Elon Musk, who has faced criticism for promoting an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory and other accusations of hate on his social media platform X, recently traveled to Israel. During his visit, he toured a kibbutz that was targeted by Hamas militants and met with high-level leaders.
The wealthy individual had a meeting with the President of Israel, Isaac Herzog, who reprimanded him for the material on the social media site formerly known as Twitter. He also accompanied the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, on a visit to Kfar Azza kibbutz, a countryside community that was attacked by Hamas militants on October 7th, resulting in casualties and sparking the war.
Wearing a protective vest and escorted by a phalanx of security personnel as rain fell, Musk used his phone to take photos or videos of the devastation, according to video released by Netanyahu’s office. Musk’s visit came as Israel and Hamas reached a deal to extend a cease-fire for two more days.
The CEO of Tesla and the prime minister paid a visit to the homes of those affected by the recent damage, including the family of Abigail Edan. Abigail, a 4-year-old girl with Israeli and American citizenship, was held captive by Hamas after her parents were killed. She was freed on Sunday as part of the ongoing exchanges during the temporary cease-fire in Gaza, which is set to end on Monday.
During a conversation streamed on X, Musk expressed his shock at witnessing the aftermath of the massacre. He was troubled by the footage and images shown by Netanyahu, which depicted the deaths of innocent civilians, including children.
The topic of the discussion included the conflict, resulting protests, and the Middle East, but did not address the issue of online antisemitism. During a meeting in September, Netanyahu called for a reduction of this type of hatred and expressed hope that Musk would be involved in creating a better future. Musk responded with enthusiasm, stating that he would be happy to assist.
Herzog addressed Musk directly, stating that the platforms under his leadership unfortunately harbor a significant amount of hatred towards Jews and anti-semitism.
According to a statement from Herzog’s office, the meeting included the Israeli president and several families of hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza.
Herzog reminded Musk that anti-Semitism impacts the actions of individuals in various locations across the globe, and that Musk has a significant role in addressing this issue.
According to Herzog’s office, the owner of X stated that it had been a challenging day emotionally after the tour and emphasized the importance of taking action to combat hatred.
Musk commented on the actions of Hamas militants, stating that it is astonishing how people who have been exposed to false information from a young age can be influenced to believe that killing innocent individuals is justified. This highlights the power of propaganda in shaping one’s thoughts and beliefs.
Musk has faced accusations from the Anti-Defamation League, a prominent Jewish civil rights organization, and others of tolerating antisemitic messages on the platform since purchasing it last year. The content on X has gained increased scrutiny since the war between Israel and Hamas began in October.
Several major companies, such as Disney and IBM, made the decision this month to no longer advertise on the platform following a report from liberal organization Media Matters. The report stated that advertisements were showing up next to pro-Nazi and white nationalist content.
During the same week, Musk replied on X to a user’s accusation that Jews harbor hatred towards white people and show apathy towards antisemitism. His response was, “You have spoken the truth.” This has sparked backlash, including criticism from the White House.
The billionaire, who has stated he believes in absolute free speech, posted on Twitter during his trip to Israel that actions are more impactful than words.
X has filed a lawsuit against Media Matters, alleging that the nonprofit organization purposely created the report in order to deter advertisers from using the platform and ultimately harm X Corp.
Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy declined to say whether Musk was invited to the country or came on his own. X, formerly known as Twitter, did not respond to a request for comment.
Israel resolved a disagreement with Musk regarding his Starlink satellite internet business. Starlink has agreed to only operate in Gaza with government authorization.
According to Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi’s tweet, the Israeli Ministry of Communications must give approval for the operation of Starlink satellite units in Israel, including the Gaza Strip. This is due to a major agreement that has been made.
The two had tangled online previously after Musk promised that Starlink would support connectivity to internationally recognized aid groups in Gaza, drawing a rebuke from Karhi, who said Israeli would fight it because Hamas would use the service for militant activities.
Chan filed a report from the city of London.