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No, Elon Musk Isn’t Anti-Semitic Because He Threatened a Lawsuit Against the Anti-Defamation League

No, Elon Musk Isn’t Anti-Semitic Because He Threatened a Lawsuit Against the Anti-Defamation League

Musk claimed the ADL pressured advertisers away from X/Twitter, causing millions lost in revenue.

I see everyone calling Elon Musk an anti-Semite because he threatened to file a defamation lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Musk claimed the ADL tried to end X/Twitter by accusing him of being anti-Semitic along with the platform, thus bringing down revenue from advertisers.

It seems the ADL has gone downhill since Jonathan Greenblatt took over eight years ago: Anti-Defamation League Blasted for Becoming Just Another Tool for the Left

Last November, Liel Leibovitz explained in Tablet Magazine why it’s time to eliminate the ADL. He brought up Kyrie Irving and Greenblatt living up to a horrific Jewish stereotype:

Kyrie Irving, a kooky basketball player who believes that the Earth is flat, that JFK was shot by bankers, that the COVID vaccines were secretly a plot to connect all Black people to a supercomputer, and that Jews worship Satan and launched the slave trade?

Or Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, who accepted $500,000 from Irving last week without even meeting or even talking to the all-star—and who was then forced to give back the donation when Irving blatantly refused to apologize?

Let’s think about it for a minute. One of these guys is a weirdo with dumb opinions he may or may not actually believe. The other is running a soulless racket which just made it clear that you can say whatever you want about the Jews and buy your indulgences at a discount price.

The last paragraph made those disgusting Nazi posters used to turn people against the Jewish population pop into my head. So gross.

It doesn’t take away from the fact that Leibovitz is correct in his post.

Let’s go back to Musk and free speech. It bothered me to see Christian Britschgi at Reason write that Musk taking action against the ADL isn’t something a free-speech absolutist would do.

You can still be a free speech absolutist and file defamation lawsuits. Defamation, which could be libel (written statements) or slander (spoken statements), is not allowed.

However, it is hard to win a defamation lawsuit. Think about it: if it were easy, then people and companies would sue everyone. It reminds me of the South Park episode “Sexual Harassment Panda.” Everybody sues everybody for sexual harassment! Everyone gets mad at “Petey the Sexual Harassment Panda!” At the end of the episode, Petey comes back from the Island of Misfit Mascots as “Petey the Don’t Sue People Panda.”

Anyway, the burden of proof lies solely on the plaintiff. I’m guessing Musk would sue ADL on behalf of X/Twitter, making it a business defamation claim.

The burden of proof lies solely on X/Twitter. The company must prove all of these points:

  • 1. False Statement of Fact About the Plaintiff
  • 2. Publication
  • 3. Fault
  • 4. Lack of Privilege
  • 5. Actual Damage to Economic Interests

The statement must contain facts, be about the plaintiff, and have to be 100% false.

The publication point means the alleged defamation must have happened in the “public in some form, whether the defendant told it to another person, posted it online, or had it published in the local newspaper.”

“Actual malice” will likely come into play under fault. X/Twitter would have to “prove that the defendant either knew that a statement was false or acted recklessly about it.” In other words, INTENT.

The “lack of privilege” is not about the privilege the leftists always scream about. The ADL can claim privilege if its alleged statements are true and cannot be defamatory. X/Twitter has to prove no such privilege exists.

Finally, X/Twitter must show that the ADL’s alleged defamation statements caused the company to lose money. The first four points are pretty easy to prove but the last one? Not easy at all.

Seeing the data dump Musk mentioned in his tweet about the lost revenue will be interesting.


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The number of simple-minded people in our electorate is huge and disappointing.

Thanks for the tip. Next time I want to prove I’m not antisemitic I will threaten to sue the ADL.

thalesofmiletus | September 5, 2023 at 11:42 am

Gee, I’m no lawyer, but it sounds like Tortious interference.

