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ADL CEO: Elon Musk is a ‘great innovator’ who engages with ‘users who are espousing antisemitism and hate’

(JTA) — Days after Elon Musk threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League for billions of dollars and amplified a hashtag spread by white supremacists, the ADL’s CEO praised Musk’s business acumen but called his behavior “frustrating” and said he was spreading “age-old tropes” around blaming Jews for antisemitism.

“I’ve always tried to treat Elon and everyone at the company with respect and forthright manner and a constructive approach. I would do that again,” Greenblatt told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Wednesday. 

“The truth is that he has been, Elon Musk, a great innovator in some respects, in many respects in his business pursuits,” Greenblatt said. “That’s why it’s all the more frustrating to see him engaging online with users who are espousing antisemitism and hate.”

Greenblatt’s comments came some 36 hours after Musk fired off a stream of posts on X, the social media platform he owns and renamed from Twitter, in which he accused the ADL of trying to tank the platform by encouraging an ad boycott against it.

Amid those posts, Musk directly engaged with a white supremacist on the platform and liked a post that included the hashtag #BanTheADL, which grew popular among antisemitic users. The ADL said in a statement that neo-Nazi marchers in Florida last weekend chanted “Ban the ADL.” 

Musk also tweeted that he is “pro free speech, but against anti-Semitism of any kind” and that he would  remove the ADL from the platform only if it broke the law. 

Multiple times, Greenblatt made clear that the ADL does not see itself as right-wing or left-wing, and compared the hashtag #BanTheADL to the hashtag #DropTheADL, which represented a campaign in 2020 by progressive nonprofits to discourage partnership with the ADL. 

But as the group’s surveys have documented a rising tide of antisemitism, Greenblatt said the recent hashtag is dangerous because it could motivate attacks not just against the ADL but against Jews. 

“If you look at all the #BanTheADL messaging, here is, I think, the key takeaway: This is not about the ADL,” Greenblatt said. “Of course it is on some level, but it is really about the Jews. We are being used as a stand-in for our entire community.”

Some Jewish activists on the right and left who have been highly critical of the ADL seem to agree, and have also spoken out in recent days against users calling to #BanTheADL. 

“We signed onto the #DropTheADL letter, proudly,” posted the group Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, referring to the 2020 progressive effort. “So let’s be clear that this B@n the ADL hashtag is a Nazi campaign targeting what they see as a stand-in for Jews. It’s not disagreement. It’s not ‘anti-ADL.’ It’s antisemitic Nazi garbage, period.”

Conservative journalist Seth Mandel, who has repeatedly criticized Greenblatt, posted, in reference to a hate group, “The groypers tweeting ‘ban the ADL’ are bad people with bad intentions and bad designs.” 

Greenblatt and the ADL have had something of a roller-coaster relationship with Musk’s Twitter. In October 2022, Greenblatt praised Musk, who owns the electric car company Tesla, as “an amazing entrepreneur and extraordinary innovator” and “the Henry Ford of our time,” a comparison he has since walked back owing to Ford’s outspoken antisemitism. 

“I didn’t deliver the analogy very well,” he said Wednesday.

Greenblatt had a meeting with Musk, and about a month later, the ADL and NAACP led a call for companies to pause their advertising on Twitter to protest what they saw as his dismantling of guardrails against hate speech. At one point, according to the Forward, the ADL resumed paid advertising on Twitter. It told JTA on Wednesday that its paid ads had ceased, though its official X accounts, including Greenblatt’s, still pay a monthly fee for verification that enables certain features on the platform . 

In the intervening months, the ADL has criticized some of Musk’s actions and statements, including invective he posted against George Soros, a liberal Jewish megadonor and frequent focus of antisemitic conspiracy theories. It also acceded to his call to condemn a South African apartheid-era protest song calling for white farmers to be killed. 

Last week, Greenblatt tweeted that he had a “​​frank + productive conversation” with Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of X, about hate speech on the platform. By Friday, #BanTheADL was trending after being posted by a white supremacist and days later, Musk began his series of posts threatening litigation against the group. 

That included a post in which Musk wrote, replying to a white supremacist, “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!”

Asked whether he thought Musk was espousing antisemitism and hate, Greenblatt sighed and said Musk was “engaging with users who are blatantly and boldly doing so, and that’s very problematic. I would say that blaming the Jews or ADL for antisemitism also kind of evokes the age-old tropes that we work so hard to fight every single day.”

