Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a press conference at the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv on April 10, 2023. (Photo/JTA-Tomer Neuberg-Flash 90)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a press conference at the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv on April 10, 2023. (Photo/JTA-Tomer Neuberg-Flash 90)

Netanyahu to meet with Elon Musk in San Francisco next week, report says

This story was originally published in the Forward. Click here to get the Forward’s free email newsletters delivered to your inbox.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s forthcoming U.S. trip, his first since he returned to office in December, is expected to include a meeting with Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter. The prime minister’s office said on Sunday that Netanyahu is set to hold discussions about artificial intelligence with tech leaders during a one-day trip next Monday to Silicon Valley. Israel’s Channel 12 News reported that those meetings would include one between Musk and Netanyahu.

Musk, who rebranded Twitter to X, has been embroiled in a feud with the Anti-Defamation League in recent days, blaming the organization for scaring away advertisers and resulting in a $4 billion loss in revenue. The ADL denies this and continues to criticize Musk for giving a stage to neo-Nazis and those with antisemitic views.

Musk has himself made a number of disturbing comments, including promoting a QAnon conspiracy theory, quoting Nazis, engaging with antisemites, and comparing George Soros, the Jewish billionaire philanthropist, to the X-Men comic book villain Magneto.

“No one should allow this meeting to give cover to Musk’s explicit engagement in and embrace of antisemitism, for so many reasons,” Amy Spitalnick, head of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, wrote on Sunday. Hadar Susskind, chief executive of Americans for Peace Now, called it “repulsive.”

Netanyahu previously praised Musk, calling him “a person whose intelligence and contribution to humanity I greatly appreciate.” In addition to leading Twitter, Musk is also the head of SpaceX, Tesla and Neuralink, a company building computer chips to implant in people’s brains. A new biography of Musk, by historian Walter Isaacson, is set to publish on Tuesday.

Musk’s recent attack on the ADL, an organization broadly popular with American Jews and the general public, was condemned by major Jewish groups. 

RELATED: By targeting the ADL, Musk has chosen Jews as his scapegoat

Netanyahu, himself, has faced fierce criticism from American Jewish leaders for refusing to engage in meaningful negotiations to reach broad consensus on a package of judicial overhaul measures that would weaken the independence of the Israeli Supreme Court.

The Israeli leader is expected to arrive in New York next Tuesday for the United Nations General Assembly, where he is set to deliver a speech on Friday. Netanyahu is expected to meet with President Joe Biden while in the U.S., but it’s still unclear if Netanyahu will travel to the White House for a traditional Oval Office meeting or meet on the sidelines of the U.N. conference. Netanyahu is also expected to meet with a few Jewish leaders in New York. 

This article was originally published on the Forward.

Jacob Kornbluh

Jacob Kornbluh is the Forward’s senior political reporter. Follow him on Twitter @jacobkornbluh or email [email protected].