By JNS Reporter
An Australian minister said on Wednesday that American rapper Kanye West, also known as Ye, could be denied a visa to enter the country due to his “awful” antisemitism, Reuters reported.
Ye tied the knot with Bianca Censori in a private ceremony at the top of 2023, but it seems the couple haven’t yet filed a marriage certificate to make it legal. Regardless, the Yeezy mogul reportedly had plans to visit Censori’s family in Melbourne, but according to TMZ, Australia’s Education Minister Jason Clare implied they could potentially turn Ye away.
“People like that who’ve applied for visas to get into Australia in the past have been rejected. I expect that if he does apply he would have to go through the same process and answer the same questions that they did,” said Clare, according to the report.
News that West would visit Down Under to meet the family of his partner, Bianca Censori, who grew up in Melbourne, generated a major backlash.
The Australian Jewish Association (AJA) on Monday called on authorities in Canberra to not issue West a visa to enter the country, on the grounds that his planned visit constitutes a threat to the local Jewish community.
“Kanye West (or Ye) has engaged in incitement against Jews on numerous occasions as well as spreading hateful conspiracy theories and praising Adolf Hitler. In response, several companies such as Adidas and Balenciaga have canceled business arrangements and several social media companies have removed him,” the AJA said in an “urgent” letter sent to Australian Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles.
But leading Jewish organizations have petitioned Giles to block West’s visa and stop him from entering the country over his recent antisemitic comments.
“He’s a blatant antisemite, he’s a hate preacher who loves Nazis and worships Hitler, and the Jewish community feels that Australia shouldn’t open the door to this serial bigot who incites violence…and keeps company with white supremacists,” Dvir Abramovich of the Anti-Defamation Commission told Newsweek.
“The minister for immigration needs to make a clear statement that hate speech and racism will never find a safe haven in our country and deny his entry,” he said. “Anything else sends a wrong and frightening message that it’s open season on the Jewish community.”
Several Jewish groups wrote to Giles to ask him to block West’s visa based on the criteria that his conduct—past and present—could lead the minister to consider him not of good character and, therefore, a risk that his presence in Australia could be disruptive or threatening to the community.
“Antisemitism is at elevated levels in Australia, part of a worldwide trend. Multiple recent antisemitic incidents across Australia have specifically referenced Kanye West, including graffiti in Melbourne and leaflets in Brisbane. The Australian Jewish Association fears that a visit by Kanye West is likely to inflame the tense situation and even risks causing violence,” continued the letter.
“We ask that you exercise your powers and refuse Kanye West a visa on character grounds as provided in 5501 Migration Act 1958. AJA contends that Kanye West does not pass the character test and his conduct is not in line with the expectations of the Australian community. We believe that refusing his visa is necessary for the protection of the Australian community, particularly the Jewish community.”
Australia has previously refused or revoked visas to individuals for failing the “good character” test, according to Reuters, which cited a 2019 decision to prevent British conspiracy theorist David Icke from visiting the country.
Gavin McInnes, founder of the Proud Boys, was reportedly denied a visa in 2018.
Australian opposition leader Peter Dutton, an immigration minister under a previous government, said on Tuesday that he would ban West, but that the decision to do so rests with the current government.
“His antisemitic comments are disgraceful, his conduct [and] his behavior are appalling,” said Dutton. “He’s not a person of good character and the minister has the ability to stop somebody coming into our country of bad character.”
“The minister has got a lot to weigh up. But my instinct would be, if I was that decision maker, I think there are better people that we could welcome in.”
A government spokesperson said Mr Giles “cannot comment on individual cases” for privacy reasons.
“All non-citizens who enter Australia must meet, and continue to meet, requirements set out in the Migration Act, including security and character requirements,” they said.
Reuters reported that Peter Wertheim, co-chief executive officer of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, met with government officials on Tuesday to argue for an entry ban.
“We had a sympathetic hearing. We’ve made the case that this particular individual does not meet the character test and that it would be in the national interest not to grant him a visa” Wertheim said thereafter.
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate.
(Additional reporting provided by Alberto Arellano)
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