I didn’t pay close attention to the controversy over Kanye West’s apparently anti-Semitic comments of a few days ago. This was partly because I have zero interest in hip-hop music or in fashion, the fields in which West has had success, and mostly because he obviously is mentally ill. To the extent I have seen West’s political musings, they are utterly incoherent.
But the Left found West a convenient target because some of his political pronouncements have been favorable toward Donald Trump. Trump, as usual, played into the Democrats’ hands. He invited West to dinner at Mar-a-Lago, and West brought with him a guy named Fuentes with whom I am unacquainted, but who evidently is objectionable. That forced Trump to deny any knowledge of Fuentes while still trying to maintain his fragile alliance with the deeply disturbed Ye.
Now, West has torn it: in an interview with Alex Jones, of all people, he came out in support of Hitler. “I like Hitler.” “We gotta stop dissing the Nazis all the time.” The whole thing was bizarre, with West wearing a black stocking cap or the like over his face.
So liberals are having a field day, associating Ye with Donald Trump.
This sad story prompts several thoughts.
First, Kanye West has a long history of mental illness, in which he is now far gone. He needs help. Pretending that he is a significant political figure is absurd.
Second, Donald Trump’s judgment is, once again, terrible. He hitched himself to the wagon of an obviously unstable and irrational entertainer, I assume because it gave him some kind of trendy cachet. Also, probably, because West is–for some reason–rich. The cigar that has now blown up in Trump’s face was entirely foreseeable, and he has no one to blame but himself. Trump, whose daughter married a Jew, whose Jewish son-in-law was a key adviser when he was president, who has Jewish grandchildren, and who was likely the most pro-Israel president in our history, has allowed himself to be tarred with the brush of anti-Semitism. Presidential contenders need to be smart. Trump is not smart.
Third, and most important, let’s not forget where serious anti-Semitism comes from. It is left-wing Democrats like the members of the “Squad,” not Republicans, who are both anti-Semitic and viciously anti-Israel. The Democrats’ anti-Semitic history goes back a long way. Even today, they continue to confer kingmaker status on Al Sharpton, a notorious anti-Semite who is neither crazy nor irrelevant. Sharpton incited the Crown Heights riot, for which he has never apologized. Then there is Louis Farrakhan, who is finally out of favor with Democrats–officially, at least–but who has done orders of magnitude more to incite hatred against Jews than West.
Kanye West is just a poor, mentally ill man. I hope he gets appropriate treatment. But Donald Trump, by associating himself in a tone-deaf manner with the unreliable West, has allowed the Democrats to shift the burden of anti-Semitism from themselves, where it belongs, to Republicans. This is the kind of political incompetence that will doom Donald Trump to the dustbin of history.