The billionaire, Elon Musk, tried to mend fences with the Jewish state after endorsing a hateful message on his social media platform, X.
Elon Musk, the owner of X and the world’s richest person, visited Israel on Monday, meeting the country’s leaders and walking through a kibbutz destroyed by Hamas last month as he tried to calm outrage caused by his endorsement of an antisemitic post on his social media platform.
Musk, who also heads Tesla and SpaceX, arrived in Israel on Sunday night on his private jet and was greeted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog at Ben Gurion Airport. The three leaders then flew by helicopter to Kfar Aza, a kibbutz near the Gaza border that was attacked by Hamas militants on October 7, resulting in the deaths of more than 200 Israelis and the abduction of hundreds more.
Musk, accompanied by Netanyahu, walked through the kibbutz and saw the devastation left by the Hamas assault. He spoke with some of the survivors and expressed his condolences and solidarity. He also visited a nearby military base and thanked the Israeli soldiers for their efforts to defend the country.
Netanyahu’s office released a video of Musk’s visit to Kfar Aza, in which he said: “It was jarring to see the scene of the massacre or one of the scenes of the massacres. Frankly, that’s evil. And those who are intent on murder must be neutralized.”
Musk’s visit to Israel came after he faced widespread criticism for agreeing with an antisemitic post on X, the social media site he bought last year and renamed from Twitter. The post, which was published on November 15, claimed that Jewish communities push “dialectical hatred” against white people and accused the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of promoting racism against white and Asian people. Musk replied to the post, saying: “You have said the actual truth.”
Outrage and Condemnations
Musk’s endorsement of the antisemitic post sparked outrage from Jewish organizations, civil rights groups, politicians and celebrities, who condemned him for spreading hate and misinformation. The ADL called on Musk to apologize and retract his statement, saying that he was validating and promoting antisemitic theories.
Musk’s post also had financial consequences for X, as many major advertisers, including Disney, IBM, Apple, Comcast and Warner Bros. Discovery, paused or pulled their ads from the platform, citing concerns over the safety and quality of the content. According to a report by The New York Times, X could lose up to $75 million in ad revenue this year due to the backlash.
Musk, who has a net worth of around $250 billion, has defended his post and denied being antisemitic. He said he was “pro free speech” but against antisemitism “of any kind.” He also accused the ADL of scaring off advertisers by claiming that X was a haven for neo-Nazi and antisemitic voices. He threatened to sue the ADL for defamation, saying that the organization’s reports have hurt X’s business.
Musk’s visit to Israel was seen as an attempt to repair his image and relationship with the Jewish state, which is one of Tesla’s key markets in the Middle East. Israel is also a leader in innovation and technology, and Musk has expressed interest in collaborating with Israeli companies and researchers in the past. He visited Israel in 2018 and met with the founders of Mobileye, a company that develops sensors and software for autonomous vehicles.
Musk’s visit to Israel was not announced in advance and was kept secret until his departure on Monday night. He did not make any public statements or give any interviews during his stay. He also did not address the controversy over his antisemitic post or apologize for it. He only posted a few photos and videos of his visit on X, saying that he was “honored” to meet Netanyahu and Herzog and that he was “impressed” by Israel’s achievements.