President Isaac Herzog to meet Elon Musk tomorrow in Jerusalem

Elon Musk will meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, in an apparent effort to defuse a growing furor over his endorsement of an antisemitic tweet.
2024-02-28
President Isaac Herzog to meet Elon Musk tomorrow in Jerusalem

Elon Musk, the tech mogul who has been accused by civil rights groups of enabling the spread of anti-Jewish sentiments on his social media platform, X, is set to meet with Israeli president Isaac Herzog. The meeting will also include Israelis whose family members have been detained by Hamas in Gaza.

President Herzog's office publicized the upcoming meeting, emphasizing that Herzog will underscore the importance of taking action against the increasing antisemitism online during Musk's visit.

Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, did not comment on the matter through his representatives at Tesla and X. His visit to Israel aligns with a four-day ceasefire in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, during which 58 out of the reported 240 Israeli hostages have been released by Hamas.

According to Israel’s Channel 12, Musk is also expected to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, although there has been no official statement from the Israeli Prime Minister's office.

In a previous meeting with Netanyahu in California, Musk was urged to find a balance between safeguarding free speech and combating hate speech, following controversies regarding antisemitic content on X. Musk reiterated his stance against antisemitism and any content that "promotes hate and conflict", asserting that X would not endorse hate speech.

However, on November 15, Musk agreed with a post on X that falsely alleged Jewish people were inciting hatred against white people. This led to widespread condemnation, including from the White House, and several major US companies, such as Walt Disney, Warner Bros Discovery, and NBCUniversal parent Comcast, halted their advertising on his social media platform. X may face a potential loss of up to $75 million in advertising revenue by year's end. 

The increase in antisemitism and Islamophobia, both in the US and globally, has coincided with the seven-week-old war between Israel and Hamas. According to the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitic incidents in the US have surged by nearly 400% following the war's outbreak.

Despite the controversies, Musk maintains that X should serve as a platform for diverse viewpoints. However, he has stated that the company will restrict the distribution of certain posts that may violate its policies, terming the approach as "freedom of speech, not reach".

In addition to his social media platform, Musk is also working on an artificial intelligence startup, xAI. Given Israel's leading position in the field due to its thriving computing and robotics industries, this visit may have further implications.

Further updates are expected as more details become available.

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