Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Elon Musk to meet Israeli president as antisemitism furore brews

Elon Musk to meet Israeli president as antisemitism furore brews
Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) has been cited by the European Union as the biggest outlet for peddlers of Russian disinformation. (Photo: Chesnot / Getty Images)

Elon Musk will meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and representatives of the families of hostages held in Gaza, in an apparent effort to defuse a growing furore over his endorsement of an antisemitic tweet.

The Tesla and SpaceX chief executive is slated to join a closed-door discussion on Monday with the family representatives and Herzog about the need to curb online antisemitism, a spokesperson for the president’s office said in a brief statement.

The billionaire has denied being racist and defended his views after endorsing the tweet, which drew condemnation from the White House and rights activists. Critics have accused the world’s richest person of amplifying anti-Jewish hatred on X, the service formerly known as Twitter that Musk bought for $44-billion last year. The backlash came around the same time Media Matters published a report pointing out alleged pro-Nazi content, triggering an exodus of advertisers including IBM and Apple. Musk has sued the liberal watchdog group.

It’s unclear whether Musk intends to raise other issues while in Israel, which is waging war against Hamas after militants killed about 1,200 people and took some 240 hostages in the attack on 7 October. Both sides are now in a four-day ceasefire to allow the release of hostages.

Read More: Musk Defends Himself on X After Antisemitic Furor Deepens

While Musk has drawn support from notable figures including hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, others continue to censure the famously outspoken billionaire. UK premier Rishi Sunak became the latest to speak out against Musk, in a careful criticism that stopped short of the full-throated condemnation by US President Joe Biden.

The furore centres on a post on X that falsely claimed Jewish people are stoking hatred against White people. Musk responded to that tweet by saying it was “the actual truth.” 

On Sunday, tens of thousands of people, including former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, attended a march against antisemitism in central London. The Israel-Hamas conflict has exacerbated community tensions and led to a spike in antisemitic and Islamophobic hate crimes.

Read More: Elon Musk’s Trip Into the Extremist Rabbit Hole Is Hobbling X

This past week, there were hundreds of bogus media stories claiming that I am antisemitic.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I wish only the best for humanity and a prosperous and exciting future for all.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2023

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