Elon Musk said Thursday that his endorsement several weeks ago a post on X deemed antisemitic was “perhaps one of the most foolish, if not the most foolish, things [he has] ever done on the platform.” He rejected, however, the perception that his recent visit to Israel was a sort of “apology tour.” The two events were independent of each other, the billionaire entrepreneur maintained, as he wore a dog tag necklace representing the plight of Israeli hostages in Gaza.
The comments came during an interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin, the technology journalist for the New York Times and a long-time friend of Musk. Sorkin pressed the businessman on the perceived antisemitic content of the post that Musk had amplified, which accused “Jewish communities” of “pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.”
Because, the user seemed to suggest, he believes Jews to be partly responsible for the recent surge in antisemitism, he is “deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest s— now about western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realization that those hordes of minorities that [they] support flooding their country don’t exactly like them too much.”
“You have said the actual truth,” Musk replied.
Musk defends the intention behind his post, says it’s not antisemitic
In the interview Thursday, Musk denounced antisemitism, and said that “if anything,” he is “philosemitic.” He defended his intention in endorsing the controversial post, however, explaining that in his view, “Jewish people have been persecuted for thousands of years,” and that “there is a natural affinity, therefore, for persecuted groups.”
That natural affinity, Musk said, “has led to the funding of organizations that essentially promote any persecuted group, or any group with the perception of persecution,” including “radical Islamic groups” represented in the “massive demonstrations for Hamas in every major city in the west. Well,” Musk went on, “a number of those organizations receive funding from prominent people in the Jewish community.”
“What I meant by that,” he repeated, “is that it’s unwise to fund organizations that support groups that want your annihilation.” Turning to the audience, Musk said, “Let’s say you fund a group, and that group supports Hamas, who wants you to die. Perhaps, you should not fund them, right?” The billionaire threw up his hands and theatrically shrugged toward the crowd, receiving a smattering of applause in return.
Musk to advertisers who boycott X: “go f— yourself.”
Despite his admission to foolishness, Musk rejected the perception that his recent trip to Israel was, as Sorkin put it, “part of a[n] apology tour” to rehabilitate Musk’s image and to reassure advertisers that the X brand was not toxic as a result of its association with him. “I hope they stop,” Musk said. “Don’t advertise.”
“You don’t want them to advertise?” Sorkin asked. “What do you mean?”
“If somebody’s going to try to blackmail me with advertising,” Musk said, “blackmail me with money? Go f– yourself.”
Sorkin asked Musk if this means that X must move away from an advertising-based business model. “If you believe that this is the one part of your business where you will be beholden to people who have this view, what do you do?”
“What this advertising boycott is going to do,” Musk responded, seemingly rejecting the idea that there is any worthwhile alternative, is “kill the company. And the whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company.”
The CEO went on to speak about his other businesses. The interview lasted an hour and a half.