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Elon Musk visits Auschwitz amid allegations of spreading antisemitism on X

Just weeks after endorsing an anti-Jewish conspiracy theory online, Musk visits Auschwitz and speaks at a conference on combating antisemitism online
Elon Musk visits Auschwitz concentration camp alongside conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, Holocaust survivor Gidon Lev and Rabbi Menachem Margolin (AFP)

Tech billionaire Elon Musk and right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp on Monday and spoke at a conference in Krakow on combating antisemitism online. 

Following an invitation in September by Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European Jewish Association (EJA), Musk arrived at the site on Monday morning with one of his sons. 

Joined by Shapiro, Rabbi Margolin and Holocaust survivor Gidon Lev, the group was given a private tour in which Musk laid a wreath and participated in a memorial service. 

Conservative political commentator and chief editor of the Daily Wire, Shapiro enjoys broad support among conservative millennials and Gen-Zers and has been one of the most popular outlets of the far-right. 

He has gained notoriety, having argued in the past that the “Islamic civilization is inferior to the West" and that "the Palestinian Arab population is rotten to the core". 

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In his 2003 column, "Transfer is not a dirty word", Shapiro stated that "expelling a hostile population is a commonly-used and generally effective way of preventing violent entanglements".

Antisemitism allegations 

Since Musk's 2022 purchase of X, formerly known as Twitter, he has continuously faced allegations by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a staunchly Zionist Jewish civil rights organisation, for allowing antisemitic rhetoric to spread on his social media platform. 

The ADL has a long history of describing Palestinian rights movements as antisemitic and has previously worked with US law enforcement to spy on Arab-American groups, among others. It has also facilitated and funded US police training trips to Israel.

The ADL has also denounced Black rights organisations, including the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL). In 2016, not long after the founding of the Black Lives Matter movement, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt published a letter in New York Jewish Week highlighting and condemning the movement's solidarity work with Palestinian activists.

In September last year, Musk threatened to file a lawsuit against the ADL, on grounds of defamation.

The most recent outcry was sparked in November 2023, when Musk commented with the words "the actual truth" under a post on X that endorsed a white supremacist and anti-Jewish conspiracy theory accusing Jews of hating white people. 

A report was released by the non-profit watchdog group, Media Matters, with evidence of ads next to posts that supported Nazism. 

X was subsequently hit with major ad boycotts by brands such as Apple, Disney and IBM, and Musk has since filed a lawsuit against Media Matters. 

Musk later apologised for the comment, calling it the “most foolish” post he has ever done. 

Later that month, Musk was seen alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a tour of the Kfar Aza Kibbutz in southern Israel that was targeted by Hamas on the 7th of October.

Musk described his experience as "jarring" and commented that “there’s no choice” but for Israel to destroy Hamas.

At the EJA conference in Krakow on Monday, Musk claimed that his platform exhibits "lower amounts of antisemitic content compared with other applications", according to audits X has commissioned itself, Reuters reported.

Upon being asked by Shapiro where the "attempts of painting Musk, or X, as antisemitic, are coming from", Musk responded that "the legacy media are direct competitors with X and will try every angle to try and cancel X." 

The Tesla CEO also reiterated that "it's only me doing these posts on X and I would recommend for leaders of the world to just literally post your own stuff".

"And once in a while you make a mistake, don't worry about it", he added. 

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