Photo Credit: Daniel Oberhaus (2018)
Elon Musk

According to online accounts, #BanTheADL trended second Friday on X (formerly Twitter) with close to 10,000 posts. It began on Thursday, when several extreme-right, antisemitic accounts created the hashtag.

X’s owner, Elon Musk, is taking a benign approach to this campaign, and is even considering how to increase the site’s revenues through it. But first:


How did it all start?

To remind you, the stated mission of the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) is to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people, and secure justice and fair treatment to all.” With that in mind, on August 30, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted: I had a very frank + productive conversation with Linda Yaccarino (she succeeded Elon Musk as the Chief Executive Officer of X Corp – DI) yesterday about X, what works and what doesn’t, and where it needs to go to address hate effectively on the platform. I appreciated her reaching out and I’m hopeful the service will improve. ADL will be vigilant and give her and Elon Musk credit if the service gets better… and reserve the right to call them out until it does.”

Turns out the ADL has many enemies (who would have thunk it?), and those were not amused by the ADL’s statement.

There was mixed martial artist Jake Shields who has been accusing the ADL for almost a year of brainwashing children to become gay and trans; and Keith Woods from Irland who Rolling Stones says is a close friend of white supremacists Richard Spencer and Nick Fuentes; Lauren Witzke, a far-right flat-Earther and Qanon follower with a website that runs antisemitic articles, who failed in her 2020 bid to become the GOP Senator from Delaware; Andrew Torba, CEO of Gab which runs a neo-Nazi online platform; and Matthew Parrott, a neo-Nazi who was among the organizers of the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

By Thursday night, #BanTheADL was way up there in the lead of trending topics on X.

Keith Woods made matters clear in a separate tweet as to why the Nazis hate ADL more than other groups: he shared a November 4, 2022, Greenblatt tweet that declared, “Today, we are joining dozens of other groups to ask advertisers to pause Twitter spending because we are profoundly concerned about antisemitism and hate on the platform. Here’s why we’re asking advertisers to #StopHateForProfit and #StopToxicTwitter.”

The tweet was linked to an ADL website that featured an article titled, “Calling on Advertisers to Pause Their Spend on Twitter.” The article included a single paragraph: “New York, NY, November 4, 2022 — We met with Elon Musk earlier this week to express our profound concerns about some of his plans and the spike in toxic content after his acquisition. Since that time, hate and disinformation have proliferated, and he has taken actions that make us fear that the worst is yet to come. At this point in time, we are calling on advertisers to pause their spend globally until it becomes clear whether Twitter remains committed to being a safe place for advertisers as well as society overall.”

As far as Woods and other neo-Nazis/White Supremacists are concerned, this call to ban advertising on hate sites is an attack on their right to free speech.

On Saturday, Elon Musk shared this post by right-wing extremist Eva Vlaardingerbroek: “The fact that #BanTheADL is trending shows how done people are with the ‘we’re labeling everything we don’t like as hateful/racist/dangerous/far-right’ [expletive]. People aren’t afraid of your intimidation tactics anymore, J. Greenblatt ADL. Your labels have lost their power.”

Musk added this comment: “Perhaps we should run a poll on this?”

Now, by “poll,” the X owner is referring to a survey that only includes X subscribers who pay for the privilege of being recognized as real, confirmed individuals, the folks with the “blue checkmarks.” No bots or anonymous attackers need apply. And so, Musk muses, if you want to have a voice in this poll, pay to play.

If you’re planning to register to vote on whether the ADL should retain its special platform on X, keep in mind the group’s August 29 post: “Members of the neo-Nazi group Blood Tribe have staged hateful public events in Wisconsin and Ohio, while their leader has recently purchased land in Maine as an encampment for his white supremacist followers. Such hateful extremist groups have no place in modern society.”

If X #BanTheADL, we may no longer receive these reports. And if you’re Jewish and live in Wisconsin, Ohio, or Maine, trust me, you want to know.


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