at an all time high. We have to combat hate with education. An attack on one of us, is an attack on all of us,” Naveed said.

The Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes is currently putting together a hate crime education curriculum in schools, which includes resource guides on antisemitism.

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