Jewish Leaders on Right and Left Call on Tech Companies to Boycott Musk Over X/Twitter Antisemitism
A cross section of 100 Jewish leaders and influencers drawn from both the political left and right have published an open letter calling for an end to antisemitism on Twitter, the social media platform recently rebranded as “X” following its takeover last year by the controversial billionaire Elon Musk.
Since Musk’s purchase of the platform, it has “become a breeding ground for some of the most dangerous antisemitic discourse in America,” the letter stated. “It has made fringe figures mainstream, spread conspiracy theories that endanger Jews, reinstated neo-Nazis and other antisemites, and destroyed the content moderation that once kept things like Holocaust denial and hate speech minimized.”
It added: “Just as bad, Musk has himself engaged in antisemitism and promoted other antisemites to his more than 155 million followers.” The letter expressed alarm at Musk’s “targeting” of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a leading Jewish civil rights organization in the US, pointing out that this position had been adopted “not because of our views of the organization (we represent a wide range of views, including some who fundamentally oppose the ADL as well as staunch supporters), but because of the way he has used the organization as a very clear stand in for an antisemitic representation of Jewish power.”
A list of some of the more “egregious” postings by Musk highlighted his promotion of a hashtag, #BantheADL, coined by neo-Nazis and white supremacists and his unsubstantiated claim that “65 percent of Jewish college students support censorship.”
The letter ended with a call on those tech companies working with Musk to end their partnerships.
“Partnering with a man who spreads neo-Nazi ideology should be the exact opposite of what they stand for,” it stated. “In particular, we call on: 1. Disney, Apple, Amazon, and other large advertisers to stop funding X through their ad spend, 2. Apple and Google to remove X from their respective app stores, per their own rules.”
The letter added that there was little to be gained from appealing to Musk’s better nature, as the ADL attempted to do. “Outside pressure that hits him where it hurts is the only effective measure,” it stated. “Not doing so will mean the further spread of extremism and antisemitism.”
Interest in the South African-born Musk’s background has mushroomed amid the controversy. Last week, The Atlantic published an article exposing Musk’s Canadian-born grandfather Joshua Haldeman, who immigrated to South Africa in the early years of its postwar apartheid regime, which forcibly segregated the disenfranchised Black majority from the ruling white minority.
The article described Haldeman as “a radical conspiracy theorist who expressed racist, antisemitic, and antidemocratic views repeatedly, and over the course of decades,” and who believed that “apartheid South Africa was destined to lead ‘White Christian Civilization’ in its fight against the ‘International Conspiracy'” of Jewish bankers and the “‘hordes of Colored people’ they controlled.”