The Anti-Defamation League no longer speaks for Jews, but for the woke

Elon Musk has threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League for around $22 billion for defaming him as an anti-Semite, which he says has reduced X’s advertising revenue.

“Based on what we’ve heard from advertisers, ADL appears to be responsible for the majority of our revenue losses,” Musk said.

Judging from my own feed, many real anti-Semites have used X, formerly Twitter, to participate in the #BanTheADL movement because of this panic.

Not surprisingly, more open discourse brings out more bigots.

This is an unfortunate price to pay for freedom of expression.

Those who advocate “banning” accounts obviously don’t care about an open platform anyway.

Nothing stops us from calling her.

However, Musk’s criticism of the ADL is not anti-Semitic.

First of all, the ADL is not a “Jewish” organization in the strict ethnic or theological sense.

Their main task is no longer to stop the defamation of Jews.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, a former Barack Obama candidate who often appears on MSNBC to chat with bigots like Al Sharpton, has founded a partisan left-wing social justice organization.

And their main goal these days is to cynically exploit the organization’s historical position to advance often illiberal, completely irreligious, left-wing ideas.

One way it does this is by dishonestly portraying an endorsement of free speech as an endorsement of the things people say in free speech, including anti-Semitism.

That’s what it did to Musk.

Therefore, it would not be a surprise if the ADL led a politically motivated boycott effort.

Musk, for example, claims the ADL wants him to ban the libs from TikTok, a popular account run by Orthodox Jew Chaya Raichik, who became famous by posting real leftists saying real things.

This is certainly plausible, considering that the ADL already has an entry for Raichik in its “Glossary of Terms.”

Now, I’m not a big fan of nut-picking, but I haven’t seen anything on her feed that could rationally be construed as anti-Semitic.

And that speaks to the problem of who gets to decide what “hate speech” means.

For Greenblatt, who pushed for the firing of Tucker Carlson but can barely muster a word of disapproval for Jew-haters like Rashida Tlaib or other elected progressives, hate speech is a finely tuned political weapon.

The ADL has for years exaggerated the threat of anti-Semitism on the right, taking offense not only to demonstrably ugly speeches but also to an endless stream of dog whistles (including criticism of left-wing mega-donor George Soros).

At the same time, the threat and normalization of anti-Jewish sentiment among leftists on college campuses, within activist movements, and in government is given superficial attention (but largely ignored).

Don’t think of it as a double standard.

Think of the ADL as an ordinary activist shop – something like the Southern Poverty Law Centery – and it all makes perfect sense.

One need only look at the organization’s educational recommendations to understand that its worldview is separate from any traditional understanding of Judaism.

It is highly doubtful that the founders of the ADL could have foreseen that their organization would endorse the idea that Jews were among the racist oppressors of American society.

Yet the ADL’s curricula and readings on race and racism are littered with identical tracts such as “How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi, a fan of a number of brazen anti-Semites, and “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo.

How can the ADL claim to fight against the defamation of the Jewish people and recommend authors who imply, or worse, that Jews represent a disproportionate power in the United States – one of the most enduring tropes of anti-Semitism?

The ADL also recommends the pseudo-historical 1619 Project and podcast “The Urgency of Intersectionality” by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a leading “critical race theory scholar” whose teachings are also inherently anti-Jewish.

I’m not saying that many, perhaps even most, American Jews disagree with the ADL’s ideological view. But many don’t.

Nothing in Judaism teaches that our unchanging appearance predetermines our social role, actions, or worth.

Why does a group that claims to fight Jewish defamation spread trendy ideological phrases?

Because it’s not what it promises.

Now the ADL, self-appointed arbiter of anti-Semitism, is certainly useful in providing lazy journalists with quotes that confirm pre-existing notions that anti-Semitism is largely a right-wing phenomenon.

And risk-averse companies could take a cue from this.

But there is no moral right to prescribe appropriate speech. Certainly not in the name of the Jews.

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Twitter: @davidharsanyi


DUSTIN JONES is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. DUSTIN JONES joined USTimeToday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with DUSTIN JONES by emailing

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