Musk Visits Auschwitz

He describes himself as 'aspirationally Jewish'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 22, 2024 3:09 PM CST
Musk Visits Auschwitz
Elon Musk speaks during an interview with Ben Shapiro at the European Jewish Association's conference, in Krakow, Poland, Monday, Jan. 22, 2024.   (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Elon Musk, who has been accused of allowing antisemitic messages on his social media platform, X, visited the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on Monday, saying afterwards that the tragedy of the Holocaust "hits you much more in the heart when you see it in person." Musk toured the most notorious extermination camp established by Nazi Germany during World War II before attending a conference on antisemitism organized by the European Jewish Association in the nearby Polish city of Krakow, the AP reports. He admitted to having been "naïve" about the extent of antisemitism until recently, saying that is because most of his friends are Jewish and he has had little contact with it in his own life.

"In the circles that I move, I see almost no antisemitism," Musk said at the conference in a discussion with Daily Wire podcaster Ben Shapiro. "And, you know, there's this old joke 'I've got like this one Jewish friend.' No, I have like two-thirds of my friends are Jewish. I have twice as many Jewish friends as non-Jewish friends. I'm like Jewish by association, I'm aspirationally Jewish." He defended his X platform as a a place where freedom of speech flourishes, saying that a free exchange of ideas is something that ultimately helps to correct hatred, noting that the Nazis shut down freedom of press and information.

The billionaire has faced accusations from the Anti-Defamation League, a prominent Jewish civil rights organization, and others of tolerating antisemitic messages on the platform, formerly known as Twitter, since purchasing it in 2022. He sparked an outcry in November, including from the White House, when he responded on X to a user who accused Jews of hating white people and professing indifference to antisemitism by posting, "You have said the actual truth." He later apologized for the comment, calling it the "dumbest" post that he's ever done.

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Musk visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau site with his 3-year-old son and others, including Shapiro and the founder and head of the European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin. "It was incredibly moving and deeply sad and tragic that humans could do this to other humans," Musk said about the visit. "I'm a student of history, so I had seen the pictures, I'd seen the videos, but ... it hits you much more in the heart when you see it in person." (More Elon Musk stories.)

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