Jewish leaders are reminding us that the “Great Replacement” theory has a long and deadly history.
More than 150 Jewish leaders have signed a renewed call for companies to cease advertising on the Elon Musk-owned X-formerly-Twitter, warning that Musk is now openly supporting antisemitic rhetoric they say is specifically linked to violent extremism.
“Elon Musk is spreading the kind of antisemitism that leads to massacres,” reads the decree, which was signed by 164 “rabbis, leaders of Jewish organizations, artists, activists, and academics.” “And advertisers are funding the platform that allows him to spread his ideology to hundreds of millions [of] people.”
The re-upped appeal from the Jewish community follows a disturbing incident in which Musk outright called a deeply antisemitic tweet espousing the ridiculously bogus “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory the “actual truth.” And by funding X — the platform that Musk doesn’t only own, but is using to spread his fringe rhetoric — the leaders say advertisers including Apple, Google, and Disney are complicit, too.
Indeed, when you look at the history of this hare-brained ideology and its connection with violent white supremacy, the pattern is as clear as it is troubling. In 2017, when white supremacists marched on Charlottesville with their hands in Nazi salutes, they shouted “Jews will not replace us.” The next year, in 2018, a shooter motivated by the conspiracy killed 11 people at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. Shortly thereafter, in 2019, the theory was linked to yet another shooter who murdered a worshipper and injured three others at a California synagogue.
The theory doesn’t just target Jewish people, either. The popular alt-right conspiracy, which is often embedded into right-wing anti-immigration platforms, is used by extremists to justify anti-Black, anti-Latino, and anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence as well. Last year, in Buffalo, New York, the gunman who killed 13 people at a supermarket in a famously Black neighborhood espoused the Great Replacement in his manifesto; in 2019, the shooter who perpetrated a deadly attack on a Muslim mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand called upon the theory in his own writing.
Make no mistake: the claim that Musk is supporting deadly ideology is no exaggeration. It’s a throughline in white supremacist violence — and now, on a massive social media stage that he now owns, the world’s richest man is embracing that blood-soaked theory in broad daylight.
Musk did try to save some face, claiming without evidence that he was referring only to what perceives as the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) — the antisemitism-battling organization that Musk has repeatedly blamed for X’s dropping advertisers — repeated “attacks on the majority of the West.” (If you’re thinking “that doesn’t make any sense, Elon” you’re correct: it doesn’t.)
“This does not extend to all Jewish communities,” Musk, in a voice that we can only imagine was heavily muffled by the very large antisemitic foot in his mouth, continued in the cursed X thread, “but it is also not just limited to ADL.”
Despite his backtracking, though, it seems that at least some damage has already been done. As Axios reports, following a report revealing that its ads had been placed next to pro-Nazi posts, IBM on Thursday announced that it would pull its advertisements off of the platform.