Netanyahu Welcomes Elon Musk to Israel After Antisemitic Post

Days after endorsing an antisemitic conspiracy theory on X, Elon Musk flew to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and tour a kibbutz devastated in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack.

Clad in a very small bulletproof vest, Musk on Monday toured Kfar Aza, one of the sites of Hamas’ attack. Musk called the experience “jarring” in a conversation with Netanyahu on Twitter Spaces shortly after visiting the kibbutz.

Netanyahu highlighted the importance of social media platforms in combating antisemitism, to which Musk replied, “We need to do everything possible to stop the hate.”

“Those that are intent on murder must be neutralized,” Musk said. “The propaganda must stop that is training people to be murderers in the future. And then, making Gaza prosperous. And if that happens, I think it will be a good future.”

Earlier this month, several prominent companies pulled their advertisements from X, formerly Twitter, after Musk endorsed an antisemitic post on the platform, and evidence emerged that the company was not following through with promises to safeguard advertisers against extremist content.

On Nov. 15, Musk responded, “You have said the actual truth,” to a post claiming that Jews promote “dialectical hatred against whites.”

“The ADL unjustly attacks the majority of the West, despite the majority of the West supporting the Jewish people and Israel,” Musk added, referring to the Anti-Defamation League, which he has long criticized. “This is because they cannot, by their own tenets, criticize the minority groups who are their primary threat.”

A subsequent study by Media Matters, a progressive media watchdog, found that ads for major companies appeared alongside posts featuring neo-Nazi content. The conflagration of events triggered an exodus of advertisers from the platform, including Apple, Disney, IBM, Sony, Paramount, and Warner Bros. In response to their controversy, Musk sued Media Matters, alleging that the nonprofit had defamed his company and unlawfully damaged its advertising revenue.

Musk is now in Israel on a PR visit for a country embroiled in a bloody war. Prominent Israeli journalists were quick to point out the hypocrisy. “Blatant antisemite [and] publisher of antisemitism Elon Musk should be persona non grata in Israel,” Esther Solomon, the editor-in-chief at Haaretz, wrote on X. “Instead, Netanyahu – plumbing new depths of amoral sycophancy – gifts him a PR visit to the kibbutzim devastated by Hamas. Profane, venal, bilious, both of them.”

Amy Spiro, a writer at The Jerusalem Post, wrote that it was “Hard to stomach welcoming someone who just days ago endorsed a virulently antisemitic trope, has dabbled for years in antisemitism and has turned this platform into a cesspool of hate. It’s quite frankly gross.”

Virtually immediately after Musk finalized his takeover of Twitter, the Tesla billionaire welcomed back neo-Nazis and other extremists who had previously been banned from the platform. This and Musk’s rollback of past content moderation policies have turned X into a platform where hate and extremism proliferate virtually unchecked.

With the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, X’s issues controlling virulent online hatred have worsened. Misinformation about the conflict has run rampant across the platform, and a joint study by NewsGuard and AdWeek found that 74 percent of the most viral misinformation about the war on X had been promoted by users subscribed to Twitter Blue, Musk’s pay-for-verification program. While X has promised to continue to fight the spread of antisemitism on their platform, their track record is abysmal, and a quick trip to Israel isn’t likely to do much to repair Musk’s reputation as he continues to engage with extremist content.

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