Musk visits Israel amid X antisemitism backlash: Here’s what’s behind it

World News

Billionaire Elon Musk met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a war-torn Israeli town on Monday, calling for a stop to pro-Hamas propaganda, as the X owner faces sweeping blowback over his endorsement of a post deemed antisemitic and as companies pull ads from the social media giant over reported antisemitism on the platform.
Musk tours Kfar Aza in southern Israel, location targeted in Hamas' Oct. 7 surprise attack

Elon Musk and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in the Kfar Aza settlements in southern Israel.

Anadolu via Getty Images

Key Takeaways
  • In a meeting with Netanyahu less than two miles from the Gaza Strip in the Israeli town of Kfar Aza, Musk condemned Gaza-based militant group Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel, telling the Israeli prime minister “it’s one thing obviously if civilians die accidentally, but it’s another thing to revel in the joy of killing civilians.”
  • Musk also called for a stop to “propaganda that is convincing people to engage in murder,” and added: “Those that are intent on murder must be neutralized.”
  • Musk has faced mounting concerns over reports of rising antisemitism and hate speech on the platform, including accusations from a group of 30 House Democrats, who claimed last week—citing analysis from nonprofit research groups—that the company formerly known as Twitter has profited off pro-Hamas propaganda, including “uncensored videos depicting the desecration of corpses” (X did not respond to Forbes’ request for comment).
  • Musk has also faced heavy pushback for reposting a thread from a user who claimed “Jewish communities have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them”—the White House later condemned Musk’s comments, with spokesperson Andrew Bates calling those comments an “abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate.”
  • X also came under fire earlier this month after a bombshell report from left-wing media watchdog Media Matters revealed advertisements from Apple, IBM, Oracle and Xfinity appeared on the site beside pro-Nazi content and posts lauding Adolf Hitler—Musk later threatened a “thermonuclear” lawsuit against the left-wing media watchdog.
  • More than a dozen major advertisers, including Apple, Disney, IBM, Fox Sports, Lionsgate, Xfinity and the European Commission, have since suspended advertising on the site, with IBM issuing a statement saying it has “zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination,” marking the latest wave of advertisers to leave the platform after another group jumped ship late last year over concerns of rising hate speech.
News Peg

Musk, who also co-founded and serves as the CEO of SpaceX, reached a “principle understanding” with Israeli officials to operate the space exploration company’s Starlink internet satellites in the Gaza strip with the Israeli government’s approval, according to a statement on X from Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi.

Musk had vowed to make the satellite service accessible for aid organizations in Gaza amid calls for humanitarian support and after a widespread communications blackout throughout Gaza following Israel’s invasion of the Palestinian territory. The agreement marks a policy reversal for Karhi, who argued late last month Hamas would use Starlink “for terrorist activities” if Musk activated the service in Gaza.

Musk had also admitted late last month he had faced pressure from global leaders to make the satellite service available after Israeli rockets knocked out internet connection in the territory.

Chief Critic

X Corp. filed its lawsuit against Media Matters last week, arguing the media watchdog’s report “completely misrepresented the real experience on X.” In the suit, filed in U.S. district court in Texas, the company also argued “Media Matters knowingly and maliciously manufactured side-by-side images” of advertisements next to “Neo Nazi and white-nationalist fringe content” (Media Matters President Angelo Carusone defended the report and lambasted the complaint as a “frivolous lawsuit meant to bully X’s critics into silence”).


Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of X who has faced calls to resign amid concerns over rising antisemitism and hate speech on the social media platform, seemed to defend Musk in a post last week, saying the company has seen “detractors and fabricated distractions.” Yaccarino, who was named CEO earlier this year, also reiterated her defense of the platform, saying she believes “deeply in our vision, our team and our community.”

Forbes Valuation

We estimate Musk—who also owns electric vehicle giant Tesla and SpaceX—has a net worth of roughly $241.1 billion, making him the world’s richest person.

This story was first published on and all figures are in USD.

More from Forbes Australia