Kanye West used a play on the military term ‘Defcon 3’ in a tweet he posted on Saturday (October 8) that was labeled a “vicious anti-Semitic comment” by the American Jewish Committee. The tweet, written in Ye’s typical cryptic style, has left others confused. 

The now deleted tweet read: “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE. The funny thing is I actually can’t be anti-Semitic because black people are actually Jews also. You guys have toyed with me and tried to blackball anyone whoever opposes your agenda.”

Let’s dive further into the meaning of “Defcon 3.” 

Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

What is Defcon 3? 

The Jewish Chronicle reported Kanye’s use of the term “death con 3” was a likely reference to US military term Defcon 3. Defence readiness condition (Defcon) is an alert system used by US armed forces, with five levels of readiness from one to five.

Defcon 5 is the least severe setting, with the worst, Defcon 1, signalling the outbreak of nuclear warfare. The system was introduced in 1959. Defcon 3 is described as an “Increase in force readiness above normal readiness.” 

The Jewish Chronicle alleged Kanye’s misuse of the term was a move to “declare metaphorical war on Jewish people.” 

Kanye West was already locked out of his Instagram account

The alleged reference to Defcon 3 seemingly follows more warfare-themed comments by the Donda artist posted on Instagram on Friday, October 7.

The fashion mogul’s Instagram account was restricted later that day after he posted screenshots of a text conversation with rapper Sean Combs, also known as P Diddy or Puff Daddy.

In the text conversation Ye wrote: “I told you this means war. Ima use you as an example to show the Jewish people… that no one can threaten or influence me.”

The post was captioned ‘Jesus is Jew.’ 

A series of controversies kicked off last week after Yeezy’s Paris Fashion Week show, coincidentally held on Paris’s Avenue de la Grande Armée (Grand Army Avenue). Models were dressed in T-shirts adorned with the slogan ‘White Lives Matter,’ a phrase widely associated with white supremacy. 

Celebrities such as supermodel Gigi Hadid and Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, the first black global contributing editor for Vogue, labeled the T-shirts “dangerous” and “offensive.” 

David Baddiel hits back at ‘Jews don’t count phenomenon’

Following West’s Defcon 3 tweet, British-Jewish comedian David Baddiel responded: “Kanye West’s threat to Jews is as ever based on a myth of Jewish power, a myth believed across the political spectrum. It lies at the heart of the Jews Don’t Count phenomenon: Jews are powerful so attacking them is punching up.”

Dropped by Adidas

Following his comments, Kanye was dropped by Adidas, almost 10 years after beginning his partnership with the brand.

The German sports brand said in a statement that Kanye’s comments were “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness”.

Adidas will take a “short-term” hit by ending the partnership, losing €250m (£217m) of its income for this year.

The brand is also set to end the production of Yeezy products and stop all payments to the rapper.

But Adidas did make it clear they own all design rights to existing products and previous and new color variations under the Yeezy partnership.

In other news, Who is Mary Carmack-Altwies? Lawyer files charges against Alec Baldwin