Elon Musk denies anti-Semitism and doubles down on George Soros attacks

Laughing, Elon Musk defended his remarks accusing Holocaust survivor and liberal donor George Soros of trying to weaken human civilization on Tuesday night, hours after an Israeli government-affiliated Twitter account condemned his rhetoric as anti-Semitic.

“I’ll say what I mean, and if it results in losing money, so be it,” the Tesla and SpaceX founder said in an interview on CNBC Tuesday night.

The night before, Musk had used the social media platform he owns, Twitter, to compare Soros to a Marvel supervillain who also survived the Holocaust, amplifying long-running conspiracy theories that the 92-year-old Hungarian American Jew uses his billions of dollars. to undermine society.

“I said he reminded me of Magneto. You know, calm people down,” Musk told CNBC interviewer David Faber and laugh loudly.

“You said he wanted to erode the very fabric of civilization and Soros hates humanity,” Faber replied, citing Musk’s follow-up tweets.

“Yeah,” Musk said. ” I think it’s right. It’s my opinion.

Jewish leaders had spent much of the day dealing with the consequences of Musk’s views.

In the afternoon, Israel’s Foreign Ministry noted that anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and the “Jews” hashtag were trending on the platform “following a tweet reeking of anti-Semitism by none other than the owner and CEO of the social network, Elon Musk”.

Ted Deutch, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, called Musk’s remarks “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion for the Internet Age” – referring to a notorious forged document that accuses Jews of conspiring to weaken global civilization.

“This will embolden extremists who have previously fomented anti-Jewish conspiracies and attempted to attack Soros and Jewish communities as a result,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted. Musk later responded that the organization should drop the “Anti” from its name.

Sitting with Musk that night at a Tesla manufacturing plant in Austin, Faber pressed him to explain his incendiary rhetoric.

“Why share it when people who buy Teslas may not agree with you, advertisers on Twitter may not agree with you? Why not just say, ‘Hey, I mean that.’ You can tell me, we can talk about it there, you can tell your friends – but why share it widely?

“I mean, uh, freedom of speech. I have the right to say what I want,” Musk replied, returning to an argument he has used often since buying Twitter last year and set about rolling back restrictions on the platform. on hate speech. (Musk didn’t mention that days earlier Twitter agreed to censor some users critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on the eve of an election there.)

The CNBC host pressed Musk once again. “I’m trying to figure out why you’re doing it because it puts you in the middle of a partisan divide in the country,” Faber said. “It makes you a lightning rod for criticism. Do you like it? You know, people today say he’s anti-Semitic. I don’t think you are.

“No, definitely I’m pretty pro-Semitic,” Musk said, then changed the subject. “We don’t want to make this an interview with George Soros.”

Shira Rubin contributed to this report, which has been updated.

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