Content Warning: This story contains mentions of antisemitic language.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Kanye West’s antisemitic tweets have evoked fear in the Jewish community at Syracuse University. Sydney Schroeder, an SU senior and president of Hillel, the center for Jewish life on campus, is concerned West’s actions may be irreversible and could lead to very dangerous situations, such as the protest on Interstate 405 in Southern California that occurred Monday afternoon.
“We need to be careful about the way we use our words. This rhetoric is dangerous and it should be called out,” said Schroeder. “It should be talked about with Jewish and non-Jewish friends. The long-term effect is if it’s not talked about, scarier things could happen and hate could spread.”
In a tweet that has since been deleted, West said, “When I wake up I’m going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” referring to the military tactic defcon 3, a defense readiness operation. Schroeder acknowledged West’s mental illnesses but did not consider that an acceptable excuse for his behavior.
“He has a really large platform and a huge following,” said Schroeder. “He might be joking or whatever he’s doing, but.. his followers don’t know that and his followers might… think it’s okay to use that kind of rhetoric.”
Schroeder said she had discussed the prominence of antisemitism with some of the members of Hillel, but not formally with the entire group. Schroeder was especially upset by the protests on Interstate 405 in Southern California because she is from California.
“It was really horrifying to see that in my city,” said Schroeder. “I’m proud to be from California, but with stuff like that it’s just shameful and terrifying to know that I’m gonna be going back home to people who believe that about me.”
After the recent discoveries of antisemitic language in the Pan Am Flight 103 archive, Schroeder emphasized the need for campus education about the dangers of antisemitic language.
“The recent Pan Am Flight 103 discoveries, I think that is something that needs to be talked about and has been,” said Schroeder. “I think these things all kinda coming at the same time really show me how antisemitism is alive and well and how we need to have conversations as a community, as a university community, as a global community.”
The Syracuse senior wanted to ensure that Syracuse University students know there are outlets on campus if they are concerned by the attacks, and Jewish clubs such as Hillel and Chabad are available for students to discuss their concerns.