In an apparent attempt to allay criticism following his support of an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory on X, the social networking platform he controls, Elon Musk flew to Israel on Monday and spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He also visited the site of a Hamas attack.
Many big-name companies pulled their ads from X after Elon Musk agreed with a post this month accusing Jewish groups of inciting “hatred against Whites that they claim they want people to stop using against them.” Mr. Musk’s “abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate” was criticized by the White House.
After arriving in Israel on Tuesday, Elon Musk posted on X with the statement, “Actions speak louder than words.” Donning a flak jacket, he took a tour of Kfar Azza, an Israeli kibbutz that saw numerous casualties from the October 7 terrorist strike carried out by Hamas.
In a video released by Mr. Netanyahu’s office, the two leaders were shown exploring the charred remains of a house while strolling through the village in the rain with security guards. Giving Mr. Musk a tour, according to Mr. Netanyahu on X, was “to show him up close the crimes against humanity committed by Hamas.”
In an interview with Mr. Netanyahu that aired on X, Mr. Musk described the trip to Kfar Azza as “jarring” and claimed to have seen video from the Oct. 7.
Mr. Netanyahu spent the majority of the talk outlining the reasons for the Gaza war. Mr. Musk agreed that it was critical to “get rid of the ones who are hellbent on murdering Jewish people,” but he also stressed the importance of minimizing civilian losses in the enclave.
Mr. Musk also stated that it is difficult to combat “the type of propaganda that is convincing people to commit murder.” During the interview, Mr. Netanyahu did not bring up Mr. Musk’s social media post, and Mr. Musk did not mention it, nor did he mention the importance of X in changing public perceptions.
The X owner is scheduled to meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog later on Monday.
Mr. Musk’s visit comes at a time when he is under fire for tolerating and even inciting antisemitic harassment on his social media platform. He has insulted investor George Soros, who is a frequent victim of antisemitic abuse, and threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League, a rights organization that has exposed the growth in antisemitism on X.
The firm has stated that concerns about anti-Semitic messages on the platform are exaggerated.
Israel also appeared to negotiate an agreement with Mr. Musk this month on his proposal to put Starlink, his satellite internet service, in Gaza for relief agencies to use during cellular and internet outages. Palestinians blame Israel for the communications breakdowns.
Shlomo Karhi, Israel’s communications minister, said on Monday that Mr. Musk agreed not to enable access to the system in Israel and Gaza without the permission of his ministry. “This comprehension is critical,” Mr. Karhi wrote on X.