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X’s Elon Musk threatens to sue ADL over ‘anti-Semitism’ claims and sales slump

September 5, 2023 at 12:25 pm

The new (Twitter) logo rebranded as X displayed on mobile with Elon Musk seen in the background, in this illustration on 03 September 2023 in Brussels, Belgium [Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images]

The owner of the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), Elon Musk has threatened to take legal action against US-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) after blaming the powerful and influential Jewish NGO over slumping revenues attributed to lobbying by the ADL who have accused Musk and the platform of being anti-Semitic.

In a series of posts yesterday, Musk denied the claims and announced his intention to sue the ADL: “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 also explained that US advertising revenue is still down 60 per cent “primarily due to pressure on advertisers” by the ADL, accusing them of “killing X/Twitter.”

In an earlier tweet, Musk reaffirmed his long-standing support for freedom of speech, but stressed he was “against anti-Semitism of any kind.”

The statement followed online outrage by Jewish advocacy groups after Musk had previously “liked” a tweet by Irish nationalist Keith Woods who launched a hashtag campaign #BantheADL, stating on Saturday: “The ADL’s favourite tactic is financially blackmailing social media companies into removing free speech on their platforms,” adding “Why should they have a platform on X to hold @elonmusk to ransom? It’s time to #BanTheADL.”

Wood’s comments came a day after Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s CEO, spoke with Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of X, over hate speech on the social media platform. “The ADL has tracked massive spikes in racist, antisemitic and homophobic content and harassment since Musk bought the platform last year and restored extremist accounts banned under the previous management,” the Times of Israel reported.

READ: Israel firm to verify Twitter users

In a separate post by Woods, sharing a video of US commentator and InfoWars founder Alex Jones who referred to ADL as “the most pro-Hitler organisation”, Musk replied by describing the ADL as being “ironically the biggest generators of anti-Semitism on this platform.”

Hours ago, Musk went on to share an “interesting article” published last month by online Jewish magazine Tablet, which pointed out the double standards by the ADL and other prominent Jewish organisations such as the Jewish Council for Public Affairs for making an ally out of African-American civil rights leader, Al Sharpton, despite his apparent history of anti-Semitism.

He later shared a 2009 article by NPR on the documentary Defamation by award-winning Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir. The article mentioned that Shamir was “shocked that American scholars Stephen M. Walt and John Mearsheimer have been labeled as anti-Semites for suggesting that the influence of pro-Israel lobbyists — the ADL prominent among them — is good for neither Israel nor the United States.”

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