In the bustling tech hub of San Francisco, an intriguing meeting is set to unfold. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit the city next week, and one of his prominent appointments is with none other than Tesla’s enigmatic CEO, Elon Musk. This encounter comes at a time when Musk’s social media platform, X, has been marred by allegations of amplifying antisemitism, a contentious backdrop that adds intrigue to the meeting.
Elon Musk is a figure accustomed to controversy, a reputation that was further solidified when he acquired Twitter, subsequently rebranding it as X. The platform, post-acquisition, faced mounting accusations of propagating hate speech, with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) being one of its most vocal critics. Musk and the ADL found themselves locked in a bitter feud over these allegations.
As reported by The Times of Israel, Netanyahu’s visit to Silicon Valley precedes his appearance at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Sources close to the Prime Minister’s office have disclosed his intention to engage in a series of meetings with leading figures in the artificial intelligence sector during his visit. Among these luminaries is Elon Musk, who recently participated in the AI Insight forum. This high-profile event, hosted by US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, brought together tech titans like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Following the discussions, Musk expressed optimism about the potential outcomes.
In Musk’s own words, “It was a very civilized discussion among some of the smartest people in the world. I thought Senator Schumer did a great service to humanity here, with the support of the rest of the Senate, and I think something good will come of this. This meeting may go down in history as being very important for the future of civilization.”
Musk also emphasized the unanimous support for AI regulation among the forum participants. He underscored the gravity of potential AI mishaps, stating, “The consequences of AI going wrong are severe, so we have to be proactive rather than reactive.”
Notably, despite Musk’s ongoing public dispute with the ADL, Netanyahu has consistently offered support to the Tesla and SpaceX CEO. Over the years, the two have crossed paths multiple times, and Netanyahu, in 2018, hailed Musk as a “genius” and “a man of vision, perhaps the greatest technological visionary of our time.” Netanyahu’s government further came to Musk’s defense in May when the CEO criticized Jewish megadonor George Soros.
During this controversy, the Foreign Ministry, the ADL, and other Jewish organizations accused Musk of fueling antisemitism with his words. In response, Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli clarified that Musk’s criticism was aimed solely at Soros, not the Jewish population, stating, “As Israel’s minister entrusted with combating antisemitism, I would like to clarify that the Israeli government and the vast majority of Israeli citizens see Elon Musk as an amazing entrepreneur and a role model. Criticism of Soros – who finances the most hostile organizations to the Jewish people and the state of Israel – is anything but antisemitism, quite the opposite!”