Elon Musk paid a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in Poland on Monday. He said the tragedy of the Holocaust “hits you much more in the heart when you see it in person.”
His visit comes a few days prior Holocaust Memorial Day (January 27) and after Musk’s social media network X has been a target of criticism for being a “breeding ground for antisemitism.” Musk has threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for making such accusations, claiming they led to a decrease in advertising revenue on the platform. He later backtracked the intent.
Musk toured the Nazi site along with his three-year-old son, conservative Jewish pundit Ben Shapiro who is the co-founder of the Daily Wire, and chair of The European Jewish Association Rabbi Menachem Margolin. They laid a wreath at the wall of death and took part in a short memorial ceremony.
In a live-streamed on-stage conversation with Shapiro that followed the tour, Musk insisted that his platform has the “least amount of antisemitism” compared to other social media platforms.
“The outside audits that we have had done … show that there is the least amount of antisemitism on X, if you look at all the other social apps,” he said.
Shapiro then added that TikTok’s algorithm contributes to the spread of “pro-Hamas propaganda.”
Musk himself has faced backlash over an endorsement of an antisemitic post last year. He now admitted to “being somewhat frankly naïve” about the rise in antisemitism.
“In the circles that I move, I see almost no antisemitism,” he explained.
“I grew up around a lot of Jewish people, I went to Hebrew preschool in South Africa, my name is pretty Jewish… I went to Israel when I was 13… visited Masada… most of my friends are Jewish, it worked out that way… sometimes I forget ‘Am I Jewish?’ I’m aspirationally Jewish.”
The last time Musk visited in Israel was during the war, in late November. He toured Israeli communities in the south with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saw the destruction first-hand, as well as watched the many videos of Hamas atrocities.
“The most shocking thing was to see the delight in killing innocent people,” he told Shapiro.
“There was no remorse, quite the opposite. That requires a level of indoctrination that is extremely intense. To address that, you have to solve the source of the indoctrination,” Musk lambasted the Palestinian education.
Both Musk and Shapiro drew parallels between antisemitic tropes about “Jewish power” controlling the world and more contemporary group identity ideologies, such as DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion).
Shapiro stressed it suggests that “all of society is a pyramid of group identity and at the very top are the people who are successful and that those people are exploiting everybody else… and we can tell who is successful by the group identity, not by their level of success.”
Musk argues that the DEI ideology goes “against merit, and thus it’s fundamentally antisemitic.”
“I think we really need to stop this principle that normally the weaker party is always right. This is simply not true,” he said. “If some of these weaker groups want to annihilate you, that does not make them good. We have to get rid of the rule that if you are weaker, you’re automatically good. That makes no sense.”
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