Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will reportedly meet with X owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk next week as Israel seeks to develop its tech sector and Musk faces a controversy over antisemitism on X.
According to the Washington Post, Musk's Jewish friends and allies, and X executives have set up the meeting to ease tensions after the billionaire's belligerent exchange with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Netanyahu's office confirmed the meeting to Reuters but did not offer further details. Musk said their talks would focus on artificial intelligence technology.
The planned meeting for Monday comes after Musk threatened to sue the ADL, claiming the human rights organization falsely accused him and X's platform of spreading antisemitism.
"To clear our platform’s name on the matter of anti-Semitism, it looks like we have no choice but to file a defamation lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League … oh the irony!" Musk posted on X on Sept. 4. He has since issued several posts critical of the ADL and claimed the organization's pressure on advertisers to boycott X has led to a 60% decrease in advertising revenue for X Corp. — a figure industry analysts have disputed.
X's new content moderation policy has made it challenging to convince brands that the social media platform was safe for ads, the company's former head of brand safety and ad quality AJ Brown told Reuters in an interview this month. Musk's critics say X's policies, not pressure from outside groups, is to blame for advertiser hesitancy and declining ad revenues.
Still, ADL has released several reports hammering X since Musk’s takeover.
Six months after Musk’s acquisition, the ADL said in May that then-Twitter content moderation "missed the mark," allowing reinstated previously banned accounts to connect "through shared antisemitism and other hate." The ADL Center for Technology and Society said it "has found Twitter does not enforce its policies on antisemitism, even when flagged content openly incites violence."
ADL also took issue with how in April, Twitter "quietly rolled back the section of its Hateful Conduct Policy that prohibits users from abusing transgender people."
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement on Sept. 5 that Musk's attacks on his organization were "highly toxic" and "antisemitic."
X CEO Linda Yaccarino, who Musk picked to run his company, has reportedly been communicating with Greenblatt to resolve the dispute and assure the ADL that X opposes hate speech.
"X opposes antisemitism in all its forms," Yaccarino posted on Sept. 8. "Antisemitism is evil and X will always work to fight it on our platform. And X is also always open to proactively working together in that fight with all groups."
Musk disputed The Washington Post's report that his meeting with Netanyahu will cover antisemitism on X.
"This discussion was planned several weeks ago and is about AI, not the Defamation League (they dropped the ‘A’)," Musk wrote on X.
Fox Business reached out to both Netanyahu's office and X but did not receive a response.
In an interview with FOX Business' Larry Kudlow last December, Netanyahu described his vision for Israel's economy as "free markets and technology." In previous years when he served as prime minister, Netanyahu developed a close relationship with Silicon Valley to strengthen his country's high-tech sector, which is a key driver of Israel's economy.
Foreign investment in Israeli tech startups has plunged in the last year, partly due to a global slowdown and exacerbated by investor fears that the push to trim the Supreme Court's powers would remove a key check and balance. With foreign flows down sharply, the shekel has weakened by nearly 9% versus the dollar this year.
Fox Business' Danielle Wallace and Reuters contributed to this report.