The tech mogul was non-committal about removing antisemitism on X, even as the Israeli prime minister praises him for condemning it
By Meir Dolev, World Israel News
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday defended Elon Musk against antisemitism charges, but said it was the tech mogul’s responsibility to curb it on his platform, X, to which the latter gave a non-committal and generic response about hate speech in general.
“I know your opposition to antisemitism. You’ve spoken about it, tweeted about it. All I can say is, I hope you will find — within the confines of the First Amendment — the ability to stop not only antisemitism or roll it back as best you can, but the collective hatred of people that antisemitism represents. And I know you’re committed to that. I hope to help you succeed. It’s not an easy task, but I agree with you to find a balance. It’s a tough one,” Netanyahu told Musk during a conversation that was broadcast live on the Israeli premier’s first day in California.
Musk responded: “I’m against antisemitism, I’m against anti-anything that promotes hate and conflict. And I’m in favor of that which helps both society and take us to a better future for humanity collectively.
He added, “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, it’s not free speech. That doesn’t mean some sort of negativity should be pushed on people.”
Netanyahu then raised the issue of bots amplifying antisemitism on social media.
“Condemnation is separate from the question of access,” he said.
Musk said hate speech was the main reason that he was seeking to implement a nominal monthly payment – a “few dollars” – to fight the army of bots.
The Anti-Defamation League has been at loggerheads with Musk over allegations of antisemitism on X, formerly known as Twitter, leading Musk to threaten to sue the U.S. group over claims the ADL’s condemnation caused a sharp drop in advertising revenues. Amid an uptick in posts attacking the organization last weekend, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt responded to Musk’s threats to sue the ADL, calling him “dangerous and irresponsible.”
Elsewhere in Monday’s conversation, Netanyahu said that his government’s original judicial reform plan was a “mistake” that would have “mov[ed] the pendulum from one side to the other.”
Musk, pointing to anti-government protesters outside, said he had received “the most amount of negative pushback from people at Tesla about this interview than anything else I’ve ever done.”
Netanyahu, remarked that most of the protesters did not even understand the reform plan.
“Israel was, is, and will always be a robust democracy,” Netanyahu said.
Thirty years ago the balance of powers in Israel “began to change. And we have the most activist judicial court on the planet… Democracy is supposed to be checks and balances of the three branches on each other. In Israel, the judiciary has no checks and no balances. It just has power. So there is a request to try to bring it back into line and that has been sort of boiling all the time.”
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