Over the long weekend, Elon Musk attacked a Jewish organization, the Anti Defamation League (ADL), for “destroying half the value of [X/Twitter]…roughly $22 billion” in a bizarre claim that ADL pressured advertisers to leave the platform.
It’s a monumentally dumb move.
Let me be clear about a couple of things before I explain why. First, the ADL doesn’t speak for Jews, never mind “all Jews.” Placing Jews into that kind of blanket categorization may as well conjure up images of ghettos. Second, the ADL doesn’t speak for me, despite me being ethnically Jewish.
Third, the ADL is a decidedly politically liberal political organization that’s fully invested in many “intersectional” beliefs that go along with its pedigree. However, the ADL can’t fully join the progressive club, being that many of the intersectional beliefs of progressives include demonizing Israel and blaming Jews for a variety of ills. So you won’t find the Squad praising ADL.
OK, let’s now get into the dumbness. Musk claimed that ADL pressured advertisers, causing X’s revenue to be down 60%. He posted that his advertisers told him they cave to ADL pressure. Here’s what that implies.
- One Jewish organization can sway a large bloc of advertisers, who will not willingly cross it, but will tell Musk why.
- The Jewish organization targets whom it pleases based on its perception of how “anti-semitic” the target it, or whatever political message is being propagated.
- Ergo: Jews control a big chunk of the world.
If there was a message that is designed to tickle the ears of anti-semites and Jew haters, there it is. By publicly saying, and then potentially acting upon claims that Jews are killing X/Twitter, Musk is guaranteeing the platform will continue to attract and harbor people who agree with his conclusions and believe there’s a malicious conspiracy of Jews trying (with success) to control the world.
All of the spider-webby conspiracies joined to this: Ukraine and Zelenskyy, George Soros, space lasers, etc. find their root in the core logical argument presented by Musk.
Except it’s completely false.
Jews are not a political bloc. Perhaps Musk has an issue with ADL as an organization. Perhaps it’s because X/Twitter has been a haven for Jew-haters for many years. Perhaps by allowing Iranian imams to spew their anti-semitic venom for years, and giving voice to thousands of virulently Jew-hating accounts, even before Musk took over, ADL might have a point in asking Musk to do more to clean up the sewer. But Musk, a “free speech absolutist” when it suits him, has done little to stem the anti-Jew tide, and in fact it has increased.
ADL is not the only organization that has criticized Musk’s handling of anti-semitic tropes. The Auschwitz Memorial reported a post with an anti-semitic message, but X replied that the post didn’t violate the site’s rules. The organization posted a screenshot of the original content (“your so-called Holocaust is a lie”) and X’s reply.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate put together a list of 12 people it claimed were behind all kinds of disinformation on Twitter, called the “Disinformation Dozen.” It was a total fabrication, and the media ate it hook, line and sinker. Musk sued CCDH, claiming it harmed X’s advertising. That suit is useful and correct, and emblematic of the liberal media’s reaction to Musk’s purchase and personal attention to its favorite online haunt.
However, suing the ADL doesn’t accomplish the same thing. It amplifies anti-semitic tropes and ancient blood libels, putting X and Musk on the side of actual Jew-haters, though he claims not to be one. This is a bad look for advertisers. It won’t accomplish what Musk thinks it will, and X will continue to slide into a money pit for the world’s richest man if he continues down this path.
It would be better to eat the “free speech absolutist” words and adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward anti-semitic speech–whether it’s by Iranian imams or Pepe-posting Christian nationalists. Clean up the site, and the problems with ADL, the Auschwitz Memorial, and other groups that protect the truth about the Holocaust and worldwide Jew-hatred will decrease or go away completely.
Either that, or perhaps X will go away completely.
Follow Steve on Twitter @stevengberman.
The First TV contributor network is a place for vibrant thought and ideas. Opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of The First or The First TV. We want to foster dialogue, create conversation, and debate ideas. See something you like or don’t like? Reach out to the author or to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.