Elon Musk To Meet Israeli President Amid Anti-Semitism Row

Elon Musk is to meet Israeli president Isaac Herzog on Monday, amid a row after the billionaire appeared to endorse an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

The Guardian newspaper reported that Elon Musk’s visit to Israel coincides with a four-day truce in the war with Hamas, during which currently 58 of the approximate 240 hostages held by Hamas have been released.

The meeting could potentially be awkward, after Elon Musk was heavily criticised this month when he seemed to endorse an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. The account @breakingbaht suggested that anti-Semitism was carried out by minorities and claimed the Jews were to blame.

Image credit: Tesla

Anti-Semitic row

That “great replacement” conspiracy theory contends that Jewish people and the left are engineering an ethnic and cultural replacement of the white population with non-white immigrants.

Musk replied: “You have said the actual truth.”

That drew a strong rebuke from the White House, which condemned Elon Musk’s endorsement of what it called a “hideous” anti-Semitic conspiracy theory on X (formerly Twitter).

The White House also accused Musk of an “abhorrent promotion of anti-Semitic and racist hate” that “runs against our core values as Americans.”

The White House then announced it was creating multiple official accounts on Twitter rival platform, Threads.

Days before this, Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales had warned that X was ‘overrun by trolls and lunatics’, and that people are fleeing the platform.

And to make matters worse, Twitter is contending with an advertising exodus, after Media Matters for America recently found of adverts from IBM, Apple, Bravo (NBCUniversal), Oracle, and Xfinity (Comcast) appearing alongside extremist content that praised Adolf Hitler.

The Media Matters report included screenshots showing advertisements from major advertisers appearing alongside accounts praising Nazism and denying the Holocaust.

In response a number of advertisers, including IBM, Apple and Disney, suspended advertising on the platform.

After the advertising pull out, Elon Musk responded by filing a “thermonuclear” lawsuit against Media Matters, claiming it had filed an “intentionally deceptive report”.

Meeting Israeli president

Now the Guardian has reported that Musk will meet Israeli president Isaac Herzog on Monday, along with Israelis whose relatives have been kidnapped by Hamas in Gaza.

Herzog’s office announced the meeting on Sunday night, saying: “In their meeting, the president will emphasise the need to act to combat rising antisemitism online.”

Musk did not respond to requests for comment through spokespeople for Tesla and X, the Guardian reported.

As part of his visit to Israel, Musk was reportedly taken to Kfar Azza – one of the kibbutzim attacked by Hamas on October 7 – by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu meeting

It should be remembered that Elon Musk had recently met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu back in September, when both men had held an in-person broadcast together.

During the conversation two months ago, Benjamin Netanyahu called on Musk to ‘roll back’ anti-Semitism on X, amid allegations back then that the platform was not doing enough to tackle anti-Semitic content.

Before that September meeting with Netanyahu, Musk had accused George Soros’ foundation of wanting to “destroy” Western civilisation. The Hungarian-American Jewish philanthropist is the subject of a number anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

“I know your commitment to free speech,” Netanyahu told Musk back in September. “But I also know your opposition to anti-Semitism. You’ve spoken about it, tweeted about it. And all I can say is, I hope you find, within the confines of the First Amendment, the ability to stop not only anti-Semitism, or roll it back as best you can, but any collective hatred of people…. I know you’re committed to that and I hope you succeed. And it’s not an easy task, but I encourage you and urge you to find a balance.”

Musk had replied that he was “against attacking any group, doesn’t matter who it is,” and that his vision for humanity becoming a space-faring species is undermined by “infighting and hatred and negativity.”

“Obviously, I’m against anti-Semitism,” Musk had continued, “I’m anti- really anything that is, you know, that promotes hate and conflict. And I’m in favour of that which helps society and takes us to a better future for humanity collectively.”

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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