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Tue Sep 19, 2023, 01:22 AM

Benjamin Netanyahu and Elon Musk Meet, as Both Seek to Deflect Criticism

Mr. Netanyahu, the Israeli leader, flew to California, where he met with Mr. Musk, the owner of X, formerly Twitter. In a live broadcast, the men discussed antisemitism, Israel’s judicial crisis and artificial intelligence.



Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, center, at a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem this month.Credit...Pool photo by Ohad Zwigenberg

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and Elon Musk, the owner of X, the social media platform formerly called Twitter, have both faced intense scrutiny and criticism for most of the year. Mr. Netanyahu has been the target of a nine-month wave of mass protests against his deeply contentious effort to reduce the power of Israel’s Supreme Court. Mr. Musk has been accused, among other things, of tolerating and even encouraging a surge of antisemitic abuse on X.

On Monday morning, the two men sought to find a respite from those furors — in each other’s company. Mr. Netanyahu, beginning a weeklong trip to the United States, took a 15-hour overnight flight to California, where the men met at a factory for Tesla, Mr. Musk’s electric car company, and broadcast an unusual, hourlong conversation live on X that allowed them to deflect from their respective crises.

The discussion was jocular, if disjointed. At some points the two men were expressing mutual admiration, at others they were delving into the perils and opportunities of artificial intelligence. The conversation also allowed Mr. Musk to defend against accusations of antisemitism, and Mr. Netanyahu to give a positive spin to his judicial overhaul, which critics say has undermined Israel’s democracy by reducing oversight over the government. “Balance between the three branches of government — that’s what I’m trying to achieve, nothing more,” Mr. Netanyahu said. Turning to Mr. Musk, he added, “It’s not an easy thing to be maligned — I know you’ve never seen that, right?” “Me, maligned?" Mr. Musk said, laughing. “Never.”

For Mr. Netanyahu, an encounter with the world’s richest man — partly to promote tech investment in Israel — allowed him to dismiss claims that his judicial overhaul had put off investors and harmed Israel’s start-up ecosystem. “I have helped reform the Israeli economy from a semi-socialist economy to one of the most vibrant, free-market economies,” Mr. Netanyahu said. For Mr. Musk, the meeting with the leader of the world’s only Jewish state gave him a chance to deflect a barrage of criticism from American Jews who say he has allowed X to become a vessel for antisemitic hatred.


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Reply Benjamin Netanyahu and Elon Musk Meet, as Both Seek to Deflect Criticism (Original post)
Celerity Tuesday OP
JohnSJ Tuesday #1
Celerity Tuesday #2
JohnSJ Tuesday #4
pecosbob Tuesday #3

Response to Celerity (Original post)

Tue Sep 19, 2023, 02:15 AM

1. The Washington Post seems to present the story different than the NY Times

The Washington Post described Musk as sidestepping any antisemitic denouncement

“While the meeting was largely cordial, Musk sidestepped Netanyahu’s call to forcefully denounce anti-Jewish hatred, which research shows has spiked on the platform since Musk bought it nearly a year ago. Musk has restored accounts previously banned for hate speech and has repeatedly criticized a prominent Jewish human rights organization, stoking a recent wave of antisemitic attacks.”


“ Musk told Netanyahu that, while he’s personally against antisemitism, “free speech does at times mean that someone you don’t like is saying something you don’t like. If you don’t have that, then it’s not free speech.” He did not address his own role in promoting it.”

Funny how The NY Times seems to gloss over the seemingly unfettered hate content being spewed on his platform

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Response to JohnSJ (Reply #1)

Tue Sep 19, 2023, 02:56 AM

2. From the NYT article:

Antisemitic posts on X, then known as Twitter, rose by more than 100 percent in the months following Mr. Musk’s purchase of the platform in October 2022, according to joint research by two British groups. Mr. Musk has also set off alarms by threatening to sue the Anti-Defamation League, a rights watchdog that has highlighted the rise in antisemitism on X. Mr. Musk blames the group for a large drop in advertising revenue for the site.

Since his $44 billion takeover of X in 2022, Mr. Musk has rolled back content moderation rules and dismissed many employees responsible for enforcing those rules. Mr. Musk has instead pushed for an anything-goes approach when it comes to the kinds of speech allowed on X and has said that the company was too restrictive under its former management. His stance has spooked major advertisers, who wish to avoid placing their brands next to contentious posts, and many of them halted their advertising campaigns on the platform after Mr. Musk’s takeover.

“The ADL has been trying to kill this platform by falsely accusing it & me of being anti-Semitic,” Mr. Musk wrote in a post earlier this month, referring to the Anti-Defamation League. He also set off outcries by appearing to call for the prosecution of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who helped lead U.S. efforts to fight the coronavirus; criticizing a disabled employee who had recently been dismissed; and attacking George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist who is a frequent target of antisemitic conspiracy theories.

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Response to Celerity (Reply #2)

Tue Sep 19, 2023, 08:06 AM

4. Thanks for the complete context. I was unable to view the link.

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Tue Sep 19, 2023, 03:12 AM

3. Okay...fascist megalomaniacs express mutual admiration.

Netanyahu has done more to foster anti-Israeli sentiment than anyone else I can think of in recent times.

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