Saturday, May 25, 2024 -
Print Edition

ADL’s Greenblatt praises Musk

NEW YORK — Advertisers have been dropping off the social network X this week after its owner, Elon Musk, called an anti-Semitic post “the actual truth.”

Elon Musk (Ludovic Marin/Pool/AFP/Getty Images/Design by Mollie Suss)

It was the exact pressure tactic that the ADL had recommended almost exactly a year earlier to fight hate on the platform, then known as Twitter.

Given the Jewish civil rights group’s CEO’s response to Musk’s post endorsing the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, one might have expected it to follow suit.

“It is indisputably dangerous to use one’s influence to validate and promote anti-Semitic theories,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote on the platform.

Yet even as companies including IBM, Apple and Disney are pulling their ad dollars in protest, the ADL is continuing to buy ads on X — and Greenblatt has shifted to praising Musk, this time for what he says is a meaningful effort to fight anti-Semitism.

Musk had written another, very different post, saying that two phrases common to pro-Palestinian protests — “decolonization” and “from the river to the sea” — “necessarily imply genocide.”

He added that users would be suspended if they posted “clear calls for extreme violence.”

“This is an important and welcome move by @elonmusk,” Greenblatt responded on X.

“I appreciate this leadership in fighting hate.”

Musk has been sparring publicly with the ADL for months, at one point blaming it for rising anti-Semitism and threatening to sue it for billions of dollars. Now, the latest whirlwind chapter in that saga — Greenblatt’s quick shift from condemning to praising the billionaire — has created backlash in the Jewish world.

On Monday, Nov. 20, the State Dept.’s anti-Semitism envoy suggested that she opposed Greenblatt’s stance, while a member of one of the ADL’s advisory boards called the about-face “embarrassing.”

“The damage was done,” Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt remarked about Musk’s first tweet during a Monday briefing with Jewish media. “The endorsement of the Great Replacement theory was very harmful.”

Lipstadt added that she disapproved of what she saw as any attempt to “mitigate” Musk’s earlier tweet, without criticizing Greenblatt directly.

“You can try to mitigate, but once you open the pillow, it’s like chasing the feathers,” she said.

Greenblatt says doesn’t regret his praise for Musk. Praising people when they take what the ADL sees as the right steps, he says, is part of his job fighting anti-Semitism.

Musk’s tweet and his own praise of it, Greenblatt says, came following a private conversation between the two men in which Musk previewed his vow to suspend users who call for violence.

“I will call out Elon Musk and X, like every other platform, when they get it wrong. And I will credit Elon Musk and X and every other platform when they get it right,” Greenblatt said Nov. 20. “One doesn’t negate the other.”

During their conversation, Greenblatt says he did not press Musk for an apology for the post the billionaire wrote last week, which Greenblatt had called “indisputably dangerous.”

Musk was replying to a user who wrote, “Jewish communities have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.

“I’m deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest [expletive] now about western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realization that those hordes of minorities [they] support flooding their country don’t exactly like them too much.”

The post was an endorsement of the Great Replacement theory, which posits that Jews are orchestrating the replacement of white populations in Western countries via the mass immigration of people of color.
Musk responded, “You have said the actual truth.”

Greenblatt joined a loud chorus in condemning that post.

Other Jewish groups, including the American Jewish Committee, harshly condemned it.

Later in the same thread, Musk went after the ADL itself, saying the group “push[es] de facto anti-white racism.”

Greenblatt acknowledged the attacks on his group. “I don’t take any of that personally,” he said.

Despite Musk’s public attitude about the ADL, Greenblatt called their meeting “extremely promising.” Greenblatt noted that he believed Musk “still has work to do. He is not, if you will, in the clear.”

But, he added, “We saw a change in what he said on Friday, and that was noteworthy.”

He said the ADL was buying ads on X, and in response to major firms suspending their ad spending, said companies “need to make their own decisions about where they want their brands to be placed.”

He said: “I hope that the other social media companies follow X’s leadership on this.”




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *