Musk to visit Israel next week, tour Gaza border towns – report

Tech mogul, who held a live conversation with Netanyahu in California weeks before war broke out, set to arrive as he battles allegations of antisemitism

X (formerly Twitter) CEO Elon Musk attends an in-conversation event with Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London on November 2, 2023. (Kirsty Wigglesworth / POOL / AFP)
X (formerly Twitter) CEO Elon Musk attends an in-conversation event with Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London on November 2, 2023. (Kirsty Wigglesworth / POOL / AFP)

Tech billionaire Elon Musk is expected to visit Israel next week, Hebrew media reported Thursday.

Musk plans to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog, and tour Gaza border communities ravaged by the Hamas terror group’s devastating onslaught, Channel 12 reported.

Musk and Netanyahu held a live discussion in September at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, that touched on a range of issues including antisemitism on social media and its implications for freedom of speech, the Iranian threat, the consequences of artificial intelligence, and his coalition’s controversial judicial overhaul legislation.

The reported visit comes as Musk faces accusations of tolerating antisemitic messaging on the platform, with the content on X coming under increased scrutiny amid the war between Israel and Hamas, which began on October 7 when the terror group carried out a devastating attack that killed over 1,200 people, most of them civilians.

Amid the controversy, Musk announced Tuesday that X would be “donating all revenue from advertising & subscriptions associated with the war in Gaza to hospitals in Israel,” and to a humanitarian organization operating in Gaza.

In replies to his own tweet, he seemed unsure how he could route money to the group without inadvertently funneling it into Hamas, writing at one point, “Better ideas are welcome.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) speaks with Elon Musk during a live discussion on the social media platform X, at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, September 18, 2023. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Last week, in response to a user who asked if he would suspend accounts that support Hamas’s massacre, Musk said that X users who deploy the terms “decolonization,” “from the river to the sea” and other similar euphemisms that “necessarily imply genocide” will be booted from the social media platform.

“Clear calls for extreme violence are against our terms of service and will result in suspension,” Musk wrote on X.

While he has expressed positions sympathetic to Israel, Musk has been accused of promoting antisemitism on the platform.

He sparked outcry this month with his own posts responding to a user who accused Jews of hating white people and professing indifference to antisemitism. “You have said the actual truth,” Musk tweeted.

In September Musk threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League, blaming the Jewish anti-bigotry group for a 60 percent drop in advertising revenue on the X platform.

The legal threat of indeterminate seriousness — Musk frequently does not follow through on his stated intentions, although he sometimes does — came after Musk joined a white supremacist’s anti-ADL campaign on X.

Musk and the ADL had been at odds for about a year. Soon after Musk’s takeover of the platform in 2022, the ADL encouraged companies to pause their ad spending on the site in protest of Musk removing guardrails against hate speech, though the ADL resumed its own paid ads on the platform.

JTA contributed to this report.

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