update deskAntisemitism

Musk, ADL blame each other for antisemitism on former Twitter

The X owner suggested he holds the Anti-Defamation League accountable for $22 billion in lost ad revenue.

An Illustration of the new Logo of Twitter in Jerusalem on July 30, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
An Illustration of the new Logo of Twitter in Jerusalem on July 30, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.

In a “very frank and productive” meeting on Aug. 29, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, and Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X (formerly Twitter), discussed “what works and what doesn’t” on the platform “and where it needs to go to address hate effectively on the platform.”

So Greenblatt posted on Aug. 30 … 

“I appreciated her reaching out and I’m hopeful the service will improve,” Greenblatt wrote. “ADL will be vigilant and give her and Elon Musk credit if the service gets better.” It will also “reserve the right to call them out until it does,” he added.

Yaccarino did not appear to respond or to acknowledge the meeting on X, but Musk, who owns the company, had a lot to tweet.

“To clear our platform’s name on the matter of antisemitism, it looks like we have no choice but to file a defamation lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League,” Musk shared with his 155.4 million followers on Sept. 4. “Oh the irony!”

When a user shared a screenshot about a judge fining ADL $10.5 million in a Colorado defamation suit, Musk responded, “Interesting. In our case, they would potentially be on the hook for destroying half the value of the company, so roughly $22 billion.”

“Based on what we’ve heard from advertisers, ADL seems to be responsible for most of our revenue loss,” Musk added. “Giving them maximum benefit of the doubt, I don’t see any scenario where they’re responsible for less than 10% of the value destruction, so ~$4 billion. Document discovery of all communications between The ADL and advertisers will tell the full story.”

In another discussion, he added: “Since the acquisition, The ADL has been trying to kill this platform by falsely accusing it and me of being antisemitic. Our U.S. advertising revenue is still down 60%, primarily due to pressure on advertisers by ADL (that’s what advertisers tell us), so they almost succeeded in killing X/Twitter!”

In prior days, since Greenblatt’s post, Musk commented several other times on the matter. To a user who saw a “Ban the ADL” tag trending on X as a sign that people aren’t afraid of Greenblatt’s “intimidation tactics anymore,” Musk suggested running a poll on the matter. Two days later, he wrote, “To be super clear, I’m pro free speech, but against antisemitism of any kind.” (Musk had “liked” a post with the #BanTheADL tag.)

The X owner also shared a 2020 Tablet magazine article by Liel Leibovitz titled “The mind-bendingly insane, completely craven, utterly unconscionable redemption of Al Sharpton,” with the subheading, “You’re not confused. The ADL is becoming as bad as you think.” Musk wrote, “Interesting article.”

Three minutes later, he shared a 2009 NPR about a film that was critical of the ADL. “Interesting documentary,” he wrote.

Separately, Musk also wrote that the ADL, “because they are so aggressive in their demands to ban social media accounts for even minor infractions, are ironically the biggest generators of antisemitism on this platform!”

Some prominent Jews on X, including Chaya Raichik, of Libs of TikTok, sided with Musk. “The ADL is only anti-defamation if you agree with their far-left views. If not, they will defame you,” she wrote. “They aren’t anti-defamation at all. Turns out, they’ll also push to ban accounts they don’t like and now Elon is exposing them!”

Many others—even those who stated that they aren’t fans of the ADL—criticized Musk for his posts and for not doing more to curb antisemitism on the platform.

“Et tu, Elon Musk?” wrote David Draiman, frontman of the ban Disturbed. “Pushing the #BanTheADL campaign? I don’t always agree with their modern-day partisan stances, but they still do a world of good? Don’t you realize the ramifications of supporting such a campaign? Devastating, truly.”

“I have written more than anyone on the problems of the new ADL under Greenblatt from a Jewish communal perspective, and most people here know about the ADL’s campaign against me,” wrote Seth Mandel, executive editor of the Washington Examiner magazine. “But the ADL and I are arguing over how to keep Jews alive. The groypers want us all gone.”

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