Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began a visit to the United States in California, where he met with billionaire businessman Elon Musk to discuss antisemitism on his social networking platform X.
Musk also asked him about Israel’s judicial reform. In a poorly attended livestream event on Monday, the two also talked about artificial intelligence.
Netanyahu’s high-profile trip to the Bay Area coincides with Musk being accused of condoning anti-Semitic comments on his social media platform, while Netanyahu is dealing with domestic and international political opposition.
Early on Monday, protesters gathered in front of the Tesla automobile factory in Fremont, California.
Just before 9:30 a.m., the video webcast began. Netanyahu’s official X account announced that he is having a “one-on-one conversation” with Musk, the Tesla CEO.
Around 700–800 viewers were present at all times. The conversation immediately turned to how artificial intelligence may be both a benefit and a curse for humans when the two made a joke about deepfakes.
In relation to increasingly sophisticated AI, Netanyahu argued that one key concern is: “How do you get the international regime to control this thing?” To develop the benefits and “curb the curses,” he said, like-minded states must first agree on a code of ethics and conduct. However, he added that “policing the rules” will still be necessary.
Netanyahu told Musk that he hopes that within the parameters of the First Amendment he can find a way to rein in antisemitism and other forms of bigotry on his social media platform during their informal talk, which featured jokes from both men.
“I urge you to strike a balance, and I encourage you to do so. It’s a difficult decision, Netanyahu stated. Musk then restated the platform’s commitment to neither promote nor amplify hate speech, stating that with 100 million to 200 million postings on X in a day, “some of those are going to be bad.”
The former Twitter adjusted its policies under Musk such that offensive postings are typically not erased but instead have a limited audience so that people may still see them.
On his social media site, Musk is accused of permitting antisemitic remarks. A well-known Jewish civil rights group, the Anti-Defamation League, has charged Musk with enabling antisemitism and hate speech to proliferate on X. By lately interacting with them on X, its director, Jonathan Greenblatt, claimed that Musk had “amplified” the messages of neo-Nazis and white supremacists who want to abolish the league.
In a post on September 4, Musk stated that the league was “trying to kill this platform by falsely accusing it and me of being anti-Semitic.” In subsequent posts, he claimed that the league was to blame for a 60% decline in X’s income. Following Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, a variety of organizations, including the ADL, advised businesses to halt their Twitter advertising last year.
But Twitter-focused observers contend that the platform’s erratic adjustments, including the removal of its well-known brand name, have decreased interest from advertisers.
This month, the group met with Linda Yaccarino, the president and CEO of X. In recent posts, both Musk and Yaccarino have declared their opposition to anti-Semitism. George Soros, 93, has donated billions of dollars of his personal wealth to liberal and anti-authoritarian causes all over the world, making him a favorite target among many on the right.
On Sunday, however, Musk posted that Soros’ organization “appears to want nothing less than the destruction of western civilization.” The Jewish Hungarian-American has also been the target of anti-Semitic slurs and hoaxes for many years.
For a world leader, Netanyahu’s visit was remarkably Musk-focused. Itineraries for visiting political leaders frequently include stops at large tech firms like Apple, Google, or Meta in Silicon Valley.