Holocaust Museum LA invited Kanye West to a private tour. Now it’s target of antisemitic attacks. We need to take this as an excuse to build a proper museum to tell the West story.
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, has invited Kanye West to an exclusive private tour. But instead of celebrating West’s role as one of the best musical figures America has ever produced, these new visitors have chosen to be the voice of the Westen community, with a tour to focus on anti-Semitic and racist attacks against the rapper.
The invitation – and the tour – are the latest example of how, over the last few years, Jews have been targeted by anti-Semitic attacks in the US, and in Germany, where West’s album Yeezus was released in 2015. This is not the first time that a major Jewish organization has asked a prominent black American artist to join in their celebration about an experience in the black community, but this was a particularly egregious attempt.
There are over 200 public Holocaust museums worldwide, and a number of museum directors have said that their experiences in the Holocaust inspired them to start the museum, and that the Holocaust is not a Jewish memory, but rather a universal one.
We don’t know what West would think about this. As far as I’m aware, he hasn’t yet spoken in his native tongue, and he is a staunch supporter of Israel. Perhaps he could use this tour to help to put a human face on the Holocaust in his home country. On his website, he says he’s “not anti-Semitic or a racist,” and that he is “looking forward to meeting people who have been affected by the Holocaust and the Holocaust Museum project”.
This is the museum I want to see. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum is not a safe space. It is a place of education. Not a place of celebration. The Museum and its leaders know this.