Elon Musk, under fire for endorsing antisemitic comments, says during Israel trip that he'd like to help rebuild Gaza

Billionaire Elon Musk said that he’d like to help rebuild Gaza after the war with Hamas in a conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, part of a day-long series of meetings with political leaders in Israel. 

It’s important to first “deradicalize” the Palestinian territories, similar to how other Arab states have become more moderate in recent years, including Saudi Arabia, Netanyahu said in a live discussion broadcast on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, on Monday. 

Musk, who is under fire for amplifying antisemitic content on X, is meeting with Israeli officials and toured the Kfar Aza kibbutz where some of the worst violence occurred on Oct. 7, when Hamas militants broke through the country’s border barriers and attacked civilians. Musk described seeing bullet shell casings in cribs on the tour. 

Still, Israeli leaders stopped short of publicly chastising Musk. Netanyahu didn’t address the latest antisemitism row on X in the approximately 20-minute broadcast on X. Benny Gantz, an opposition leader and member of the three-man war cabinet, and President Isaac Herzog emphasized the dangers of letting hatred fester in their public comments.

“We need to fight it together because on the platforms which you lead, unfortunately, there’s a harboring of a lot of all the hate, which is Jew hatred, of antisemitism,” Herzog said in a memo of the meeting provided by the government. “It always starts with the Jews, it never ends with the Jews.”  

After watching footage of the attack by Hamas, designated a terrorist group by the US and European Union, Musk called the apparent joy expressed by the killers “evil” and “jarring.” Israel has been showing footage of the attack by Hamas in screenings around the world.

Musk has defended himself from what he labeled “bogus media stories” after he endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory earlier this month on X. Major brands including Apple Inc. and Walt Disney Co. have stopped advertising on his social media platform over concerns of increasing antisemitism and hate speech since he took over Twitter last year. 

The political storm over hate speech on X hasn’t subsided, despite Musk’s warm welcome in Israel. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo wrote in an op-ed on Monday that she was quitting X because it had become a site full of disinformation, antisemitism, overt racism and organized harassment. 

“In recent years, Twitter has become the weapon of mass destruction for our democracies,” she wrote in the editorial, which she also posted to X. “The platform and its owner act deliberately to exacerbate tensions and conflicts.”

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