The Anti-Defamation League has been stretching the truth about its campaign against Jewish conservative writer Seth Mandel. The New York Post op-ed writer was apparently the target of a coordinated cyber campaign organized by the ADL, a reality that the leftist organization denied.
According to an investigation by Tablet Magazine, “ADL Insiders” encouraged “ADL staff and supporters” to bombard Mandel’s twitter account with a hailstorm of pre-scripted tweets designed to de-legitimize the Jewish writer. Mandel shared the findings of the investigation himself:
Mandel apparently made the ADL’s blacklist after he blasted the organization for exploiting the memory of the Holocaust to score petty political points. Directly calling out Jonathan Greenbelt, the head of the ADL, Mandel tweeted a post in mid-April that described the leftist advocacy group’s aggressive messaging against White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer as “unhinged.”
Tablet’s Paul Berger reports:
Mandel called Greenblatt out in mid-April on Twitter for sending a public letter to Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, offering to educate Spicer and his colleagues about the Holocaust after Spicer said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was worse than Hitler because Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons. Mandel told me that Spicer “got deservedly slapped around for” comments that were “indefensible and ahistorical.” But he said that Spicer apologized and no one truly believes that he is a Holocaust denier. The ADL letter, sent after Spicer’s apology, “was the ADL basically signaling to the public that the organization was treating Spicer’s comment as borderline Holocaust denial, and that opens a real can of worms for people,” Mandel said.
The next day, ADL staffers and supporters flooded Mandel with similarly worded tweets, many of which included the same typo: “Not sure how Holocaust education is spitting on our ancestor’s graves. Stop spreading #FakeNews.”
For an organization that has made fighting online harassment a central part of its mission, the optics of what Mandel perceived as a “coordinated campaign” were terrible. ADL spokesman Gutnick denied the tweet storm was a “coordinated campaign.” In an email to Tablet, he said that the tweets were the result of “a staffer who was tired of Mandel’s repeated attacks against our CEO, who took it upon himself to encourage a group of employees and supporters to respond."
“Once we learned of this, we asked the individuals involved to stand down,” Gutnick added.
But that wasn’t the whole story.
Tablet has obtained two messages to ADL staff and supporters in an official ADL messaging system called ADL Insiders. The first message instructs followers to tweet at Mandel and gives them two messages they can cut and paste into their Twitter accounts, including the tweet with the typo. The second alert instructs followers not to “engage further with Seth Mandel.”
Based on the timing of the first tweets directed at Mandel and the timestamp on the order to stop, it took the ADL three hours to halt the campaign.
Downplaying the findings, Greenblatt’s press aide Todd Gutnick told Berger that “ADL Insiders” is part of “a new employee-advocacy platform that we are beta-testing and still working out the kinks!” Gutnick added that the program was being run by a staffer without permission.
Conservative Twitter and those who see the sick irony in ADL’s campaign against Mandel have come to the Jewish writer’s defense, blasting the pseudo-Jewish organization’s politicized cyber campaign:
Bit behind on political twitter today but apparently the ADL is targeting @SethAMandel? That's nuts. Dude is the last guy to deserve that.— Kyle Foley (@KFoleyFL) May 8, 2017