Kanye West has defended himself against accusations of antisemitism, sparked by a recent radio rant during which he said that “Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people,” during a discussion on Barack Obama, labelling the comments an “ignorant compliment.”
While discussing the US President during an interview on radio station Power 105.1 early last month, the notoriously outspoken rapper compared the financial and social advantages of the Jewish and Arab peoples to those of African-Americans, saying, “Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people. Black people don’t have the same connections as oil people.”
The comment sparked an uproar among several leading Jewish thinkers, including Abraham H. Foxman, Director of US-based NGO, the Anti-Defamation League who said, “This is classic anti-Semitism. There it goes again, the age-old canard that Jews are all-powerful and control the levers of power in government. As a celebrity with a wide following, Kanye West should know better.”
“I thought that I was giving a compliment, but if anything, it came off more ignorant,” West explained in an interview with Chicago radio station B96. “When I said this comment about Jews having money and blacks not having money, I think that it was kind of like an ignorant compliment.”
“I don’t know how being told you have money is like an insult,” the Bound 2 rapper added, “that would be like if [somebody] complimented black guys and said, ‘All black guys got big penises.’ You don’t want to be the black guy that raises your hand, like, ‘No! That’s not true. I got proof.'”
“I thought by saying everybody had money that would be a compliment. It was an ignorant compliment. Maybe I would like to take that statement away,” he said. Fellow artist Roger Waters recently faced accusations of antisemitism for his comparison of Israel to Nazi Germany.
(Via Contact Music)
Watch: Kanye West Interview at Breakfast Club Power 105.1 (11/26/2013)