Musk vows to donate revenue ‘associated’ with Gaza war to hospitals, aid orgs

CEO of social media platform X, who has come under fire for endorsing an antisemitic tweet, vague on the type of income to be donated and the organizations that would receive it

File: X CEO Elon Musk leaves a US Senate bipartisan Artificial Intelligence (AI) Insight Forum at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on September 13, 2023. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)
File: X CEO Elon Musk leaves a US Senate bipartisan Artificial Intelligence (AI) Insight Forum at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on September 13, 2023. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

JTA – Elon Musk on announced Tuesday that his social network 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.

The promise comes as he faces sharp criticism that his site is helping to spread Hamas propaganda and as advertisers stage an exodus over his recent endorsement of an antisemitic post.

It was unclear how Musk was identifying or defining revenue “associated with the war in Gaza.” He named the International Red Cross and Red Crescent, which has distributed medical supplies to Gazans, as specific beneficiaries.

But 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.”

“Ok, what is a better way to help kids in Gaza? Maybe just direct purchase of pediatric medical supplies?” he mused in response to a right-wing Orthodox Jewish X user, Libs of TikTok creator Chaya Raichik, who shared a video claiming that “the Red Crescent is used by Hamas for their terrorist activities.” (The Red Cross’s president met with Hamas senior leader Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar on Monday; on Tuesday, Israel announced that the group would be able to meet with Israeli hostages in Gaza as part of a truce deal.)

Musk’s gesture came a day after he filed a lawsuit against the liberal media watchdog Media Matters For America, which last week published examples of ads from major brands that it said X had placed next to antisemitic and white nationalist content.

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and the families of Gaza hostages meet with ICRC chief Mirjana Spoljaric Egger in Geneva, Switzerland on November 14, 2023. (International Red Cross)

Musk’s lawsuit claims that Media Matters manufactured fake data for the story, while Media Matters called the suit “frivolous.” Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton also announced Monday he was opening an investigation into Media Matters over “potential fraudulent activity” (Musk resides in the state, although X’s headquarters are in San Francisco).

Last week, Musk endorsed a tweet that shared a variant of the antisemitic “Great Replacement” theory, writing in response, “You have said the actual truth.” He also vowed to suspend any accounts that tweeted pro-Palestinian phrases including “decolonization” and “from the river to the sea,” calling them incitements to genocide.

Major brands including IBM, Disney, and Comcast distanced themselves from X over Musk’s “actual truth” tweet. But Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the antisemitism watchdog Anti-Defamation League, publicly praised him for “fighting hate.”

Greenblatt later told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the ADL would continue advertising on X and that he had been encouraged by a private meeting he held with Musk in which the mogul pledged stronger action against pro-Palestinian speech on the site.

X’s CEO, advertising industry veteran Linda Yaccarino, was reportedly at her daughter’s wedding while the latest conflict erupted. Her allies from the industry are urging her to leave X, Axios reported on Tuesday. Musk “doesn’t share our values,” one industry leader said. “He has proven to the advertising community that he is not someone you can do business with.”

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