Elon Musk visits Auschwitz with son after antisemitism clamour - Hindustan Times
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Elon Musk visits Auschwitz after backlash, admits to being 'naive' about antisemitism

ByShweta Kukreti
Jan 23, 2024 05:19 PM IST

The visit follows criticism that Musk received recently for supporting anti-Jewish conspiracy theories on X. He later apologised for his endorsement.

Along with his 3-year-old son X Æ A-XII, Tesla owner Elon Musk paid a “private visit” to the historic Nazi German concentration camp site of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland on Monday.

X owner Elon Musk visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau site with his 3-year-old son and others,(Reuters)
X owner Elon Musk visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau site with his 3-year-old son and others,(Reuters)

The visit follows criticism that Musk received recently for supporting anti-Jewish conspiracy theories on his social media platform, X (formerly Twitter).

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Musk was also accompanied by Holocaust survivor Gidon Lev, journalist Ben Shapiro, and European Jewish Association (EJA) Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin. The SpaceX owner was seen carrying his son on his shoulders in pictures that have surfaced in the media.

The website of Auschwitz, which is a solemn and harrowing place, says: “It is not recommended that children under 14 visit the Memorial.”

Also Read: On outrage over antisemitic content, Elon Musk curses out advertisers who left X

Musk admits to being 'naive' about antisemitism, defends X

During his visit, Musk acknowledged that, up until lately, he was "naïve" about the severity of antisemitism, attributing this to the fact that the majority of his friends are Jewish and he hasn't personally encountered it frequently.

At the conference in a discussion with podcaster Ben Shapiro of the Daily Wire, he stated the tragedy of the Holocaust “hits you much more in the heart when you see it in person.”

“It was incredibly moving and deeply sad and tragic that humans could do this to other humans,” Musk said. “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.”

"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," Musk mentioned.

Reiterating that a free exchange of ideas is what eventually helps to correct intolerance, he defended his social media site X, pointing out that the Nazis shut down press and information freedom.

“The overarching goal for the X platform is to be the best source of truth in the world,” Musk asserted. The “relentless pursuit of the truth is the goal with X and allowing people to say what they want to say, even if it’s controversial, provided that it does not break the law.”

Musk apologizes for remark seen as antisemitic

Since his Twitter purchase in 2022, the billionaire has been facing backlash for allowing antisemitic remarks on the platform.

He provoked outrage in November, notably from the White House, when he responded to an X user who alleged Jews hate white people. "You have said the actual truth," Musk replied.

He later expressed regret for the remark and described it as his "dumbest" post ever.

Musk visit comes ahead of the Holocaust Memorial Day, which marks the 79th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27.

According to history books, between 1940 and 1945, a million European Jews and over 100,000 non-Jews perished at the camp established by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland.

During the conference, Musk also said that lives could have been saved and the Holocaust "would have been impossible to hide" if social media had existed during World War II.

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