Amid the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Elon Musk, the CEO of the social media platform "X" and SpaceX, has been embroiled in a controversy over allegations of allowing anti-Semitic content to proliferate on X. As part of a crisis management strategy, Musk visited Israel on Nov. 27 and committed to taking steps to halt the spread of anti-Semitic hatred.
To enhance Musk's understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli President Herzog held a private meeting with him. Musk was also taken on a tour of the southern Kfar Aza kibbutz area, which had been destroyed by Hamas, and had an interaction with Abigail Edan, a 4-year-old former hostage who had been released.
Following his visit, Musk expressed on X that actions speak louder than words. His visit coincided with the last day of a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Palestine. As Hamas further released hostages, both sides agreed to extend the ceasefire agreement by two days.
Additionally, Musk reached a "principle consensus" with Israeli authorities regarding the use of the Starlink satellite internet communication service. Operated by SpaceX, Starlink is a near-Earth orbit satellite network designed to provide internet services to regions with poor communication infrastructure.
At the onset of the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Musk had proposed using Starlink for communication with international aid organizations in Gaza. However, Israel's Minister of Communications, Karshi, initially rejected the proposal, fearing that Hamas would use Starlink for terrorist activities. During the Nov. 27 meeting, Karshi agreed to the operation of Starlink in Israel and the Gaza Strip, expressing hope that Musk's visit would strengthen his connection with Jewish people and values.
Since Musk's acquisition and renaming of Twitter to X last year, he has faced accusations from Jewish civil rights organizations like the Anti-Defamation League, claiming that he has allowed the rampant spread of anti-Semitic content on X. Musk has countered these accusations, arguing that the Anti-Defamation League unfairly targets most Western countries.
In a meeting with Netanyahu in September, Musk was urged to find a balance between protecting free speech and combating hate speech, ultimately aiming to eradicate the growing anti-Semitism.
Since the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Oct. 7, there has been a surge in anti-Semitic incidents in Europe and America, leading to increased scrutiny of X by Jewish civil rights organizations. The Anti-Defamation League reported that between Oct. 7 and 23, there were 312 anti-Semitic incidents in the United States alone, a 388% increase compared to the same period last year, with 190 incidents linked to the escalation of the conflict.
As anti-Semitic rhetoric and attacks have increased, X's operations have been affected. Musk has lost a significant amount of advertising due to the platform's anti-Semitic content.
On Nov. 15, a user on X posted a message accusing the Jewish community of harboring hatred towards white people, which was considered a typical anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. Musk retweeted this post, commenting that it was "speaking the truth." He later clarified that this type of hatred was not prevalent in all Jewish communities.
The next day, the pro-Israel media watchdog group Media Matters released a report stating that advertisements from major advertisers on X appeared alongside posts promoting Hitler and Nazi Germany. Following this, major brands like IBM and Comcast began withdrawing their advertisements. As of last Wednesday, at least a dozen major brands and organizations, including Disney, Fox Sports, and the European Union, had ceased advertising on X.
In response, X sued Media Matters, accusing the organization of defamation and harming its business interests. X explained that Media Matters had deliberately and frequently searched for keywords like "Nazi" on X, leading to the simultaneous appearance of related posts and advertisements. This, according to X, distorted the real user experience and misled advertisers.