(JTA) — Elon Musk called his recent endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory “foolish” and said he was “sorry for that post” on X, the social media platform he owns and renamed from Twitter.
But speaking at the New York Times Dealbook Summit on Wednesday, Musk also struck back, in expletive-laden language, at the advertisers who have fled the platform over his post.
And the mogul, fresh off a trip to Israel where he toured a community ravaged by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7, also suggested that some Jewish organizations have funded Hamas-affilated groups under what he said was the guise of “perception of persecution.”
Musk’s comments came during an hour-long interview with Jewish New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin at the business conference. Musk reserved his biggest vitriol for advertisers including Disney that have suspended their spending on X after Musk endorsed another user’s articulation of the antisemitic “Great Replacement” theory.
“If somebody’s going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go f— yourself,” Musk said.
“Hey Bob, if you’re here in the audience, sorry, that’s how I feel,” he added, in an apparent reference to Disney CEO Bob Iger. Earlier in the day, Iger said Disney’s decision to leave X came after the company decided the site was “not something for us” because Musk took “the position he took, in quite a public manner.”
Elsewhere during the interview, Musk expressed regret for sending his Nov. 15 tweet in which he called a user’s antisemitic post “the actual truth.”
“I should have, in retrospect, not replied to that particular person and I should have written in greater length as to what I meant,” Musk told Sorkin.
“I mean, look, I’m sorry for that post. It was foolish of me,” he added. “Of the 30,000 it might be literally the worst and dumbest post I’ve ever done. And I’ve tried my best to clarify six ways from Sunday, but you know at least I think it’ll be obvious that in fact far from being antisemitic, I’m in fact philosemitic.”
The user Musk responded to had written, in an echo of the Great Replacement theory, “Jewish communities have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them. I’m deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest s— now about western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realization that those hordes of minorities [they] support flooding their country don’t exactly like them too much.”
Musk attracted widespread criticism and condemnation for his reply to the tweet, which came amid a global rise in antisemitism in the wake of Israel’s military response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. But on Wednesday he continued to defend the sentiments he said he meant to express in the post, saying his point had been that Jews fund groups that “essentially promote any persecuted group or any group with the perception of persecution” and claiming without evidence, “This includes radical Islamic groups.”
Musk did not offer any specifics about the groups he was referring to or the nature of their support for radical Islamic groups.
Since Oct. 7, some far-left Jewish groups have allied themselves with pro-Palestinian activists in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, which would leave Hamas in power; those groups have drawn criticism from Jews and others who argue they are working against Jewish interests.
(Musk has also feuded with one prominent Jewish group, the Anti-Defamation League civil rights watchdog, whose CEO Jonathan Greenblatt has both condemned and praised Musk and was in the summit’s audience.)
“The Jewish people have been persecuted for thousands of years. There is a natural affinity, therefore, for persecuted groups,” Musk said. “Everyone here has seen the massive demonstrations for Hamas in every major city in the West. That should be jarring. Well, a number of those organizations receive funding from prominent people in Jewish communities.”
Musk continued, “It’s unwise to fund organizations, to support groups that want your annihilation.” He then prompted applause by adding, “Let’s say you fund a group and that group supports Hamas, who wants you to die. Perhaps you should not fund them.”
Discussing his recent tour of Israeli sites that were attacked by Hamas on Oct. 7, Musk said his trip had been planned in advance of his controversial tweet and was “not an apology tour.” He showed off a dogtag he wore around his neck reading “Bring Them Home” that he said had been given to him by a parent of one of the hostages. (Rachel Goldberg, whose 23-year-old son Hersh Goldberg-Polin is a hostage, gave Musk the necklace during their meeting in Israel.)
“I said that I would wear it as long as there is a hostage still remaining. And I am,” Musk said.
Musk’s relationship with Jews was a hot topic at the summit. In addition to Iger, Vice President Kamala Harris was also asked about his antisemitic tweet, responding, “I have nothing to say.” (The White House has condemned Musk for the tweet, which it called an “abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate.”)
And Israeli President Isaac Herzog addressed Musk’s recent visit, saying he “appreciated” the mogul’s appearance but stopping short of saying he believed Musk would effectively fight antisemitism on X.
Musk also praised the X feature known as Community Notes, user-generated information meant to add context to tweets. Community Notes has displayed antisemitic misinformation in the past.
Later in his talk, Musk suggested that those concerned about antisemitism on X should widen their lens. “In terms of antisemitic content, TikTok is rife with that,” he said.
The Red Cross Has Abandoned Israeli Hostages and Its Pretense of Neutrality
The Red Cross has once again failed the Jewish people by choosing to appease its enemies rather than help those in need.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in its mission statement, claims to be “an impartial, neutral, and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance.”
The actions of the Red Cross since October 7, however, show that it does not consider the lives and dignity of all victims to be equal. Instead, the Red Cross has fallen in line with those who refuse to condemn Hamas and ignore the atrocities perpetrated against Israelis.
