This story was updated on Aug. 24 to reflect the fact that Andrew Torba’s repost of the Chronicle’s story, “State Rep. Dan Frankel targeted by antisemitic posts on Gab,” is now unavailable and no longer visible on his page.
Users of Gab, a social media platform widely known as an online home for extremist, antisemitic comments and conspiracy theories, reacted to an article that first appeared on Aug. 19 on the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle’s website.
Gab founder Andrew Torba reposted the article “State Rep. Dan Frankel targeted by antisemitic posts on Gab” to the social media site after the Chronicle’s tweet of the story was reposted by Pennsylvania state Rep. Dan Miller. Torba then wrote, in part: “People are done caring about your eternal victimhood complex. Free speech means the right to offend…Stop conflating offensive memes with ‘threats’…Gab is what free speech looks like, the good, the bad, and the ugly are all included.”
Within 21 hours of publication, Torba’s post had more than 560 comments and 821 reposts. Many of the replies voiced agreement with Torba, and a large number included antisemitic comments, tropes and memes.
Two replies read, “Exile the jews from the USA and they’ll take that hatred for God with them,” and “it’s anudda SHOAH.”
Torba is a supporter of Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who paid the social media platform $5,000 in consulting fees. As a result, all new Gab users automatically followed Mastriano before he closed his account after widespread criticism from both Republicans and Democrats.
Torba has embraced Christian nationalist and antisemitic ideologies. In July, he said on Gab TV:
“This is a Christian nation. Christians outnumber you, by a lot. A lot. And we’re not gonna listen to 2%. You represent 2% of the country, ok? We’re not bending the knee to the 2% anymore.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League, Torba reposted a comment from a Gab user which reads, in part: “So, should we subject our children to Jewish propaganda on television, music, or movies? Uh, no. Should we act like the nation of Israel is not in rebellion against God? Uh, no. Should we ignore that Talmudic zionists want to crush the Gentiles? Uh, no.”
Gab users started attacking the Chronicle shortly after Torba posted the Chronicle’s article about Frankel.
One user wrote, “The pittsburgh jewish chronicle supports genocides of Christians. But if course what they are protecting with the fake ‘hate’ smear is Rothschild banker gangsters plundering the world.The mafia uses every trick and smear they can to keep control.”
As of Aug. 24, Torba’s repost of the Chronicle’s story, and the subsequent replies to that post, were unavailable and no longer visible on his page.
The man accused of killing 11 Jews in the Tree of Life building posted antisemitic messages on Gab before the Oct. 27, 2018, massacre. In his Gab bio, he described Jews as the “children of satan.” PJC
David Rullo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.