Whereas the assembly was largely cordial, Musk repeatedly declined Netanyahu’s name to forcefully denounce anti-Jewish hatred, which analysis reveals has spiked on the platform since Musk purchased it almost a 12 months in the past. Musk has restored accounts beforehand banned for hate speech and has repeatedly criticized a outstanding Jewish human rights group, stoking a current wave of antisemitic assaults.
Musk informed Netanyahu that, whereas he’s personally in opposition to antisemitism, “free speech does at instances imply that somebody you don’t like is saying one thing you don’t like. In case you don’t have that, then it’s not free speech.” He didn’t tackle his personal function in selling it.
The assembly got here as every chief appears to be like to the opposite to assist fend off escalating criticism. The pair had stated their assembly was supposed to debate synthetic intelligence, however the dialog shortly veered to antisemitism and likewise touched on Iran in addition to protests in each Israel and the US in opposition to Netanyahu’s authorities.
Protesters who adopted Netanyahu’s motorcade from the San Jose airport to the manufacturing unit 17 miles north deliberate to proceed protesting in San Francisco’s Union Sq.. Sunday night time, Netanyahu critics projected “Welcome to Alcatraz Bibi” on the wall of the jail that’s considered one of San Francisco’s most iconic landmarks.
For Netanyahu, the assembly with one of many world’s most outstanding tech entrepreneurs comes amid outcry that his controversial push to overtake Israel’s judiciary dangers scaring off worldwide traders and the tech neighborhood that has given Israel its status as a “start-up nation.” In remarks made in Israel earlier than his departure for California, Netanyahu known as Musk “the present chief of essentially the most dramatic growth within the new age and maybe typically,” apparently referring to AI, and stated he’ll “work towards encouraging him to spend money on Israel within the coming years.”
For Musk, a private go to from Netanyahu supplied an opportunity to counter allegations of antisemitism after a collection of tweets during which he blamed the Anti-Defamation League for attempting to destroy X and threatened a lawsuit in opposition to the nonprofit. Analysis has discovered that antisemitic speech has risen dramatically on the platform since Musk acquired it final fall, and ADL leaders have stated Musk’s current criticism of the group has additional stoked hate on-line and off.
However on Monday, Musk twice handed up Netanyahu’s requests for a forceful, particular condemnation of antisemitism, pivoting as an alternative to the significance of free speech and combating bots on X.
“Usually, I imply, I’m type of in opposition to attacking any group,” Musk stated. “You already know, it doesn’t matter who it’s.”
He went on, “I’m in favor of that which furthers civilization and which in the end leads us to develop into a spacefaring civilization, the place we perceive the character of the universe. So we are able to’t try this if there’s plenty of infighting and, you realize, hatred and negativity. So, you realize, clearly I’m in opposition to antisemitism. I’m in opposition to anti, actually, something that promotes hate and battle.”
When Musk shifted to the significance of permitting free speech, Netanyahu politely pushed again.
“It doesn’t cease you from popping out, as you’ve, as I do in each doable type, and condemn antisemitism,” Netanyahu stated. “The condemnation is sort of separate from the query of entry.”
Musk spoke as an alternative about X’s newly introduced plan to supply a decrease pricing tier for its paid subscription service, which he described as “the one means I can consider to fight huge armies of bots,” together with those who amplify hateful content material.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, stated in a press release, “We respect PM Netanyahu for elevating issues concerning the proliferation of antisemitism on X/Twitter throughout his dialog with Elon Musk. We hope that Mr. Musk takes PM Netanyahu’s issues significantly in order that X/Twitter can develop into a safer and extra welcome place for all.”
It isn’t the primary time Musk and Netanyahu have spoken amid controversy over Musk’s dalliances with antisemitic tropes. This summer time, Netanyahu smoothed issues over in a dialog with Musk after the X proprietor in contrast the Jewish financier George Soros, a frequent goal of antisemitic conspiracy theories, to the Jewish X-Males villain Magneto. Netanyahu’s authorities minister tasked with combating antisemitism made a of level of claiming that Musk’s feedback weren’t antisemitic, regardless of widespread outcry in Israel. The 2 spoke about AI on the time, in response to experiences.
Netanyahu’s traveled to the US for the annual assembly of the U.N. Normal Meeting, the place he’s anticipated to talk on Thursday. The go to to California was a late addition to Netanyahu’s itinerary.
Early in Monday’s assembly, the 2 discovered frequent floor of their concern over the potential for synthetic “superintelligence,” which Netanyahu warned may result in “the destruction of democracy” and Musk mused may finish with robots controlling humanity.
Following the exchanges over antisemitism, Musk introduced up the protests in opposition to Netanyahu’s authorities and famous the presence of protesters outdoors.
“I most likely bought essentially the most quantity of pushback at Tesla about this interview as something I’ve ever executed,” Musk stated, including, “I believe it’s primarily the judicial reform query.”
Netanyahu defended his dedication to democracy, saying “Israel will at all times be a democratic nation” and arguing that its judiciary had grown too highly effective. His authorities’s transfer to decrease the affect of Israel’s Supreme Courtroom has sparked months of nationwide demonstrations, arguably the best home disaster within the nation’s 75-year historical past.
Musk steered they return to the subject of AI. Following their one-on-one interview, the pair held an “AI security roundtable” that included OpenAI president and co-founder Greg Brockman and MIT physicist Max Tegmark, who has warned of the existential dangers he believes AI poses.