Many, hopefully, spent Labor Day weekend resting up for a busy fall. Some did not. Donald Trump ranted and raved on social media. Elon Musk? He picked a fight with a Jewish organization. On Monday, the head of what was once called Twitter threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League, who he accused of defaming him. How? By alerting advertisers to all the anti-Semitic posts that have spiked on his service since he took over. The unhinged move earned him plenty of scorn and/or mockery. And it got a firm rebuttal from the ADL itself.
In a statement provided to The Daily Beast, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt called Musk’s actions “profoundly disturbing.” He pointed out that he was essentially joining an ongoing campaign promoted by anti-Semites, including white supremacist and onetime Donald Trump dinner guest Nick Fuentes, to ban the ADL. Greenblatt also pointed out that over the weekend, masked anti-Semites marched in Florida, “brazenly waving flags adorned with swastikas and chanting ‘Ban the ADL.’”
Greenblatt said he wasn’t all that worried with Musk’s threat of a “frivolous lawsuit” (which he’d probably not get around to anyway, just like his aborted cage fight with Mark Zuckerberg). He continued:
“This urgent matter is the safety of the Jewish people in the face of increasing, intensifying antisemitism. Musk is engaging with and elevating these antisemites at a time when ADL is tracking a surge of bomb threats and swatting attacks of synagogues and Jewish institutions, dramatic levels of antisemitic propaganda being littered throughout Jewish and non-Jewish residential communities, and extremists marching openly through the streets in Nazi gear. All of this is happening in a context of the highest number of antisemitic incidents that ADL has tracked in more than 40 years–and just two weeks away from the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.”
Greenblatt concluded by saying, “And so, this behavior is not just alarming nor reckless. It is flat out dangerous and deeply irresponsible. We need responsible leaders to lead, to stop inflaming hatred and to step back from the brink before it’s too late.”
When Musk announced the prospective lawsuit, he did so with his patented unfunny trolliness. “To clear our platform’s name on the matter of anti-Semitism, it looks like we have no choice but to file a defamation lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League… oh the irony!” he wrote.
The move caused many to point out that Musk, whose erratic behavior and willingness to un-ban and associate with bigots, was essentially blaming his own actions on Jewish people.
I love the implication that the erratic management, mass layoffs, incoherent moderation, destruction of verification, decimated engineering staff, serial unbanning of racists, and crumbling infrastructure had nothing to do with twitter losing half its value. Nope, just Jews. pic.twitter.com/zW4fFAQASb
— Mike Rothschild (no relation) (@rothschildmd) September 5, 2023
A reminder.: #ElonMusk paid $44B for #Twitter, decimated the dep’t & leadership responsible for reducing hate on the platform & hate, including #antisemitism DOUBLED according to a peer reviewed study. https://t.co/vaKZydsXPK. On-line hate doesn’t stay on line.
— Maya Wiley (@mayawiley) September 5, 2023
— Matt Bennett (@ThirdWayMattB) September 5, 2023
Meanwhile, Musk should probably reserve his ire not for an organization that fights anti-Semitism but the former president who wants to crush the electric car (i.e., Tesla) business. But Musk will probably shoot himself in the foot on that one, too.
(Via The Daily Beast)