Elon Musk Visits Israel Amid Rising Accusations of Antisemitism on X

0
US billionaire Elon Musk, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, take a tour of Kfar Aza, November 27, 2023. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur and owner of the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), arrived in Israel on Monday amid growing accusations of antisemitism on his platform. The visit included a tour of a kibbutz attacked by Hamas militants and meetings with top Israeli leaders.

Touring Kfar Azza Kibbutz

Musk, alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, toured the Kfar Azza kibbutz, which was stormed by Hamas militants on October 7, sparking the recent war. Wearing a protective vest and surrounded by security, Musk documented the aftermath of the attack with his phone. The visit included stops at the homes of some victims, notably the family of 4-year-old Abigail Edan, a dual Israeli-U.S. citizen who was held hostage by Hamas.

Elon Musk, center, and Benjamin Netanyahu, right, in Kfar Aza on Nov. 27.Source: Prime Minister of Israel

High-Level Meetings

Musk’s itinerary also included meetings with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Benny Gantz, a former defense minister now in a special war Cabinet. Government spokesperson Eylon Levy did not disclose whether Musk was invited or arrived independently.

Controversy and Criticism on X

Musk’s ownership of X has been mired in controversy, with accusations of tolerating antisemitic messages. Prominent brands like Disney and IBM have pulled their advertising in response to reports of ads appearing alongside pro-Nazi content. Musk’s recent endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory on X further fueled the outcry, prompting a lawsuit against Media Matters by X, alleging the nonprofit manufactured the report to harm the platform.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, with Elon Musk, center, at Kibbutz Kfar Aza on November 27, 2023.Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office/YouTube

Response to Antisemitism

During a visit by Netanyahu to California in September, Musk was urged to find ways to combat antisemitism and other forms of hatred within the limits of the First Amendment. Musk’s visit to Israel and his interactions with top officials signal a potential commitment to addressing these issues.

Starlink Deal with Israel

Adding to the significance of the visit, Israel’s Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi tweeted about a deal reached with Musk’s Starlink satellite internet company, stating, “Starlink satellite units can only be operated in Israel with the approval of the Israeli Ministry of Communications, including the Gaza Strip.”