Musk Meets Netanyahu Next Week Amid Antisemitism Controversy

(Bloomberg) -- Elon Musk plans to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week in Silicon Valley as the world’s richest man faces increasing criticism over antisemitism on his social media platform X.

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The meeting will happen before Netanyahu attends the United Nations General Assembly in New York, according to Topaz Luk, a spokesperson for the premier. The Washington Post first reported the planned meeting.

It comes as both Musk and Netanyahu face intense public criticism. Musk is in an escalating row with the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group he accuses of undermining X’s advertising revenue. The ADL has, together with other civil rights watchdogs, highlighted a rise in extremist content on the platform formerly known as Twitter after Musk took it over last year and fired most of its staff.

Musk earlier this month threatened to sue the ADL and has liked X posts that used a “BantheADL” hashtag. Last week Musk said he’s “pro free speech” but against “anti-Semitism of any kind.”

The ADL said in a statement that Israel and Jews are frequently targets of “hateful anti-Zionist, and antisemitic invectives” on X and that it hopes Netanyahu and Musk have “a productive meeting” and talk about ways to combat hate speech on the platform.

For Netanyahu, the meeting comes after his efforts to weaken Israel’s judiciary have sparked months of protests that are supported by many of the country’s tech entrepreneurs.

The prime minister, who has long cast himself as the leader who transformed Israel’s economy into a business-friendly tech hub, has recently sought to showcase the country’s potential in the field of artificial intelligence.

Netanyahu’s office in June said he spoke on the phone with Musk about AI.

Israeli tech workers living in the Bay Area are planning a demonstration to coincide with the premier’s visit on Monday, according to Offir Gutelzon, who is helping organize the protest.

--With assistance from Ethan Bronner.

(Updates with statement from ADL in fifth paragraph)

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