Elon Musk, under fire for antisemitism on X, visits Israel and tours ravaged kibbutz with Benjamin Netanyahu

by | Nov 28, 2023 | Other News

Philissa Cramer
(JTA) — Elon Musk, the tech titan who is under fire for his role in amplifying antisemitism on his social media platform X, visited Israel on Monday, Nov. 27 and toured the devastation at a kibbutz ravaged by Hamas on Oct. 7 alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Musk toured the kibbutz, where dozens of people were killed and an estimated 17 were kidnapped. Afterward, Musk and Netanyahu spoke live on X, formerly known as Twitter, about Musk’s reaction to seeing Kfar Aza and a video that Israel compiled showing footage from the day of the massacre.

Musk said the experience was “jarring” and that he was struck by what appeared to be “joy” on the part of the terrorists in the video.

“The rebuttal is often made that well, you know, Israel has killed civilians also in Gaza,” he said. “But there’s an important difference here, which is that Israel tries to avoid killing civilians, doing everything it can to avoid killing civilians. And, you know, there’s not sort of joy expressed.”

Musk also said that “there’s no choice” but for Israel to destroy Hamas, but that Israel then needs to “help those that remain,” likening a future postwar scenario to the post-World War II U.S. occupation of Germany and Japan.
Musk’s visit comes as he faces continued criticism over his engagement with antisemites on X and over the platform’s role in fueling misinformation about Oct. 7.
Multiple major advertisers dropped the platform after Musk called an endorsement of the antisemitic “Great Replacement” theory the “actual truth.” (After speaking with Musk, the Anti-Defamation League’s CEO praised Musk, who later tweeted that he would be donating X’s revenue associated with the war to hospitals in Israel and the Red Crescent in Gaza.)

A video released by Netanyahu’s office from Kfar Aza shows Musk, wearing a flak jacket, nodding somberly as he is shown a crib filled with spent bullets that has become a symbol of the kibbutz, walking through ruined homes, and viewing a video showing how Hamas terrorists breached the doors of families’ safe rooms. At several points, he raises his phone to take pictures.

Immediately after the tour, Musk tweeted, “Actions speak louder than words.” He then joined Netanyahu for the live chat, their second in recent months after a conversation focused on artificial intelligence and technology in California in September.

Their visit to Kfar Aza came a day after several hostages from the kibbutz returned to Israel as part of a temporary ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas. The newly freed include Avigail Mor Idan, a toddler who was abducted alone after her parents were killed, and who turned 4 in captivity, and the mother and three children of the Goldstein-Almog family, whose father and oldest daughter were murdered on Oct. 7.

The kibbutz has been the repeat site of tours for foreign leaders. Earlier this month, former British prime minister Boris Johnson and former Australian prime minister Scott Morrison visited and heard testimony from emergency responders. “It’s horrifying. People should not be mistaken about the savage attacks that occurred here,” Johnson said during his visit.