As anti-Semitism soars after Elon Musk takeover, ADL calls for boycott of Twitter ads

JTA — Jewish groups believed Elon Musk was listening to them talk about anti-Semitism on Twitter. Then Kanye West came back.

In the week after the rapper who now goes by Ye lost most of his mentions due to his anti-Semitic rants, and amid an apparent increase in broader anti-Semitic content on the platform, the Anti-Defamation League met Musk, the social media giant’s new mercurial. owner, about removing hate speech from the site.

Three days later, all the goodwill from the meeting has dissipated, as anti-Jewish content on Twitter sees a “prolific thrustaccording to the Network Contagion Research Institute, a company that monitors the spread of hate and misinformation online. The institute said Friday that “terms associated with Jews are tweeted more than 5,000 times per hour” and that “the most engaged tweets are overtly anti-Semitic.”

Meanwhile, West began calling individual Jews, such as music mogul Scooter Braun and sports brand businessman Jamie Salter, to his account, and online networks of anti-Semites seized on the owned by Musk as an opportunity to launch a full-throttle press of hateful content on the site.

Now, instead of working alongside Musk to develop new content moderation tools, the ADL is calling on all advertisers to suspend their relationship with Twitter, while offering a harsh critique of Musk’s leadership.

“We met with Elon Musk earlier this week to express our deep concerns about some of his plans and the surge in toxic content following his acquisition,” the Stop Hate For Profit coalition, a group that includes the ADL, said in a statement. communicated. “Since that time, hate and misinformation have proliferated, and he has taken steps that make us fear the worst is yet to come.”

In this Dec. 13, 2016, file photo, Kanye West enters Trump Tower in New York City. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The band’s relationship with Musk has derailed with breathtaking speed. In their first meeting, the ADL and various coalition members, including the NAACP, Color of Change, the Asian American Foundation and media fairness advocacy group Free Press, pushed Musk to develop tools robust content moderation.

The groups also tried to get Musk to stop tweeting conspiracy theories and problematic content himself. The entrepreneur previously tweeted, then deleted, a link to a right-wing conspiracy theory involving a man who attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband in his home (the attacker himself was active in numerous theories online anti-Semitic conspiracy).

Musk tweeted approvingly about the ADL meeting afterwards (a decision that enraged some of his anti-Semitic fans), and ADL Vice President Yael Eisenstat told Protocol that Musk assured the groups that he didn’t want Twitter to become “a hate amplifier.”

But on Thursday night West – one of Twitter’s most popular users, with 38 million followers – launched his latest anti-Semitic tirade on the platform, on which he had recently been reinstated following a hate speech suspension. Musk said he had no role in West’s reinstatement.

Seemingly prompted by the media attention given to Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving following the star guard’s anti-Semitism controversy, West posted a series of conspiratorial posts about various Jewish figures. Beyond Braun and Salter, he called out celebrity personal trainer Harley Pasternak and Amar’e Stoudemire – the former NBA star who converted to Orthodox Judaism in 2020 and had a brief stint as as Nets assistant coach.

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving looks on during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022 in New York City. (AP/Jessie Alcheh)

“You can’t be anti-Semitic when you know you’re Semitic,” West tweeted in defense of Irving, who shared a link to an anti-Semitic documentary. Irving expressed the same idea at a press conference on October 29, which led to the Nets suspending him. Later, he apologized for his rhetoric.

In subsequent tweets, West said, “They make us bully us because of our trade alignments.”

Referring to Stoudemire, who is black and who criticized Irving for refusing to condemn anti-Semitism, West wrote, “They make us attack each other[,] even our brothers who know who we really are.

The wording of West’s tweets referenced common tropes that have circulated among Black Hebrew Israelite communities, including that they are genealogical descendants of ancient Israelites. As of Friday afternoon, West’s account remained active on Twitter.

Also recently reinstated on Twitter: the account of Mark Finchem, the Republican candidate for Secretary of State from Arizona, whose account had been suspended. Finchem, who has received $10,000 in donations from far-right anti-government militia the Oath Keepers despite his own insistence that he is not a member of the group, regularly tweets references to Jewish billionaires George Soros and Mike Bloomberg “funding” his Democratic Party. opponent. He also proudly accepted the endorsement of Andrew Torba, an outspoken anti-Semite and founder of the Gab social media platform, which is teeming with anti-Semitic users.

From left, Kristina Karamo, candidate for secretary of state from Michigan, Mark Finchem, candidate for secretary of state from Arizona, and Jim Marchant, candidate for secretary of state from Nevada, attend at an American conference on voting machine conspiracy theories and discredited claims about the 2020 presidential election at a hotel in West Palm Beach, Florida on Sept. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)

Finchem’s account was restored just over a week before the midterm elections and Musk’s meeting with the ADL. The candidate, who is also denying the 2020 election results, thanked Musk for reinstating him, saying, “Twitter is much better with you at the helm.”

Like other right-wing politicians and media figures who regularly refer to Soros, Finchem said such behavior was not anti-Semitic. He refuted a charge of anti-Semitism, saying:i love jewsbut also frequently used language calling his opponents “Marxists,” an accusation that anti-Semites historically dating back to the Great Depression-era radio preacher Father Coughlin have leveled at liberal or secular Jews. .

All of this activity came as Twitter employees braced for a series of mass layoffs on Friday, with up to half of the company’s 7,500 jobs reportedly at stake – wreaking further havoc on the company as Musk has sought to rethink his top-down operations. . The layoffs could jeopardize future efforts to develop consistent new policies on how content is moderated and how accounts are reinstated. Musk said such a process would take “weeks.”

Twitter’s headquarters are on Market Street on November 4, 2022 in San Francisco, California. (David Odisho/Getty Images/AFP)

As Musk moved forward with his plans and threats of real-world violence in synagogues grew, Jewish users expressed anger and frustration. A few said they would leave completely.

“At this point, we’re calling on advertisers to suspend spending globally until it becomes clear whether Twitter remains committed to being a safe place for advertisers as well as society as a whole,” he said. declared Stop Hate For Profit in its press release.

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