This isn’t the first time that the Red Cross has ignored the suffering of Jewish people to avoid offending those who seek to eliminate the Jewish people. The Red Cross has received three Nobel Peace Prizes, including one in 1944 for its services in World War II, but decades later, we know the whole truth.
Documents released after the war revealed that the Red Cross was well aware of the Nazis’ genocide of the Jews and chose to remain silent. The Red Cross defended itself by claiming that if it had disclosed what it knew, “it would have lost its ability to inspect prisoner-of-war camps on both sides of the front.” Although the Red Cross has apologized for its inaction in confronting the Holocaust, the bias the ICRC has shown against Israel makes that apology ring hollow.
Magen David Adom, Israel’s official emergency service, was founded in 1930 and ratified as a National Red Cross Society by the Knesset in 1950. However, the Red Cross refused to allow Magen David Adom entry to the international organization because the latter wanted to use the Star of David as its symbol in place of a red cross. Even though Muslim Red Cross organizations use a red crescent as their symbol, Israel is singled out for refusal. Only after 76 years of life-saving work was Magen David Adom finally accepted by the ICRC in 2006.
The Red Cross has conducted itself similarly since Hamas took Israeli hostages. The Red Cross gained much acclaim for bringing Israeli hostages home after they were released. However, the Red Cross played no part in the negotiations that led to the release, and made no effort to visit the hostages while they were imprisoned.
This is in stark contrast to past hostage crises. During the Iranian hostage crisis, the Red Cross visited the occupied US embassy in Tehran. When 72 Japanese hostages were kidnapped by guerrilla forces in Peru in 1996, the Red Cross provided food and medical assistance. When New York Times reporter David Rohde was held by the Taliban in 2008, the Red Cross delivered him a letter from his wife. When more than 240 hostages were taken from Israel, however, the Red Cross did nothing.
The Red Cross responded to a recent lawsuit filed by Israeli hostages, which claims that the Red Cross neglected its duty to visit prisoners of war, by saying: “The more public pressure we seemingly would do, the more they [Hamas] would shut the door.”
The evidence shows that the Red Cross did not try very hard. UN Watch compiled a report showing that the ICRC’s social media posts were heavily biased in favor of Hamas, and refused to acknowledge Hamas’ atrocities and the plight of the Israeli hostages.
When families of the hostages asked the Red Cross to deliver life-saving medications to their family members in captivity, they were scolded and told to “think about the Palestinian side.” by the ICRC.
Since the beginning of the current war, the Red Cross has pumped millions of dollars into Gaza, along with supplies, infrastructure, and medical teams. Hamas, of course, has a long history of shamelessly stealing money and supplies that were intended for civilians, a fact that the ICRC knows, and, unsurprisingly, Hamas has continued to do so during this current war.
The Red Cross has both the leverage and the stature to gain access to the Israeli hostages and even to push for their release. They were even able to leverage the Taliban into granting access to hostages in the past. People listen to the Red Cross. But they also hear the Red Cross’ silence.
When the Red Cross speaks about the Israel-Hamas conflict without mentioning Hamas’ attacks, and its president meets with Hamas’ leader but does not advocate for Israeli hostages, the message is clear.
The Red Cross’ historical and current actions seem to suggest that it does not value Israeli lives as much as other people’s. It is time for the international community to ask the Red Cross why it looks out for all of those in need, except for Jews.
Gregg Roman is director of the Middle East Forum and a former official in the Israeli Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense.
The post The Red Cross Has Abandoned Israeli Hostages and Its Pretense of Neutrality first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
The Media Is Still Swallowing Hamas’ Lies About Israel
While Israel is winning its war to eliminate the existential threat posed by Hamas’ massive tunnel complex/fortress in Gaza, Israel is losing the propaganda battle against a pro-Palestinian narrative demonizing Israel’s conduct of the war. That narrative puts aside Hamas’ horrific crimes against humanity that triggered Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip, and adopts an account that Israel is “indiscriminately killing” Gazans as part of a “genocidal” campaign.
Hamas displays emotional images of Gazans massed in crowded hospital wards, or combing ruins for lost loved ones, and then proclaims to the world that there have been more than 25,000 innocent victims of Israel’s invidious conduct.
To begin with, there is no way to verify any of those numbers, or to tell who among the actual numbers killed are innocent civilians, and who are associated with Hamas and other terror groups. (Remember the hospital bombing at the start of the war, where they claimed 500 casualties, but we later learned from US intelligence analysts that far fewer were killed, and the “attack” was the result of a misfired terrorist rocket).
Furthermore, the issue is not whether Gazans have experienced dreadful suffering. They clearly have. The issue is whom to blame.
Major media outlets have frequently adopted the portrayal of Israel’s conduct in the war as a wanton destruction of Gaza, and the purposeful targeting of civilians.
Unlike Hamas, however, Israel never intentionally targets civilians — nor does it aim for wanton destruction in Gaza.
Any fair assessment of Israel’s military behavior must account for Hamas’ decision to fight in civilian areas, and use civilians and civilian infrastructure as human shields. Hamas’ vast underground fortress is accessed through shafts in or near residential buildings and public structures. Hamas also stores weaponry in civilian structures, and launches rockets and mortars from populated areas.
