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Elon Musk, rebuked by the White House for pushing antisemitic rhetoric, expected to visit Auschwitz

The billionaire was blasted by the White House and online users for endorsing a false anti-Jewish claim posted on his social media site X in November.
Elon Musk in Austin, Texas
Elon Musk in Austin, Texas, on June 13, 2023.Jordan Vonderhaar / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Tech and Tesla billionaire Elon Musk, who caused an uproar in November by endorsing a bogus Jewish conspiracy theory on his social media site, X, is expected to head to Poland next week to take part in a panel on online antisemitism and will tour the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz.

Vile anti-Jewish posts have continued to flourish on X, called Twitter when Musk acquired it in 2022.

Under Musk’s ownership, the social media platform continues to allow users to post bigoted content, including antisemitic posts, and runs ads alongside these. Some of X’s premium users, who have posted antisemitic and other bigoted content regularly, have boasted on X about earning money through its ad revenue sharing program.

Just on Friday, divisive podcaster Jason Whitlock posted on the platform an interview with E. Michael Jones, who the Anti-Defamation League describes as being an antisemitic Catholic writer. He falsely claimed that “the Jews” control the government and Black people. The post appeared to have been taken down later Friday. 

Musk’s two-day visit to Poland begins Monday, one week before International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, which commemorates the murders of 6 million Jews by the Germans and their accomplices during World War II, according to the European Jewish Association.

The EJA organized the visit to address the worldwide surge of antisemitism in the wake of Israel’s invasion of Gaza, which was in retaliation for Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel. 

“Everyone acknowledges what a great threat nationalism, populism, racism, and all manifestations of xenophobia and hatred are to democracy, human rights and the E.U.,” Polish deputy foreign minister Andrzej Szejna said Friday, according to the official Polish Press Agency (PAP). “I think this is probably the reason why Mr. Musk is among the invited guests who have confirmed their presence.”

The Jerusalem Post was one of the first news outlets to report that Musk would visit Auschwitz, where most of the 1.1 million people murdered there by the German occupiers were Jews. 

NBC News has reached out to Musk’s representatives for independent confirmation that he will visit the death camp on Tuesday, but has not yet received a response.

Todd Gutnick, a spokesperson for the ADL, which is a Jewish organization that fights antisemitism and which Musk has criticized in the past, said Musk would benefit from making the pilgrimage.

“Anyone who has the opportunity to bear witness to the atrocities that took place in Auschwitz-Birkenau should go,” Gutnick said. “Auschwitz serves as the ultimate reminder of what can happen when a society or its leaders are consumed with antisemitism.”

Musk faced accusations of antisemitism in November when he replied, “You have said the actual truth” to a post on X that made the false claim that Jews push hatred for white people.

"Arbeit Macht Frei" sign at the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Brikenau in Oswiecim, Poland.Jakub Porzycki / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Later, in the same thread, Musk went after the ADL, which had vocally criticized him and X’s management for allowing people to post anti-Jewish rants and conspiracy theories on the site.

“The ADL unjustly attacks the majority of the West, despite the majority of the West supporting the Jewish people and Israel,” Musk wrote. “This is because they cannot, by their own tenets, criticize the minority groups who are their primary threat.”

The White House immediately condemned Musk’s posts as did the ADL.

In a visit to Israel a week later, Musk got a scolding from President Isaac Herzog, who told him, “The platforms you lead, unfortunately, have a huge reservoir of hatred, hatred of Jews and antisemitism.”

On that trip, the Israelis also got Musk to agree to operate his Starlink satellite internet company in Gaza only with government approval.

Previously, Musk had said he would work to bring Starlink satellite internet service to support internationally recognized aid groups in Gaza, angering Israeli officials who said Hamas would use the service to keep launching terrorist attacks against Israel.

Musk will be joined on the panel Monday by Ben Shapiro, a polarizing conservative political commentator who presided over a Sept. 28 discussion posted on X and other social media platforms in which Musk said he went to Hebrew preschool while growing up in South Africa and described himself as “aspirationally Jewish.”

The event is being held in a country which, before the Germans launched World War II, was home to the biggest Jewish population in Europe, and which recently ousted a conservative government that ruled Poland for eight years and had been accused by critics and the European Union of undermining democracy.

The new Polish government, which is more politically aligned with the European Union, recently jailed former Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski and his ex-deputy, Maciej Wasik, after they were convicted of abuse of power for trying to frame political opponents on corruption charges.

Claiming they are political prisoners, the country’s former Education Minister Przemyslaw Czarnek has invited Musk to visit them in jail. 

There was no immediate word on whether Musk would do so.