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Elon Musk has publicly endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory popular among White supremacists: that Jewish communities push “hatred against Whites.”
That kind of overt thumbs up to an antisemitic post shocked even some of Musk’s critics, who have long called him out for using racist or otherwise bigoted dog whistles on Twitter, now known as X. It was the multibillionaire’s most explicit public statement yet endorsing anti-Jewish views.
ICYMI: Musk was responding to a post Wednesday that said Jewish communities “have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.” The post also referenced “hordes of minorities” flooding Western countries, a popular antisemitic conspiracy theory.
It’s the kind of post you can find easily on X these days, and likely would have gone unnoticed had Musk, with more than 160 million followers, not re-shared the post with the comment: “You have said the actual truth.”
The antisemitic conspiracy theory — which posits that Jews want to bring undocumented minority populations into Western countries to reduce White majorities in those nations — is often espoused by hate groups.
It’s the same conspiracy echoed in the final written words of Robert Bowers, the convicted murderer of 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018. His last social media post said that a Jewish nonprofit dedicated to aiding refugees “likes to bring invaders in that kill our people.” The mass shooting was the deadliest attack against Jews in American history.
Musk, in subsequent posts, expounded on his views. He wrote that he does not believe hatred of White people extends “to all Jewish communities.” But then he singled out the Anti-Defamation League, claiming that it promotes racism against White people.
X did not respond to requests for comment.
In response, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote that “it is indisputably dangerous to use one’s influence to validate and promote antisemitic theories.”
Musk has rarely been so explicit. But as the owner of X, he has chosen to defend racists’ free speech over the targets’ rights to not be harassed, even going so far as to threaten to sue the ADL for defamation after the organization said antisemitism had surged on X after Musk took over the platform more than a year ago.
There’s no way to know what’s inside Musk’s heart. All we can rely on is what he says and does on his very public, powerful platform. Hate speech, whether uttered by Musk or merely endorsed by him, is amplified when the world’s richest person posts or comments on it.
“It’s doubtful that Musk harbors personal animosity toward Jewish people,” wrote the Atlantic’s Yair Rosenberg earlier this year, regarding another incident in which Musk trumpeted antisemitic statements. “But he is a conspiracy theorist, and the arc of conspiracy is short and bends toward the Jews.”
There are two popular books out now about Musk, one an authorized biography by Walter Isaacson and another an unauthorized story by Ben Mezrich.
Mezrich in recent weeks has told several interviewers about how “Elon Musk broke Twitter, and Twitter broke Elon Musk.”
It’s a punchy line, and in some ways I’m sure it’s accurate. Mezrich describes the way the chaotic Twitter takeover forever marred Musk’s reputation as a modern-day Thomas Edison, with Americans now deeply divided over whether he’s a genius or a hack. Mezrich says that Musk has been personally anguished by the backlash, including getting booed onstage at a comedy show and feeling so depressed that X employees at one point considered calling the police to do a wellness check on him.
The statement may be only half right. There’s plenty of evidence that Musk broke Twitter — gutted it, rebranded it, tanked its revenue, and made it unrecognizable to its most active users. But Musk was at this long before, spreading countless conspiracy theories, particularly around the Covid pandemic.
He bought Twitter so that he could have a space, safe only for himself and his admirers, to broadcast broken ideas.
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