ZOA Condemns Candace Owens’ Defense of Kanye West’s Antisemitic “Death Con 3 on Jewish People” Tweet
News Press Release
October 16, 2022

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:

ZOA President Morton Klein and numerous others strongly condemned Kanye (“Ye”) West’s infamous antisemitic tweet to his 31 million twitter followers on October 10, 2022, in which West said: “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE. I actually can’t be Anti-Semitic because black people are actually Jew[s] [Then why don’t Blacks go to synagogue, keep kosher and lay tefillin and fast on Yom Kippur?] also You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda.” West’s despicable, antisemitic apparent call for the “death” of all “JEWISH PEOPLE” (capitalized) was a terrorist Nazi-like threat and extremely dangerous, especially given West’s massive social media following. Also, the previous Friday, West posted on Instagram a screenshot of his text message to Sean “Diddy” Combs, insinuating that Combs was being controlled by Jewish people, saying: “Ima use you as an example to show the Jewish people that told you to call me that no one can threaten or influence me. I told you this was war.”

Unfortunately, although commentator Candace Owens insisted that she was not defending Kanye West’s “death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE” tweet, Owens essentially and disgracefully did exactly that. And ZOA strongly condemns her for her horrific defense of West’s Jew-hatred!

On her talk show, Owens insisted that “honest people” did not think that West’s tweet was antisemitic; speculated that there were excuses for West’s tweet; and displayed a serious lack of understanding about what antisemitism is and why it is so dreadful, deadly and harmful. ZOA is addressing Owens’ comments here. A few years ago, Ms. Owens testified next to Morton Klein at a Congressional hate crimes hearing. ZOA invites Owens to reach out to us to discuss all of this, and to retract her offensive, dangerous statements:

First, Owens wrongly insisted: “If you are an honest person, you did not think this tweet was antisemitic. You did not think that he wrote this tweet because he hates or wants to genocide Jewish people. This is not the beginning of a Holocaust. That’s if you are an honest person, you will admit that.”

Owen’s foregoing statement falsely and offensively impugned the valid concerns and integrity of the numerous people who were rightfully deeply hurt and outraged by Kanye West’s antisemitic tweet, and who correctly understand that speaking about causing “death” to the entire “JEWISH PEOPLE” is obviously the very definition of antisemitism, and could lead some of Kanye West’s 31 million followers to attack, harm or kill innocent Jewish people. What would Owens say if I proposed deathcon 3 to all Black people?

When actress Jamie Lee Curtis saw West’s tweet, Curtis burst into tears, and thought about her Jewish grandparents and all the horrors that the Jewish people have been through. Curtis then pleaded in her heartfelt tweet: “Words matter. A threat to Jewish people ended once in a genocide. Your words hurt and incite violence. . . . Please stop.”

In his book “A History of the Jews,” eminent historian Paul Johnson similarly recounted: “One of the principal lessons of Jewish history has been that repeated verbal slanders are sooner or later followed by violent physical deeds. Time and again over the centuries, antisemitic writings and statements created their own fearful momentum which climaxed in an effusion of Jewish blood.”

It was moreover hypocritical for Owens to cut off rational discussion by insisting that the “honest people” share her wrongheaded view that West’s tweet about causing death to all “JEWISH PEOPLE” wasn’t antisemitic, and to later complain that people can’t discuss these issues.

Second, Owens asked whether Kanye meant to say “defcon” instead of “death con on the JEWISH PEOPLE,” and then downplayed the import of what West might have meant to say. Owens stated: “If you were an honest person, when you read this tweet, you had no idea what the hell he was talking about. I had no idea, when I read this tweet, what the hell he was talking about. This tweet inspired questions, not answers. First of all, what is ‘death con 3’? Did he mean to tweet ‘Defcon 3,’ which would be a military defense position – not an offense position for those of you who are offended?

In fact, if Kanye West meant to say “defcon” instead of “death” to the “JEWISH PEOPLE,” that would also be dreadfully antisemitic. “Defcon” (an acronym for “Defense Readiness Condition”) is the level of intensity of a national security threat. Depicting the Jewish people as a security threat that needs to be defended against is another way of riling up hatred and potential violence against Jews.

A recent article explained that, if West was referring to “defcon,” that “suggests that he was either preparing himself for some kind of threat from Jewish people, or that he was himself going to inflict some kind of violence on them.” (What is Death Con 3?, by Karishma Rao, Oct. 11, 2022.)

In fact, propagandists often falsely depict Jews as a threat to stir up Jew-hatred. For instance, when Palestinian Arab terrorists break into a Jewish home and murder an innocent Jewish family eating a Shabbat meal, the Palestinian Authority portrays the Arab terrorists as heroes who were “resisting” the threat of “Zionist aggression.”

Third, Owens suggested that Kanye West might really just be angry about certain individual Jews and was falsely charged with antisemitism for saying so. Owens asked: “Is [West] tweeting this because he’s reading the Newsweek headline calling him antisemitic? Is he angry because he can’t believe that he’s not free to talk about people in his life who happen to be Jewish without being accused of antisemitism? Is he saying, ‘I’m not going to shut up and I’m going to keep tweeting, and I’m going to keep calling these people out,’ referring to his friends that he feels slighted by? Is he talking about Jared Kushner and Josh Kushner? . . . It’s like you cannot even say the word ‘Jewish’ without people getting upset.”

In fact, Kanye West’s tweet called for “death con 3” against all “JEWISH PEOPLE” with capital letters – not only certain Jewish individuals. Calling for collective attacks or collective vengeance against the “JEWISH PEOPLE” is classic antisemitism.

West’s message accusing “Jewish people” of telling Sean Combs what to do was likewise apparently a general, classic antisemitic attack portraying “Jewish people” as controlling others.

Candace Owens needs to retract her defense of Kanye West’s antisemitic statements. Ben Shapiro and Dennis Prager should reconsider giving Owens a platform.

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