Greenblatt also stood by the value of organizing ad boycotts against social media platforms, a tactic the group and other civil rights organizations used against Facebook in 2020. He said the ADL would address whatever lawsuit comes, if one does, and added that Musk’s claims were spurious. 

“Blaming the Jews is a tried-and-true tactic throughout the ages,” he said. “Suggesting that the ADL, a nonprofit organization, can somehow engineer things and somehow we have more sway than the wealthiest man in the world running one of the most powerful media platforms on the planet, that has an extraordinary degree of resources at its disposal … I don’t believe it.”

With additional reporting by Asaf Shalev.

The post ADL CEO: Elon Musk is a ‘great innovator’ who engages with ‘users who are espousing antisemitism and hate’ appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Treasure Trove: A 1905 postcard from Basel recalls the many Zionist groups and supporters in Toronto

“Greetings from the Seventh Zionist Congress to our friends in Toronto” reads the top message on this postcard sent from the 1905 Congress in Basel, the first held after the death of Theodor Herzl. The image was painted by Carl Josef Pollack and depicts Herzl standing among his fellow Jews awaiting entrance to the Land of […]

The post Treasure Trove: A 1905 postcard from Basel recalls the many Zionist groups and supporters in Toronto appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘Arteries of Capitalism’: Anti-Zionist Groups Planning Major ‘Blockade’ of Ports Around the World

Pro-Hamas demonstrators marching in Munich, Germany. Photo: Reuters/Alexander Pohl

Far-left anti-Israel activists are launching a mass demonstration to block the “arteries of capitalism” on Monday by staging a blockade of commercial shipping ports across the world in protest of Western support for the Jewish state.

“We will identify and blockade major choke points in the economy, focusing on points of production and circulation with the aim of causing the most economic impact,” A15, the group planning the action, announced in a statement. “There is a sense in the streets in this recent and unprecedented movement for Palestine that escalation has become necessary: there is a need to shift from symbolic actions to those that cause pain to the economy.”

A15 is calling on members in cities such as New York, Dublin, Sydney, Ho Chi Minh, Genoa, London, and others to participate in the act, which could endanger billions of dollars in shipping. The group is also sharing information about police arrest, bail, and other legal information, possibly suggesting that its members are prepared to behave unlawfully.

“As Yemen is bombed to secure global trade and billions of dollars are sent to the Zionist war machine, we must recognize that the global economy is complicit in genocide and together we will coordinate to disrupt and blockage economic logistical hubs and the flow of capital,” the group continued.

Another anti-Zionist group, which goes by “Within Our Lifetime,” has vowed to join the demonstration and will participate by amassing on Wall Street in an attempt to bring trading on the New York Stock Exchange to a halt. Nerdeen Kiswani, a former City University of New York student who once threatened to set a person’s sweater on fire while he was wearing it, will lead the effort.

Police in Victoria, Australia are on high alert, according to a report this weel by The Sydney Morning Herald. On Monday, the city will activate its State Police Operations Center, an action which is reserved for emergencies and will require diverting resources from other cities in the state. One likely target of the group, the Port of Melbourne, processes over 8,000 containers per day and adds $11 billion to national gross domestic product (GDP).

Anti-Zionist protesters have protested at the Port of Melbourne before. In January, they attempted to prevent the docking container ship at Webb Dock because its owner, ZIM shipping firm, is an Israeli company.

The New York City area has been the site of similar demonstrations. In 2021, a group called “Block the Boat” protested the unloading of a container ship owned by ZIM at the Port of New York/New Jersey, two days after another Israeli ship was reportedly blocked from unloading in Oakland.

Since the Hamas terror group’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, attempted disruptions of shipping have occurred in many major American cities. Most recently, a group amassed at San Francisco’s Piers 30/32 to condemn the leaving of USNS Harvey Milk, believing that it was en route to the Middle East.

US Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) addressed the protesters, according to a local CBS affiliate, telling them that President Joe Biden agrees with their message.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post ‘Arteries of Capitalism’: Anti-Zionist Groups Planning Major ‘Blockade’ of Ports Around the World first appeared on

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Biden Pressure on Israel Partly Due to Concerns Over 2024 Election, Says Israeli Lawmaker, Former UN Ambassador

US President Joe Biden, left, pauses during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, to discuss the war between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct. 18, 2023. Photo: Miriam Alster/Pool via REUTERS

Israeli politician and former Ambassador Danny Danon attributed US President Joe Biden’s increasingly critical posture toward Israel’s war on the Hamas terrorist group to domestic political concerns and the upcoming presidential election in a wide-ranging interview with The Algemeiner.

