Elon Musk defends X's record against antisemitism during Auschwitz tour

Kraków, Poland - Elon Musk on Monday took part in what he called an "incredibly moving" tour of Auschwitz and defended his X platform against accusations of antisemitism just weeks after sparking a political storm by endorsing an anti-Jewish conspiracy theory.

Elon Musk embarked on a tour of Auschwitz on Monday as he defended X against accusations of antisemitism.
Elon Musk embarked on a tour of Auschwitz on Monday as he defended X against accusations of antisemitism.  © Bartosz SIEDLIK / AFP

The European Jewish Association said Musk laid a wreath and participated in a memorial service at the former Nazi death camp alongside EJA chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin. Photos showed Musk at the site with his son on his shoulders.

"It was incredibly moving and deeply sad and tragic that humans could do this to other humans... It hits you much more in the heart when you see it in person," Musk said at a conference hosted by the EJA in nearby Krakow, southern Poland.

Musk apologized in November after responding "the actual truth" to a post on X, the former Twitter, that was criticized as echoing a white supremacist conspiracy theory about Jews. His gesture prompted some companies to pause ads on the platform.

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The tech tycoon has also faced accusations of a proliferation of hate speech on X since his $44-billion takeover of the social media site in October 2022. At the event on Monday, Musk defended his company.

“The outside audits that we've had done... show that there is the least amount of antisemitism on X if you look at all the other social apps," he said while speaking on a panel with right-wing political commentator Ben Shapiro.

The symposium saw senior political figures from European countries meet "to discuss and find solutions to the astronomical rises in antisemitism affecting Europe," the EJA said.

"This troubling trend" had been escalating since the Israel-Hamas war erupted, said the association.

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Elon Musk (l) brought his son as he took a tour of Auschwitz on Monday.
Elon Musk (l) brought his son as he took a tour of Auschwitz on Monday.  © REUTERS

The symposium came shortly before the 79th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27, a date that has become Holocaust Memorial Day.

One million European Jews died at the camp built by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland between 1940 and 1945, along with more than 100,000 non-Jews.

Margolin invited Musk to visit Auschwitz during a live broadcast on X in September, saying it would make "a very strong statement" that could contribute to "Holocaust awareness and the struggle to combat antisemitism."

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Musk agreed that it could be "helpful... as an example to others."

During the discussion, Musk described himself as "aspirationally Jewish" and said he had attended Hebrew pre-school.

"It's absurd to be accused of something when all the evidence points the other direction, and my entire life story is, in fact, prosemitic," he added at the time.

Musk has threatened to file suit against the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy group, over its claims that problematic and racist speech has soared on X since his takeover.

X Corp is also currently suing the non-profit Media Matters on the grounds that it has driven away advertisers by portraying the site as rife with antisemitic content.

Elon Musk previously faced backlash for endorsing antisemitic post

Elon Musk (second from r) faced widespread backlash for endorsing an antisemitic post on X in November 2023.
Elon Musk (second from r) faced widespread backlash for endorsing an antisemitic post on X in November 2023.  © REUTERS

The post endorsed by Musk in November said that Jewish communities advocated a "dialectical hatred against whites."

Musk's endorsement prompted a flood of departures from X of major advertisers, and the White House accused him of "abhorrent promotion" of antisemitism.

The social media titan later apologized for what he called "literally the worst and dumbest post that I've ever done."

He said it had been misinterpreted and that he had sought to clarify the remark in subsequent posts to the thread.

After the controversy, the Tesla and SpaceX tycoon visited Israel but said the trip had been planned earlier and was not an "apology tour."

Israel's President Isaac Herzog told the tech mogul he has "a huge role to play" to combat antisemitism.

"We need to fight it together because on the platforms which you lead, unfortunately, there's a harboring of a lot of... antisemitism," Herzog said.

Cover photo: Bartosz SIEDLIK / AFP

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