Experts in urban warfare confirm that the IDF has taken considerable measures to avoid civilian casualties. John Spencer teaches urban warfare at West Point Military Academy. Spencer wrote in Newsweek last week that the IDF, “has implemented more measures to prevent civilian casualties than any other military in history.” He marvels that the IDF has delayed scheduled assaults, furnished copious advance warnings, and provided designated civilian evacuation routes before attacks.
Colonel Richard Kemp is a former British infantry battalion commander with 30 years of experience, including rounds of urban combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Kemp commends the IDF on its adherence to the laws of armed conflict — in its choice of munitions, proportionality in choosing targets according to strategic gain versus civilian risk, and advance warnings enabling civilians to evacuate. As to the leveling of civilian structures, Kemp points to the nature of Hamas’ current operations — fighters in civilian clothing moving on thoroughfares to collect weapons stashed in civilian buildings in order to carry out ambush attacks. The structures look abandoned, but may well be booby trapped or may house anti-armor weaponry.
Hamas regularly employs the stratagem of distorting and manipulating casualty figures to suit its narrative that Israel is maliciously and unjustifiably killing civilians. Hamas’ casualty counts are consistently inflated and do not distinguish between combatants and civilians. The intended implication is that only civilians have been targeted by the IDF. Mass media regularly buys into this Hamas stratagem by simply reciting Hamas’ asserted casualty figures and not mentioning when people killed are terrorists or affiliated with terror groups.
An article in the Feb. 12 New York Times by Patrick Kingsley and Hiba Yazbeck typifies the media’s willingness to slant reportage in favor of a pro-Hamas narrative. (“Israeli Raid in Rafiah Rescues 2 Hostages and Kills Dozens.”) The article was prompted by an IDF special forces raid into a Hamas stronghold, Rafah, in order to rescue two Israeli men, aged 60 and 70, who had been kidnapped on October 7 from their kibbutz and held captive for 125 days. The Times report devotes no attention to the incredible sophistication of the rescue operation — the intelligence that pinpointed the locus of captivity, the daring dispatch of a special forces unit to the heart of Hamas’ Rafah, and a coordinated execution that extracted the hostages from their heavily armed Hamas captors without unnecessarily harming civilians.
The Times article’s first sentence mentions a rescue raid, and then promptly shifts to an accusation that Israel “launched a wave of attacks that killed dozens of Palestinians…” Like Hamas in its casualty reports, the article makes no distinction between combatant and civilian deaths. There’s no mention of the fact that many of those Palestinian deaths were Hamas combatants killed as the IDF burst in to rescue the hostages, and as the IDF escaped through armed resistance in the city.
The Kingsley/Yazbeck story also glosses over the Hamas war crimes that necessitated the IDF raid. Two-thirds of the way through the article, it notes in passing that the two freed hostages had been held in captivity for over 120 days (but the article does not note that they had been violently wrenched from their kibbutz homes along with their spouses who were later ransomed or that other family members were murdered on October 7). In short, the focus on “dozens of Palestinians killed” in the rescue mission is a parroting of Hamas propaganda that Israel is engaged in malicious killing of innocent Gazan civilians.
While experts like Spencer and Kemp credit Israel with commendable adherence to the norms of warfare, there have been some ostensible IDF deviations from those norms. An IDF spokesman has acknowledged that at least on one occasion, an excessively large bomb was employed that caused unnecessary civilian casualties. In another incident, Israelis were shocked and disturbed when an IDF unit killed 3 bare-chested men advancing toward the unit while waving a white flag. (The victims turned out to be Israeli hostages who had escaped from their Hamas captors). Another report exists of an Israeli soldier shooting and killing a captive Hamas fighter following an interrogation — a clear war crime if confirmed. These possible crimes are being probed by the IDF military police and, if documented, hopefully will be punished. Hamas, by contrast, proudly flaunts its most glaring war crimes by celebrating the intentional massacre of civilians, and by demanding the return of terrorist murderers in exchange for the remaining civilian hostages.
There is no equivalence between the two sides; but the media will never tell you that story.
Norman L. Cantor is Professor of Law Emeritus at Rutgers University Law School where he taught for 35 years. He also served as visiting professor at Columbia, Seton Hall, Tel Aviv University, and Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has published five books, scores of scholarly articles in law journals, and dozens of blog length commentaries in outlets like The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, and The Algemeiner. His personal blog is seekingfairness.wordpress.com. He lives in Tel Aviv and in Hoboken, NJ.
The post The Media Is Still Swallowing Hamas’ Lies About Israel first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
On being a ‘garbage human being’: Phoebe Maltz Bovy checks in on the state of antisemitism discourse in February 2024
Two articles crossed my path last week, and I’ve been thinking of them in conjunction with each other. Not because they are the same sort of article (most certainly not), nor because I agree with them in equal measure (again, nope), but because they illustrated something about worldviews. The first was Dara Horn’s longread in […]