Tags: benjamin netanyahu | elon musk | twitter | x | social media | antisemitism | adl

Netanyahu-Musk Meeting Amid X Antisemitism Flare-Up

By    |   Thursday, 14 September 2023 09:21 PM EDT

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to visit Silicon Valley on Monday to engage in talks with Elon Musk, the owner of X, to discuss antisemitism on the social media platform.

This meeting marks the latest endeavor by Musk's associates and allies to defuse a conflict with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Netanyahu is set to journey to the United States for the annual convening of the U.N. General Assembly next week. His itinerary was augmented with an excursion to San Jose, California.

The visit promises to address recent damage to X, formerly known as Twitter. The most recent damaging event, one in a series of crises that have marked Musk's tenure, was ignited by the billionaire's Sept. 4 post: "Since the acquisition, The@ADL has been trying to kill this platform by falsely accusing it & me of being anti-Semitic."

In the following days, Musk posted over a dozen tweets castigating the ADL for its claims of antisemitism. According to CNN, Musk tweeted that the ADL bore significant responsibility for a 60% plummet in advertising revenue and threatened to sue.

In the ongoing effort to quell the mounting controversy, the impending meeting serves as the most recent step orchestrated by Musk's circle of Jewish confidants, allies, and high-ranking executives within his social media company, according to The Washington Post.

Netanyahu played a pivotal role this summer in mediating tensions by engaging in a direct dialogue with Musk. The diplomatic intervention came after Musk had pointed comments about financier and Democrat backer George Soros.

Back in May, Musk referred to the 92-year-old Holocaust survivor's background, drawing a pointed comparison between Soros and Magneto, a character from Marvel comics described as a Jewish supervillain who strives to supplant humans with mutants as the world's dominant species, reported the Post.

The Post reported that Musk's assertion that the ADL bore responsibility for the decline in X's revenue was amusing. These experts in the report contended that, for an extended period, significant advertisers had ceased investing in the platform, leading to a decrease in demand and subsequently reducing ad rates for those who continued to advertise. Moreover, X's offering free ad credits to entice brands back onto the platform has seemingly exhausted its effectiveness.

"It's clear Twitter's drop-off in ad revenue started months ago as a result of changes the platform made to ad formats," said Sara Livingston, a marketing analytics consultant. "It has nothing to do with the ADL."

Influential Jewish figures have stepped forward in an attempt to de-escalate the situation, as conveyed to the Washington Post. Among these prominent figures were Joe Lonsdale and Steve Rattner, the latter being an investor entrusted with overseeing the financial assets of former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Both Lonsdale and Rattner extended their outreach to the ADL to contribute to resolving the unfolding predicament.

"He [Musk] doesn't hate Jews, but he's a fighter, and when you punch him, he is going to punch back," said one of the people familiar with the outreach. "Part of who he is, is an aggressive force of nature. He doesn't understand the second-order effects."

Netanyahu's visit is expected to be accompanied by protests from Israeli citizens who oppose his government's proposed judicial reforms.

As of Thursday, the outcome of the impending Musk-Netanyahu meeting remained uncertain, with sources familiar with the event indicating that details were still being finalized.

Offir Gutelzon, an Israeli tech entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley, has been at the forefront of organizing protests by Israeli expatriates against Netanyahu's judicial overhaul. Gutelzon announced his intention to coordinate a demonstration near the Musk meeting, underscoring the divisive nature of Netanyahu's visit.

"It's deeply disturbing that Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the world's only Jewish state, is flying across America to seek the counsel and support from a notorious enabler of anti-Jewish hate speech," he said.

Jim Thomas

Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to visit Silicon Valley Monday to engage in talks with Elon Musk, the owner of X, to discuss antisemitism on the social media platform.
benjamin netanyahu, elon musk, twitter, x, social media, antisemitism, adl, california, visit
Thursday, 14 September 2023 09:21 PM
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