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In the wake of the #BanTheADL movement catching fire on Twitter/X, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly planning to fly to Silicon Valley to personally meet with X owner Elon Musk and discuss “anti-Semitism” on his social media platform.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to fly to the heart of Silicon Valley on Monday to meet with X owner Elon Musk in an effort to help ease an escalating crisis over antisemitism on the struggling social media platform.
The meeting is the latest step in a campaign by Musk’s Jewish friends and allies, and executives of his social media company, to stave off the mounting controversy, according to five people familiar with the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share behind-the-scenes conversations.
This summer, Netanyahu smoothed things over in a conversation with Musk after the X owner repeated antisemitic tropes about Jewish financier George Soros. Netanyahu’s government minister tasked with fighting antisemitism made of point of saying that Musk’s comments were not antisemitic, despite widespread outcry in Israel.
Soros is just a little “financier” and the ADL is just a little “nonprofit in New York.”
Exactly! The ADL is extremely powerful in the west, as demonstrated by our massive drop in US advertising, while Asia advertising has actually grown slightly.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 6, 2023
The fact the Prime Minister of Israel is flying to Silicon Valley himself to try and exert influence over Musk is apparently supposed to be indicative of nothing.
The latest crisis — one of many in the drama-filled 11 months since Musk bought the company then known as Twitter — was sparked by a Sept. 4 tweet in which Musk accused a prominent Jewish organization of “trying to kill” the platform with false accusations of antisemitism. Since then, Musk has issued more than a dozen tweets critical of the Anti-Defamation League, saying the 110-year-old human rights organization was largely responsible for a 60 percent drop in advertising revenue and that he was planning to sue the group.
As the crisis has ballooned, Jewish business leaders including Joe Lonsdale, who co-founded the tech company Palantir and is a friend of Musk, have stepped in to broker peace, while X CEO Linda Yaccarino has gone into damage control mode.
Though Musk’s Sept. 4 tweet caught Yaccarino and other executives off guard, leaders at X had been considering suing the ADL over what they believed were misrepresentations of the level of hate speech on the platform.
Yaccarino has since sprung into action: writing a blog post and exchanging text messages with ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. The moment may prove to be an early test of the relationship between the erratic billionaire and his handpicked CEO, who was hired to placate advertisers and now finds herself cleaning up some of the damage done by her boss.
“X opposes antisemitism in all its forms,” Yaccarino tweeted on Sept. 8. “Antisemitism is evil and X will always work to fight it on our platform.”
They also announced they were going to censor more people and banned a few users who took part in the #BanTheADL campaign and shared some stuff from Nick Fuentes (who was also banned on a burner account).
Musk did not respond to a request for comment for this story, and X referred further questions to Yaccarino’s public statements.
The Netanyahu meeting, which is being hastily planned for this coming Monday and is expected to include other tech leaders, adds an international dimension to the controversy, said one of the people familiar with the meeting. The Israeli prime minister, who is facing a domestic crisis over his efforts to revamp Israel’s judicial system, has positioned his relationship with Silicon Valley leaders like Musk as important for the future of the “start-up nation” of Israel.
[…] On Aug. 30, Yaccarino had a virtual meeting with Greenblatt. Both sides viewed the session as cordial and productive, according to the people briefed on the meeting, and Greenblatt and Yaccarino praised the dialogue in separate tweets.
[…] In an interview, Greenblatt said that his organization was accustomed to being on the receiving end of hateful attacks. But Musk’s actions took the vitriol to another level.
“We’ve gotten bomb threats. Our offices have been swatted. None of that is new,” he said. “But this was an onslaught. There was something different about this tsunami of hate.”
He said his organization had not actively promoted the advertiser boycott in recent months.
Amid the crisis, wealthy Jewish leaders tried to help defuse the situation, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. Lonsdale and Steve Rattner, an investor who manages former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg’s assets, both reached out to ADL.
“He doesn’t hate Jews, but he’s a fighter and when you punch him, he is going to punch back,” said one of the people familiar with the outreach. “Part of who he is is an aggressive force of nature. He doesn’t understand the second-order effects.”
But behind the scenes, Yaccarino and other executives were working with Musk to plan for a potential lawsuit against ADL. The proposed lawsuit, which has not been filed, would dispute the methodologies used by the ADL and other advocacy groups as evidence that inaccurate, hateful and violent posts have surged on X, according to one of the people familiar with the plans. It would make allegations similar to those in a lawsuit the company filed last month against another advocacy group, the Center for Countering Digital Hate. The nonprofit’s CEO, Imran Ahmed, said he also had a private meeting with Yaccarino shortly before Musk sued.
[…] It was unclear Thursday what might come of the Musk-Netanyahu meeting. People familiar with the event said it was still coming together.
The incongruence with the ADL claiming they’re just a small “nonprofit from New York” but then they have the Prime Minister of Israel lobbying Musk personally on their behalf is just hilarious.
This reminds of the time Netanyahu gave an interview laughing off Kanye “Ye” West’s comments only to send the President of Israel to meet with Biden at the White House to discuss how to respond to the controversy two weeks later.
That said, Musk addressed the report on Thursday and said the “discussion was planned several weeks ago and is about AI, not the Defamation League (they dropped the ‘A’).”
This discussion was planned several weeks ago and is about AI, not the Defamation League (they dropped the “A”)— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 14, 2023
We will see if Netanyahu brings it up. There’s going to be other people at the meeting and I’m sure the content will leak out.
For his part, Musk has continued to criticize the ADL on X and addressed their censorship on Tuesday at the All-In Summit in Los Angeles.
No kidding … https://t.co/XjA0GASc81— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 14, 2023
Musk released some of the details of the ADL’s behind the scenes pressure campaign against X last week and claimed more dirt would be released in the come days and weeks. So far, no additional dirt has been released.
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