On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) announced that it would team up with PayPal and law enforcement to “fight extremism and hate through the financial industry and across at-risk communities.” While it makes sense for PayPal to monitor financial activity that may support lawbreaking and violence, ADL has a leftist bent and a history of double standards on anti-Semitism. This raises serious concerns that PayPal’s attempts to combat “hate” may target conservatives.
“PayPal and ADL have launched a research effort to address the urgent need to understand how extremist and hate movements throughout the U.S. are attempting to leverage financial platforms to fund criminal activity. The intelligence gathered through this research initiative will be shared broadly across the financial industry and with policymakers and law enforcement,” the ADL press release explained.
PayPal will team up with ADL’s Center on Extremism and will “focus on further uncovering and disrupting the financial pipelines that support extremist and hate movements. In addition to extremist and anti-government organizations, the initiative will focus on actors and networks spreading and profiting from all forms of hate and bigotry against any community.”
“All of us, including in the private sector, have a critical role to play in fighting the spread of extremism and hate,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. “We have a unique opportunity to further understand how hate spreads and develop key insights that will inform the efforts of the financial industry, law enforcement, and our communities in mitigating extremist threats.”
PayPal and ADL teamed up with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) — which supports sanctuary cities — and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., who spent years building a case against the Trump Organization.
“I applaud PayPal and the ADL for joining forces to combat hate and extremist movements who seek to utilize financial platforms to bankroll their criminal activities and profit from the spread of racism and bigotry,” Vance said in the statement. “My office stands ready to assist financial institutions and businesses of all kinds in this urgent fight to stop hate and protect members of historically marginalized communities.”
This campaign — aiming to cut off funding from “hate” in the name of preventing terrorism — seems rather reminiscent of the scandal-plagued Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has teamed up with ADL in the past. The SPLC smears mainstream conservative and Christian organizations as “hate groups,” putting them on a “hate map” with the Ku Klux Klan. Former employees have described the “hate map” as a con to bilk donors by exaggerating hate. An attempted terrorist opened fire at the Family Research Council (FRC) headquarters in Washington, D.C., attempting to kill everyone in the building and smear a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich into the faces of his victims. He told the FBI he used the SPLC’s “hate map” to target FRC.
The SPLC has long pressured the government, banks, and the charitable funding industry to blacklist organizations it brands “hate groups” in the name of fighting terrorism.
“Separating hate groups from their online funding sources will prevent their ideas from reaching a wider audience, and it will disrupt their networks. Some technology companies have taken steps in the right direction, but both government and internet companies must do far more to combat extremism and hate,” SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks told Congress this past March.
In 2019, 25 donor networks worth more than $1 billion launched a “Hate Is Not Charitable” campaign, aiming to cut off funds from conservative “hate groups” the SPLC targeted. In 2020, the SPLC teamed up with the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to pressure the philanthropic sector — which held more than $121 billion in donor contributions in 2018 — to blacklist conservative “hate groups.” In 2019, Democrats cited the SPLC in calling on the IRS to remove tax-exempt status from “hate groups.”
The SPLC specifically targeted PayPal, noting that 69 “hate groups” were using PayPal for merchandise sales and donations. That list of 69 “hate groups” included JihadWatch and ACT for America, and likely included other organizations that have absolutely nothing to do with white nationalism. Yet Brooks insisted that by allowing “hate groups” to participate, PayPal “served as the banking system for white nationalism.”
While the ADL’s record is not nearly as horrific as that of the SPLC, it does exaggerate accusations of anti-Semitism on the Right. Earlier this year, the ADL called for Fox News host Tucker Carlson to resign because Carlson complained about the prospect of illegal immigrants voting. The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV) rebuked the ADL for “grossly misplaced charges of anti-Semitism.”
“There is nothing supremacist, much less antisemitic, about concerns that voting by illegal immigrants is a negation of America’s electoral system and a violation of our democracy,” Rabbi Yaakov Menken, CJV’s managing director, told PJ Media in April.
In a letter to Greenblatt, CJV warned that the ADL “has become markedly partisan under your leadership. Your organization published the guide, Naming the Hate, which features obscure neo-Nazis of the ‘alt-right,’ yet says nothing regarding the far more dangerous, leftist adherents of radical Islam. Similarly, the ADL denounced Brett Kavanaugh, but not Linda Sarsour.”
Menken repeated these concerns regarding the PayPal-ADL alliance.
“Hate must be fought in an objective, non-partisan way with an appreciation of first principles and the nuances of history,” Menken told PJ Media on Monday. “The ADL, especially under Jonathan Greenblatt, has focused primarily on advancing a partisan political agenda, rather than combating hate.”
“It has lobbed fabricated charges against conservatives while turning a blind eye to bigotry and prejudice on the Left. A partnership between the ADL and Big Tech would only lead to more censorship, and, thus, a further throttling of freedom of expression,” Menken warned.
Last month, ADL sent a letter to the IRS, suggesting that various 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations may have abused their tax-exempt status. While the letter focuses on organizations with ties to the Capitol riot, the larger report on which it is based singles out conservative groups — including a few organizations on the SPLC’s “hate map” such as the American Freedom Law Center and Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (removed from the map earlier this year).
If PayPal insists on allying with the SPLC, LULAC, and Cy Vance, it should also work with conservative organizations. Otherwise, its efforts to “disrupt the financial pipelines that support … hate movements” may translate into a partisan witch hunt to destroy conservative organizations.
PayPal did not respond to PJ Media’s request for comment about the ADL’s bias or PJ Media’s questions about whether or not the company considers the SPLC’s “hate group” accusations to be reliable.