gab by the Forward

Is Gab’s leadership as antisemitic as its users?

After the Anti-Defamation League published an open letter asking the federal government to investigate the self-described “free speech” social media platform Gab — which hosted the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter — for its possible role in the Jan. 6 Capitol siege, Gab’s response letter included an unusual sign-off.

“We will never bend to their demands and we will never censor legal, 1A-protected speech that hurts the ADL’s feelings. Ever,” said Gab’s chief executive officer Andrew Torba. “Jesus is King.”

While Torba is a self-described proud Christian, Gab’s previous and subsequent letters and press releases did not contain that assertion.

“It’s ironic that, when called out for enabling extremist rhetoric, Gab’s response is to craft” a letter “containing thinly veiled antisemitism,” said the head of the ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt. “As our open letter makes clear, Gab is not moderating this extremist content, and their CEO seems to be encouraging users to upload it.”

Gab’s leadership could not be reached for comment.

Torba himself was banned from Twitter in 2016, but often uses his company’s Twitter account as a soapbox for personal and political statements. He uses the first person, and it’s obvious to followers that he is the author.

In recent days, the account has posted multiple tweets about presidential adviser Jared Kushner’s hold on President Donald Trump, a nod to an antisemitic trope about Jewish puppeteers on the world stage, and has questioned the legitimacy of antisemitism as hate speech.

“Why is the President signing ‘hate speech’ laws?” the account asked after President Donald Trump signed a bill that will elevate the status of the U.S. special envoy on antisemitism.

The main Twitter account for Gab went on an antisemitic tirade, since deleted, in August of 2018 after a Jewish political activist called for the dissolution of the website.

The account responded to the activist, Brian Krassenstein, on August 9 calling for “open borders for Israel,” a favorite refrain of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and that same hour posted a bible verse about how some Jews are from the “synagogue of Satan.”

“Dude named ‘Krassenstein’ doesn’t support free speech. Imagine my shock,” said the account.

The account also alluded on the same day to antisemitic tropes of Jewish global control and conspiracy.

“At some point you have to ask yourself: just who is pushing for the censorship?” said the account. “Once you learn who, there is no going back. You can’t unsee what has been seen. You can’t unlearn what has been learned.”

Gab has become the platform-du-jour for social media users from the far-right, who have been booted from mainstream platforms and further isolated after Parler, one site used to organize last Wednesday’s riot, went dark when its host, Amazon Web Services, declined to support it.

Authors

Molly Boigon

Molly Boigon

Molly Boigon is an investigative reporter at the Forward. Contact her at boigon@forward.com or follow her on Twitter @MollyBoigon.

Is Gab’s leadership as antisemitic as its users?

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Is Gab’s leadership as antisemitic as its users?

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