Seeking to generate discussion around the society’s perception and Hollywood’s portrayal of Jewish individuals in the media, the alarmist Anti-Defamation League has teamed up with media watchdog outlet Common Sense Media to monitor the American entertainment industry for any signs of anti-Semitism.
Per an official announcement released by the ADL on September 12th, this partnership will see the two entities work to “improve representations of Jews in movies and television while battling stereotypes and antisemitic tropes” by directly engaging with “industry leaders to improve societal perceptions of Jewish people and understanding of antisemitism.”
“It’s not uncommon to see Jews in movies and television, but it is most common to see Jews boxed into stereotypes and tropes that create a narrow – and often negative – impression of the Jewish people,” declared ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt. “We know that many Americans only learn about Jews and Judaism through the media, and many say they have encountered antisemitic comments or tropes from movies, TV and pop culture. At a time of rising antisemitism, we must take a hard look at how Jews are portrayed on screen and in culture more broadly.”
Echoing Greenblatt’s sentiments, Media Rights Capital Co-Founder and CEO Modi Wiczyk declared in his own statement, “The entertainment industry was once known as a safe harbor for Jews. That is no longer true.”
“There’s been an alarming rise in antisemitism within our professional ranks, industry organizations and in our art form,” asserted Wiczyk. “There’s never been a more pressing need for ADL’s Media & Entertainment Institute to step into this void and to engage directly with industry leaders on these issues. I stand ready to support them in any way I can.”
This team-up comes in light of a study published by the ADL earlier this year which revealed that, according to their long-term research, recent years have seen a rise in the number of Americans who believe in six or more anti-Jewish tropes and stereotypes such as “Jews stick together more than other Americans”, “Jews have too much power in the business world,” and “Jews have a lot of irritating faults.”
“Over three-quarters of Americans (85 percent) believe at least one anti-Jewish trope, as opposed to 61 percent found in 2019,” summarized the organization, noting a 20% increase in these ways of thinking compared to just 11% in 2019.
Speaking to Variety about these results, Greenblatt claimed that this rise in anti-semitic attitudes was fueled by both harsh economic conditions, pandemic-related frustrations, and social media’s inability to properly moderate their platforms.
“Extremists feel emboldened, whether it’s the former president welcoming white supremacists into the White House or tech CEOs engaging with antisemites and expanding their reach astronomically,” said the CEO. “Or the discourse that has become standard on college campuses that sees Israel and Jews as opposers. There are people in the halls of Congress and political extremists in elected office at all these visible stations in society.”
“There are people in the halls of Congress and political extremists in elected office at all these visible stations in society,” he added, “Extremists feel emboldened.”
Notably, this team-up comes amidst the ADL’s ongoing row with X CEO Elon Musk, who recently threatened to sue the organization over their attempts to paint both him and his social media platform as anti-semitic and actively encouraging of hate speech.
“To be super clear, I’m pro free speech, but against anti-Semitism of any kind,” wrote Musk last week, who later explained that his initial statement was made in response to the fact that “Since the acquisition, the [Anti-Defamation League] has been trying to kill this platform by falsely accusing it & me of being anti-Semitic.”
In a follow-up post, the magnate then claimed, “Our US advertising revenue is still down 60%, primarily due to pressure on advertisers by [Anti-Defamation League] (that’s what advertisers tell us), so they almost succeeded in killing X/Twitter!”
Asked by an X user whether he might take legal action against the ADL, Musk explained, “If this continues, we will have no choice but to file a defamation suit against, ironically, the ‘Anti-Defamation’ League.”
“If they lose the defamation suit, we will insist that they drop the the ‘anti’ part of their name, since obviously…” he mocked.
Later the same day, Musk proceeded to threaten the ADL, writing, “To clear our platform’s name on the matter of anti-Semitism, it looks like we have no choice but to file a defamation lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League…oh the irony!”
Bringing the receipts to back up his claims, Musk then shared a screenshot of a post made by the ADL shortly after he acquired X wherein they called on “advertisers to pause Twitter spending” because they were concerned about “antisemitism and hate on the platform.”
“Jonathan at ADL kicked off a massive Twitter boycott campaign less than a week after the acquisition closed,” Musk wrote, directly calling out the ADL CEO. “Literally nothing had changed about the site. Our US revenue is still 60% down from that campaign, but slowly improving.