The Anti-Defamation League denounced recent comments by hip-hop star Kanye West as “classic anti-Semitism.”
In a radio interview, West defended President Obama’s difficulty in passing his policies, saying “Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people.”
West made the comments on New York City’s 105.1 FM. The interview reportedly escaped notice until the Israeli daily Haaretz reported on it on Friday.
“There it goes again, the age-old canard that Jews are all-powerful and control the levers of power in government,” said ADL national director Abraham Foxman in a statement. “As a celebrity with a wide following, Kanye West should know better. We hope that he will take responsibility for his words, understand why they are so offensive, and apologize to those he has offended.”
In the radio interview, West drew a distiction between “George Bush and oil money and Obama and no money. People want to say Obama can’t make these moves or he’s not executing. That’s because he ain’t got those connections. Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people. Black people don’t have the same connection as oil people,” he said.
He continued: “You know we don’t know nobody that got a nice house. You know we don’t know nobody with paper like that we can go to when we down. You know they can just put us back or put us in a corporation. You know we ain’t in situation. Can you guarantee that your daughter can get a job at this radio station? But if you own this radio station, you could guarantee that. That’s what I’m talking about.”
West has made comparisons in the past that have raised the hackles of the Jewish community.
In August 2011 he was booed at a concert in England after comparing himself to Hitler. “I walk through the hotel and I walk down the street, and people look at me like I’m (expletive) insane, like I’m Hitler,” West told an audience of 40,000 over the weekend at the Big Chill Festival. As the audience booed, he said, “One day the light will shine through, and one day people will understand everything I ever did.”