“Long before Elon Musk,” writes Shra Avi-Yonah in The Washington Post, “Henry Ford went to war with Jewish groups:”
An auto tycoon, one of America’s most prominent businessmen, stood accused of enabling antisemitism on a platform he owned, allowing hate speech against Jews to spread to new audiences. The businessman was Henry Ford; the platform was his newspaper, the Dearborn Independent.
Just like Ford, you see, auto tycoon and prominent businessman Musk has also been “accused” of “enabling” anti-Semitism.
“Enabling” is a favorite of the contemporary leftist, who makes little distinction between neutral principles of free expression and the morality of the opinions being expressed. Consequently, anyone who believes that bad people should be able to say bad things can be accused of being an “enabler.”
It is true that Musk permits most users, some of them abhorrent, to have their say. You might think this is a dangerous way to conduct business. But a newspaper doesn’t profess to be an open “platform.” Ford bought the local Dearborn Independent explicitly to publish and actively spread conspiracy theories and pseudoscientific racialist ideas about Jews. Ford was not an enabler.
Indeed, Ford wasn’t merely “accused” of hating Jews, as the Post contends in its rickety analogy; he openly declared himself a hater, penning scores of anti-Semitic screeds under his byline. Hitler didn’t call the carmaker his “inspiration” in Mein Kampf because the Dearborn Independent “enabled” rando letter writers to say mean things about Jews. There is a big difference.
Ford went to “war” against the Jews, whom he wanted to be deported from the United States and likely dead. Musk, alternatively, had a public squabble with a self-professed “Jewish organization.”
The ADL allegedly pressured X to limit open discourse and threatened Musk’s business by organizing a boycott. You are free to agree with the ADL’s efforts, but Musk’s reaction was aimed at an organization, not at Jews.
And, as I’ve written, the ADL, which the Post describes as being formed “more than a century ago to defend Jewish people from antisemitic defamation,” isn’t a “Jewish” organization in any genuine ethnic or theological sense. It is a partisan left-wing advocacy shop that is helmed by Jews and spends most of its efforts pushing intersectionality, slandering Republicans over dog whistles (most of them imagined), and attempting to deplatform voices it doesn’t like — including, for instance, Chaya Raichik, an orthodox Jew who circulates videos of insane leftists.
The ADL is free to engage in that behavior, but it is not a proxy or envoy of the Jewish people.
Then again, even if Elon Musk was a raging anti-Semite — it’s not like we can bore into his soul — there is still a vital difference.
X also gives a chance for any Jewish organization that chooses to participate, including the ADL, so that it can offer ideas, rebuttals, and reporting. It is only because of X that The New York Times’ recent fake story about the destruction of Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza was so quickly debunked. In years past, the Times and others would spread disinformation about Israel (or cover up the Holocaust), and it would take tremendous effort to undo some of the damage.
Even today, I noticed that the Washington Post was running headlines like “Gaza death toll passes 10,000, health officials say,” even though the fictional casualty numbers are spread by the terrorist organization Hamas. The fact-checker at the paper contends that Hamas is a pretty reliable source. Then again, this is the same paper that employs Karen Attiah — who spreads conspiracy theories, blood libels, pro-Hamas tweets, and ignorant agitprop — and Hamas apologist and pro-Islamic state propagandist Ishaan Tharoor in positions of influence.
Considering the biggest risk to Jewish life these days is “anti-Zionists” and their allies, it would be fair to say that the Post has a lot more in common with the Dearborn Independent than any social media platform.