Conservatives Condemn Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Over Gab Criticism

Texas Governor Greg Abbott's State of the State Address
AP Photo/Stephen Spillman

The Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott (R), sparked controversy and condemnation from Jewish conservatives on social media after he branded the free-speech friendly social network Gab an “antisemitic platform,” a charge strongly denied by the company.

During a press conference announcing a bill reportedly aimed at fighting antisemitism in the state, Gov. Abbott said “antisemitic platforms like Gab have no place in Texas and certainly do not represent Texas values.”

Gab called the governor’s statement “despicable and false,” drawing attention to the large number of Jewish users on the platform.

Via Gab:

Gab is not an “anti-semitic” platform. We protect the political speech of all Americans, regardless of viewpoint, because in this age of cancel culture nobody else will. That means unpopular viewpoints may be found on the site.

The enemies of freedom smear us with every name in the book because they hate America and they hate free speech. It’s a shame to see a GOP politician fall for this trap when conservative values are under sustained attack all over the country.

There are many Jewish Gab users and customers, whose lawful speech we protect with just as much zeal as we would protect the lawful speech of any person of any faith, ethnicity, or creed.

In a comment to Breitbart News, Adam Candeub, one of the most senior Jewish officials in the Trump administration, defended Gab.

“The best way to counter anti-Semitism is to expose and debunk it in the marketplace of ideas,” said Candeub. “The basic principle of the free and open internet is that open platforms should not censor lawful content, a doctrine that both Facebook and Twitter used to embrace. Allowing all viewpoints on its platform, as Gab does, does not make it antisemitic.”

Rachel Bovard, policy director of the Conservative Partnership Institute, condemned Abbott’s statement in even stronger terms.

“Google is suppressing conservative news and collecting data on school kids, Twitter kicked off the President of the United States, Facebook was used in Myanmar to facilitate a genocide, and Governor Abbott is focused on…banning Gab? Talk about misplaced priorities,” Bovard told Breitbart News. “The answer to bad speech is more speech, not less. This foundational American principle that has apparently escaped the Texas governor.”

Gov. Abbott’s comments drew ire from many prominent conservatives on social media, including several prominent Jewish conservatives.

National security analyst David Reaboi, a contributor to the Jewish Journal and the Claremont Review of Books, supported Gab’s denunciation of the charges, and said the Texas governor had allowed himself to be bullied into viewpoint discrimination.

“There are plenty of antisemites on Twitter,” Reaboi pointed out.

Darren Beattie, a Jewish conservative who currently serves on the Commission for the Preservation of American Heritage Abroad, an independent government agency protecting monuments and historic places abroad, including Holocaust memorial sites, also condemned the Governor’s remarks.

“Honestly this notion that Gab is an “anti-semitic platform” doesn’t have a leg to stand on,” said Beattie.

Beattie also called for a debate between Gov. Abbott and the founder of Gab, Andrew Torba.

Acclaimed Jewish journalist Glenn Greenwald, a regular guest on Tucker Carlson Tonight, called the Texas governor an “enemy of free speech.”

Blaze TV star Elijah Schaffer, who rose to prominence for his on-the-ground coverage of last summer’s riots, said someone was “lying” to Abbott about Gab.

“I’m a very pro-Israel guy & I can definitely say that Gab is not an anti-Semitic platform,” said Schaffer.

Michael Quinn Sullivan, publisher of Texas Scorecard, a local publication influential among conservatives in the Lone Star state, also weighed in.

“Republicans [Greg Abbott], [Craig Goldman] & [Phil King] employ slurs of the left to attack 1A website even as they funnel MILLIONS in corporate welfare to the censorious Amazon and Facebook,” said Sullivan.

“There’s more antisemitism on Twitter from verified blue checks alone than there is on [Gab],” said Gavin Wax, Townhall columnist and President of the New York City Young Republicans.

Pedro Gonzalez, the assistant editor of American Greatness, condemned Abbott for welcoming Silicon Valley tech giants to Texas while simultaneously attacking one of the few successful free speech platforms.

Conservative radio star and former congressional candidate Jesse Kelly called the governor’s comments “remarkably tone deaf” and the product of living “deep in a bubble.”

Bestselling author and Newsmax host Michelle Malkin called Abbott “anti-free speech, anti-American, and opposed to Christian-run businesses.”

Author, independent journalist and documentary filmmaker Mike Cernovich said Abbott’s comments “opens door for a lawsuit.”

The Libertarian Party of Texas used the opportunity to criticize the overall notion of government regulation of social media companies, arguing that such regulation would inevitably result in more censorship.

“When will conservatives realize that these laws they are expecting to “protect free speech” will only be used against free speech?” said the party’s official Twitter account.

The Texas Republican Party defied Abbott, posting that ““TexasGOP has no plan to deplatform from any of our social media accounts. The 1st Amendment still shines brightly in the Lone Star State.”

Abbott also didn’t win any points from the left-wing media. Vice News pointed out that the governor’s remarks were an inadvertent attack on his own party — because the Texas GOP has an official Gab account.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.

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