    Mary Chastain in reply to thalesofmiletus. | September 5, 2023 at 12:09 pm

    Excellent point. I would have written about that if that were the route Musk said he would choose. I’m wondering if he chose defamation because it’s easier to prove, unlike Tortious interference? I mean, both are hard to prove but if I remember correctly, Tortious interference is slightly more difficult. Either way, I doubt Musk will prevail.

      thalesofmiletus in reply to Mary Chastain. | September 6, 2023 at 9:13 am

      If the ADL sent one of their infamous mafia-style threatening letters to Twitter’s advertisers (“Nice business you have here — would be a shame if it came to be associated with Anti-Semitism”), wouldn’t that meet the standard? Of course, Musk would have to already know if such a thing was received.

Daniel Greenfield has a good essay on this topic at FrontPageMag. He fairly asks why Musk is singling out the ADL, when myriad other organizations are also responsible for Twitter/X losing advertising business.

Also, Musk’s “liking” of a tweet put out by a crackpot, Jew-hating bigot named Keith Woods, was a mistake that he should concede.

    Juris Doctor in reply to guyjones. | September 5, 2023 at 11:59 am

    “Other people are doing it too” is not a defense.

    healthguyfsu in reply to guyjones. | September 5, 2023 at 1:05 pm

    Probably because he has witnesses willing to be deposed that will testify to the defamation under oath.

    If more witnesses come forward for the same for other companies, they can be sued as well.

      Milhouse in reply to healthguyfsu. | September 6, 2023 at 1:41 am

      Except that it isn’t defamation. Tortious interference very likely, but not defamation. They’re just saying “X is antisemitic, don’t advertise with them’. That’s a very wrong opinion, but it’s not a factual allegation.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to guyjones. | September 5, 2023 at 1:10 pm

    Maybe because Musk has good reason to finger them!!

    Perhap’s because you sue the one you can prove and / or the one with deep pockets? And perhaps in the discovery of ADL, what the others have done will come to light?

    I am no lawyer – but a QA auditor who specialized in manufacturing system / process type audits. Basically, you dive in where there’s an obvious problem and tug at that loose end until satisfied the problem was an isolated event, or unravel the entire ball of yarn to expose a broken system and all it’s contributing subsystems. ‘Follow your nose’ or gut is the order of the day. Only logical Musk should target the big stink and go from there.

    Milhouse in reply to guyjones. | September 6, 2023 at 1:37 am

    Musk says his advertisers are telling him it was the ADL that was doing the bulk of the damage, not anyone else.

    jdfreivald in reply to guyjones. | September 9, 2023 at 9:09 am

    Is the tweet he liked antisemitic, or just (allegedly*) its author? Because if it’s just the author, but the tweet is a good one, then to hell with everyone blaming him for that or expecting him to apologize.

    * “Allegedly” because I don’t know Woods and don’t believe anyone’s characterization of anyone else anymore.

I refuse to give that article a second of my time because Musk did NOT blame Jews for the lost revenue. Blaming the ADL isn’t blaming the Jews. We don’t have the data. For all we know, the data shows that ADL’s pressure costs X/Twitter more money than other organizations.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Mary Chastain. | September 5, 2023 at 1:09 pm

    I agree with your sentiment and the link is indeed a bogus.

    However, I want to thank you for putting this story out clearly. This is an important moment in our nation’s history if it can curb the reckless spewing from the left of vomitus hyperbolic vitriol borne of ideological fantasy. It is time for this self-serving political cudgel to be disarmed.

Why does anybody care what the ADL says? They’ve been garbage my entire life.

    JackinSilverSpring in reply to Dathurtz. | September 5, 2023 at 1:15 pm

    I agree. When I was a child many, many decades ago, I thought the ADL was a defender of Jews. After all, that’s what the name seemed to imply. As I matured into an adult, it became increasingly apparent to me that the ADL had little to do with Jews and a lot to with DemoncRats. The correct reading of ADL should be All DemoncRats League.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Dathurtz. | September 5, 2023 at 5:14 pm

    Some people care enough to give them a huge war chest of money. It’s time to take them down a peg.

