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Elon Musk tentatively accepts rabbi’s invite to visit Auschwitz

The live-streamed event was prompted in part by growing tension between Musk and the Anti-Defamation League

Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 13: Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and X, speaks to reporters as he leaves the “AI Insight Forum” at the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on September 13, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Tesla founder Elon Musk suggested that he was open to visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp during a live-streamed event on antisemitism and free speech with conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro on the former’s platform, X, on Thursday.

Musk tentatively accepted the invitation from Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the chairman and founder of the European Jewish Association. Margolin’s offer was one of several given up by speakers during the event, some of whom invited Musk’s team to meet with their staffs and offered to serve as advisors on issues related to antisemitism.

The live-streamed event was prompted in part by growing tension between Musk and the Anti-Defamation League, which started after the organization pulled its advertisements from the social media site, citing increased antisemitic hate speech under Musk’s control; Musk hit back this month through a series of tweets — and threat of legal action — claiming ad revenue on X to be down 60% due to ADL pressure. A number of the speakers made jabs at the ADL  during their speaking time.

Others involved in the dialogue included former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, politician and human rights activist Natan Sharansky, Bnai Zion CEO Ari Lamm, lawyer and former Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. A late addition to the panel, incoming Israeli antisemitism envoy Michal Cotler-Wunsh, had technical difficulties and was not able to speak.

Most of the two hours covered Musk’s connection to the Jewish people — he at one point referred to himself as “aspirationally Jewish” and cited his friendships with Jews — and his mission for X to toe the line between allowing users to speak their minds freely and combating hate speech, without resorting to outright censorship — “One person’s hate speech,” he said, “is another person’s free speech, much of the time.”

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