By: Aaron Bandler | Jewish Journal | January 30, 2023
The Israeli American Council’s (IAC) National Summit had several hours’ worth of breakout sessions dedicated to antisemitism on January 20 and 21 at the Fairmont Hotel in Austin, TX. Here is one of the highlights covered by the Journal.
The Kanye Effect
A panel later in the day featured StandWithUs CEO and Co-Founder Roz Rothstein and Stop Antisemitism Executive Director Liora Rez discussing “The Kanye Effect,” which Rez said involved “a trickle effect” of rapper Kanye West’s antisemitism permeating through his millions of social media followers. Rez said that West’s antisemitic rhetoric essentially gives a “green light” to “those that seek to do the Jewish people harm,” citing the white supremacist group Goyim Defense League (GDL) as an example.
Rothstein similarly said that West’s antisemitism has resulted in “copycatting” but proclaimed that “we are not a defenseless people anymore.” She highlighted StandWithUs’ work in fighting antisemitism in schools, including a recent complaint they filed against George Washington University, as well as StandWithUs’ recent involvement in getting the cities of Los Angeles and West Hollywood to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism. “We will stand tall, we will teach pride, we will stand up to this antisemitism in all our different ways, but we must engage,” Rothstein said.
Roz later said that the Jewish community needs to get creative in fighting against antisemitism, pointing to the fact that they successfully lobbied for police to fine the GDL for dropping antisemitic flyers throughout various neighborhoods in the country. She also touted Stop Antisemite’s strategy of using “freedom of speech to throw [antisemites’] hatred back in their face and expose it.” “We let employers, spouses, parents, know when someone espouses hatred against the Jewish people,” Rez said, as she said her organization is “responsible for a lot of firings, suspensions” and even a divorce. She predicted that antisemitism is “going to get worse.”