    CommoChief in reply to Dathurtz. | September 5, 2023 at 7:42 pm

    B/C they still benefit from the prestige/reputation earned by prior generations. As such they are still considered to be the authoritative voice of what is antisemitism. It doesn’t help that the current generation of lapdog legacy media and PR/Ad execs don’t do any independent analysis. So this organization, despite coasting on the fumes of prior generations, is still taken seriously. Very similar to the ACLU in these respects. Both organizations put out their ‘naughty lists’ and the media/Advertising executives who make decisions still take their word for it.

One glaring obstacle to the success of Musk’s lawsuit: is calling somebody “antisemitic” a statement of fact? I’m fairly certain that courts have found similar slurs, such as “racist” or “homophobic” to be expressions of opinion and thus protected by the First Amendment.

    Not to forget that those decisions are bogus, as something like “racist” implies actions taken, not just “Oh, bad thoughts.”

      Milhouse in reply to GWB. | September 6, 2023 at 1:45 am

      No, it does not imply any specific actions taken. Which is why, as Flatworm says, it’s not actionable.

    Stuytown in reply to Flatworm. | September 5, 2023 at 2:53 pm

    As much as I’d like Musk to put an end to the ADL, I think he has an uphill battle.

    henrybowman in reply to Flatworm. | September 6, 2023 at 2:07 am

    That’s why tortious interference would have the better choice. Then you’re not suing over the FACT/OPINION stated, you’re suing over the consequences of them stating it, regardless of which it was.

Not exactly on point. But close enough.

Jonathon Tobin: “In a tweet that was tapped out only seconds after the White House ceremony announcing the pick ended, Greenblatt denounced Kavanaugh as lacking the “independence and fair treatment for all that is necessary to merit a seat on the nation’s highest court.” The tweet, which teased a press release ready to fire the moment Trump spoke that obliquely asked the Senate to reject the nomination, made it clear that there would be no questions or deliberative process.”

The Gentle Grizzly | September 5, 2023 at 4:10 pm

Speaking of the ADL:

The ADL does such a good job of playing into the hands of Jew-haters claiming “Jews control everything”.

    Good Lord. The game ‘Call of Duty’ lets boys pretend to be soldiers using machine guns and grenades and land mines, etc to blow other people to smithereens. So the game is cool, but if one of them gets excited and says something ‘toxic’ that is the problem? SMH

      CommoChief in reply to Paul. | September 5, 2023 at 7:48 pm

      Most players of these games are now adults who have come of age with them. Lots of adults of Gen X and younger spend a lot of recreational time with these games.

I don’t believe Musk has a defamation case against the ADL. Everything they have said about him is wrong, but it’s all opinion and thus not defamation.

Calling someone an antisemite is not defamation, because it’s not a factual allegation. It’s just an opinion, and everyone has the absolute right to express whatever stupid and wrong opinion they like.

Oberlin College’s mistake was that they didn’t stop at merely accusing Gibson’s of racism, but made specific factual allegations, things that objectively and verifiably either happened or didn’t, without bothering to check first whether they were true. They turned out not to be, and now Oberlin is out $36M plus its costs. I have not yet seen anything the ADL has written about Musk or X that is at all similar to that. It’s all “Musk is a poopyhead”.

The ADL thinks that anti Semitism is a right wing phenomenon and has done zero to fight anti Semitism in the woke world as well as exaggerated the importance of the Establishment Clause at the expense of the Free Exercise Clause for decades.

If ADL was serious about fighting anti Semitism it would be fighting the garbage in the NYT and Soros’s predications

michaelharris99 | September 8, 2023 at 8:18 am

I grew up in a typical Jewish Democratic family. I remember the horrors of McCarthyism. The Holocaust was enemy No 1 for what it did to our people and our family. My mother was a proud member of B’Nai Brith. She is turning over in her grave. I have not looked at the list of other Jewish organizations but I suspect they are mostly marginal groups funded by the left. The ADL is mainstream and has been driven off the cliff by a former Obama functionary. I wonder about Greenblatt’s continuing communications with President Obama. Thank you Elon. Yes there are fringe haters supporting him. But are Rep Omar not fringe haters?