New York, NY, July 22, 2022 – The American Jewish Congress is deeply disturbed by Pennsylvania’s Gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano’s presence on the alternative social media platform Gab, and his paid promotion to further fuel this heinous medium for the purpose of his political gain. The American Jewish Congress calls on Mr. Mastriano to unequivocally distance himself from this platform, a favorite of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and supporters of the antisemitic QAnon movement, and cease his operations amongst these violent and extremist voices.
As we have learned the hard way, Gab is a breeding ground for monstrous content and has been the medium of choice for deplorable actors to share their frightening agendas. With its lack of moderation and embrace of extremist speech, Gab has become a stomping ground amongst those who practice antisemitic, white supremacist, and extremist speech. It is worth highlighting how Robert Bowers, – the terrorist responsible for the Tree of Life Shooting in Pittsburgh, the deadliest attack on Jews in American history – used Gab to spread his hate. As we have felt in its wake, this unthinkable tragedy has left a gaping hole in the hearts of all Americans, in Pennsylvania and across the country, stretching far beyond religion.
While we at the American Jewish Congress find Mr. Mastriano’s presence and efforts on Gab to be insufferable, he is not the first political candidate or official to explore the site to score political points. In the past, we have exposed how politicians like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) have leveraged Gab‘s extremist audience to build political capital by mobilizing and fundraising on the platform. Given Mr. Mastriano’s operations on Gab, in addition to his paid fundraising efforts which further promote the Gab name, he is seemingly following in her footsteps; a fact that is far from acceptable.
Mr. Mastriano should heed the advice and understanding of those that have condemned this bigoted medium, including important voices in the Republican party, such as Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Governor Abbot has been unequivocal in his view on Gab – painting the only picture one can. He stated that “antisemitic platforms like Gab have no place in Texas and certainly do not represent Texas values.”
To remedy this both objectionable and intolerable undertaking, Mr. Mastriano must display, in clear and overt language, that he does not seek to capitalize on extremism for political purposes any further. With hate and extremist violence rising at alarming rates, we cannot afford to sit idly by. We must come together to confront all antisemitic and extremist threats to our democracy, values, and institutions head-on, and Mr. Mastriano must heed that call.
Actions speak louder than words.