Danon, a current member of the Israeli parliament for the Likud party and former ambassador to the United Nations, spoke with The Algemeiner to discuss the ongoing war against the Hamas , potential escalation in northern Israel with the Hezbollah terrorist organization, and the evolving politics of the US-Israel relationship.

Asked about Biden’s pressure on Israel not to enter Rafah — the last Hamas stronghold in Gaza — and to agree to a ceasefire, Danon said, “You know, a ceasefire without us bringing the hostages back and defeating Hamas, it means that Israel will lose this war.”

“I don’t think that President Biden and other allies of Israel are actually supporting the stand of Israel losing the war,” he continued, arguing that “they have other interests in moving forward because of the election in the US and international pressure, but we have a different timeline.”

When asked to clarify if he believed the upcoming presidential election in the US was fueling Biden’s current policy toward Israel — especially in the form of public and private pressure — Danon reiterated that he believes “it’s a combination of the election and also international pressure.”

In several US states, activists have been campaigning for voters not to support Biden in the Democratic primary due to his overall support for Israel. In Michigan, for example, a key battleground state and home to America’s largest Arab population, a campaign to vote “uncommitted” during the state’s primary rather than for Biden gained significant support. Some prominent observers have suggested that the Biden administration’s changing position on Israel and the war in Gaza may be influenced by domestic political fears of losing electoral support from anti-Israel voters.

Meanwhile, amid escalating tensions on Israel’s northern front with Hezbollah, which wields significant political and military influence across Lebanon, Danon made it clear that Israel would remove the threat of Hezbollah on its border one way or another.

Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, “tens of thousands of Israelis have been evacuated from the northern communities” due to the rockets launched by Hezbollah on a nearly daily basis, he explained. In total, more than 2,000 rockets, along with many more anti-tank guided missiles and drones, have been launched into Israeli territory since the war began.

“They … have to be able to go back to their homes. In order for them to go back, we … have to push Hezbollah away from the border,” he said. “So that’s the end game.”

How that may happen in practice remains uncertain: “One option is to have negotiations and to prevent the conflict,” he said. “And the second option is to have a limited conflict. And the third option is to have a full war with Hezbollah.”

Regardless, he added, in the end Hezbollah “will not be on the fence and they will not threaten our communities.”

The interview took place prior to last week’s airstrike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus, Syria last week that Iranian officials have attributed to Israel.

the Israeli strike in Syria that killed two commanders in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) — putting Israel on high alert for the prospect of a direct Iranian attack on Israeli territory. The strike killed seven members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), a US-designated terrorist organization, including two senior commanders.

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement in the incident. However, Israel has been bracing for a retaliatory strike amid a flurry of public threats from Iran to attack Israel.

Another important issue that has captured the attention of the citizens of Israel and the entire Jewish world is the continued captivity of more than 130 people in Gaza who Hamas terrorists kidnapped during their Oct. 7 rampage. Liberated captives testified to surviving sexual assault, torture, and starvation.

“When you deal with the [sic] irrational enemy like Hamas, it’s very challenging [to negotiate a deal],” Danon said. “I think we should apply more force, more military force, and that will encourage Hamas to negotiate another agreement that will release more hostages.”

Some of the more than 250 hostages seized on Oct. 7 were released as part of a temporary Israel-Hamas truce in November.

Pushed on why there has not been another agreement since then, he explained, “The challenges that we are facing are not easy. Both the one that requires the defeat of Hamas, you know, we pay a very heavy toll every day, more and more soldiers are paying the price of their lives in order to achieve this goal.”

“And also the hostages,” he added. “It’s very hard for them, the conditions are unbearable, and we are aware of the ongoing atrocities. So it is hard, but I think it’s a challenge for us to be determined. And I think at the end of the day, despite the difficulty, we are determined to win this war, and we will win this war.”

Some Israelis have criticized the government for prioritizing military victory and politics over the return of the hostages. One family member of a hostage said at a rally recently that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “concern for coalition stability outweighs his clear duty to bring our loved ones home … We were told to sit still, we were told to travel the world, but after six months, the hostages are still in Gaza! This is a complete and deliberate failure!”

Nevertheless, Danon is singularly focused on winning the war against Hamas and bringing home the hostages. 

“I think the enemy underestimated the strength of the people of Israel, and they will realize that we are a strong nation and that’s why we will defeat them,” Danon concluded, underscoring the way in which this war has, in many ways, brought Israelis together in an unprecedented way.

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