What is the ADL, Elon Musk’s Latest Target in his War Against Censorship?
Since his hostile acquisition of Twitter (now known as X), Elon Musk has opened the digital can of worms that is censorship. Through the release of the Twitter Files, and more recently, with his focus on the censorious Anti-Defamation League, Musk is uncovering a cynical system of censorship that has been increasingly weaponized.
On Monday, X owner Elon Musk highlighted a growing trend on his platform calling to #BanTheADL. Under his repost of the campaign, he wrote:
“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 anti-Semitism on this platform!”
In a follow-up post, he claimed that “60% of the platform’s ad revenue” has declined because of the ADL and that the organization has tried, and almost succeeded, in “killing the site”.
Our US 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!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 4, 2023
This came following a post by Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the ADL, in which he seemingly threatened “to call out” X CEO, Linda Yaccarino, and Musk as long as “hate” remains prevalent and unaddressed on their platform.
The ADL Put Pressure on Elon Musk, Linda Yaccarino and X— Sulaiman Ahmed (@ShaykhSulaiman) September 1, 2023
The ADL is an organization that leverages its power to pressure platforms into complying with their censorship demands.
They compel social media platforms to adhere, and if they refuse, they threaten them with a complete… pic.twitter.com/Qd5sg2SlAh
This finally led Musk to declare that he would be ironically suing the Anti-Defamation League for defamation in order to clear his and the site’s name.
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!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 4, 2023
What Is The ADL?
Formed in 1913, The Anti-Defamation League worked to protect the rights of Jewish minorities living within the states. It focused on improving the way Jews were depicted in theater plays, and news articles, and fought against unfair treatment of Jews within the U.S. justice system.
While the ADL built a noble reputation as an organization that fought against one of humanity's longest prejudices, anti-Semitism, and expanded its fight to racism and McCarthyite anti-communism, it also launched a cynical side project.
If one looks at the history of the ADL, they’ll quickly find its targeting of Arabs, Muslims, and leftists in the U.S. with accusations of anti-Semitism for their stances against "Israel".
According to ADL’s History and Mission page, in 1952, the ADL published an exposé called “The Troublemakers,” which claimed to show how Arab propaganda in the U.S. aimed to incite “anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments.” The exposé fails to make the connection to the suffering and oppression of the Palestinian people.
The Modern ADL
Shamir showed how the ADL’s weaponization of this false increase and the memory of the holocaust were used to censor academics, block debates, and outright silence any voices supporting the Palestinian people.
Halfway through the documentary, an American rabbi hints that the ADL inflates, and exaggerates the numbers of anti-Semitic incidents in order to fundraise off of those bloated figures.
More recently in 2016, the ADL was caught blackmailing the entire country of Iceland with accusations of a Nazi association. The Nordic Island nation was considering implementing a law that would have banned male circumcisions.
In response, Greenblatt sent a tactless letter in which he threatened the nation by invoking the 28% of tourists that visit the nation from North America. Greenblatt threatened that the allegations of Nazism, even if they were “not justified,” would still severely impact the Icelandic tourism industry.
Selective Understanding of Anti-Semitism
The group most recently triggered a wave of ire when it announced that the Azov Battalion currently fighting in Ukraine, a visibly and demonstrably neo-Nazi military organization was no longer to be considered anti-Semitic.
The Azov Battalion is a neo-Nazi unit in the Ukrainian military. Founded by Andriy Biletsky, a man who vowed to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade…against Semite-led untermenschen,” the militia was widely condemned for its Nazi ties by the West including by the ADL itself which declared in 2019 that the battalion was a “far-right militia” with “ties to neo-Nazi” groups.
This Ukrainian extremist group, called The Azov Battalion, has ties to neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Our latest report on international white supremacy details how they try to connect with like-minded extremists from the US: https://t.co/GtvssxwzbN https://t.co/gGHMM8L46k— ADL (@ADL) September 23, 2019
The ADL post declaring The Azov Battalion as an institution with ties to neo-Nazis Link to ADL tweet about AZOV.
This change came after the start of the Russian war in Ukraine in February of 2022, a war in which the Azov Battalion played a central role in the Ukrainian armed forces.
This adjusted classification meant that Facebook restrictions previously imposed on the glorification and praise of hate groups no longer applied to Azov, a group that Washington wanted to glorify in order to justify sending weapons and funds to in its proxy war with Russia.
Lobbying for 'Israel'
While the ADL green lights support for the Nazis of the Azov battalion, Greenblatt was recorded on a podcast in May repeating the bigoted lie that “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism” against Jews.
“I see Jewish people that are part of the MAGA movement that I think has [sic] deep anti-Semitism to it…I see other Jewish people who are anti-Zionist which again is a deeply anti-Semitic thing.”
In the 1980s and 1990s, as the overwhelming majority of the world was fighting against Apartheid South Africa, the ADL began a comprehensive spying campaign on leftist NGOs and Organizations in the U.S. out of fear that this growing opposition to South African Apartheid project could one day translate to opposition to the other apartheid, "Israel".
A Potential Lawsuit?
Musk’s potential lawsuit stands to do much more than “clear the air” as he put it. The ground-breaking Twitter files showed how the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI actively demanded content be censored and accounts be removed.
Similarly, a possible discovery period could finally show the ADL’s cynical weaponization of the real evil of anti-Semitism against conservative American values and the Palestinian people.
A lawsuit may also encourage the countless organizations that have had their PayPal accounts suspended due to the ADL’s malign influence as the financial platform’s official partner in the “Fight against Extremism and Protecting Marginalized Communities” to launch similar lawsuits.
Saying the Quiet Part Out Loud
In a May interview, Greenblatt said:
“I know Israel, its [sic] eternal capital is Jerusalem, I also believe that more needs to be done to call out the role of terror groups [and] to deal with the threat of Iran…”
Why would these proclamations be accepted from a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization that is supposed to be focused purely on the rights of disenfranchised Americans within America? Why is it that the ADL is not officially registered as a lobbyist organization for "Israel"?
As Al Mayadeen English previously reported, censorship is ramping up against independent media. To counter censorship one must understand who the players of this Censorship Industrial Complex are. From cynical organizations like the ADL to Silicon Valley companies, and all with the assistance of Washington, this complex has succeeded in targeting financial institutions, and academic institutions, and now is trying to control our public squares.
Back in 2018, Meta proudly announced its partnership with the Atlantic Council, a NATO-linked neo-conservative organization that pushes forever wars. The partnership was lauded as a noble mission to “protect democracy.”
We're proud to partner with @AtlanticCouncil to strengthen our election integrity efforts around the world. We'll work with experts from their Digital Research Labs to share real-time insights and ideas to better fight abuse on our platform.https://t.co/qgv7lgC4rR— Meta (@Meta) May 17, 2018
The Center for Countering Digital Hate recently co-opted UK’s Labour Party to censor any opposition to "Israel" and prevent the rise of a second pro-Palestine figure like Jeremy Corbyn.
Now, thanks to a series of posts by disenfranchised X users, and a hashtag campaign, it has become clear that the ADL is trying to kill one of the only remaining bastions of free speech.