Posted by on September 18, 2023 5:40 pm
Categories: News The Hill

Netanyahu urges Musk to curb antisemitism and ‘hatred’ on X

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday urged tech billionaire Elon Musk to curb antisemitism and hatred on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“I know your commitment to free speech. I respect that because I think it’s an integral, it’s the foundational thing of democracies really, but I also know your opposition to antisemitism. You’ve spoken about it, tweeted about it,” Netanyahu said in a public conversation broadcast on X, which Musk owns.

“And all I can say is that I hope you find within the confines of the First Amendment, the ability to stop not only antisemitism — or roll it back as best you can — but any collective hatred of a people that antisemitism represents,” Netanyahu continued. “And I know you’re committed to that, I hope I hope you succeed in it. It’s not an easy task, but I encourage you and urge you to find a balance. It’s a tough one.”

Musk, who has described himself as a “free-speech absolutist,” has faced growing criticism from groups, such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which have accused him of allowing antisemitic rhetoric to go largely unchecked on X. In a report published in May, the ADL found more than 5,000 examples from February of “virulent antisemitism” from accounts it tracked that were reinstated on X and described the platform’s content moderation policies as “inadequate.”

Musk has in turn accused the ADL, whose stated purpose is to combat antisemitism and hate, of “trying to kill this platform by falsely accusing it & me of being anti-Semitic” and threatened to sue the organization. He said earlier this month that the ADL was responsible for more than half of the decline in X’s revenue since he took over the platform.

Many experts, however, have pointed to changes, including new platform branding, and job cuts that Musk has made to the platform as key to the decline in its revenue. 

Musk responded to Netanyahu in the conversation Monday that he was “against attacking any group, you know, doesn’t matter who it is.” 

“I’m in favor of that which furthers civilization and which ultimately leads us to become a spacefaring civilization, and where we understand the nature of the universe,” Musk continued. “So we can’t do that if there’s a lot of infighting and, you know, and hatred and negativity. So, obviously, I’m against antisemitism. I’m against, anti- really anything … that promotes hate and conflict.”

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