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Netanyahu Meets Musk Amid Rising Antisemitism

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Elon Musk, owner of X, in Silicon Valley on Monday, according to the Washington Post. This meeting is part of Netanyahu’s trip to California, which includes visiting the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The meeting may be focused on bolstering relations with high-tech executives, a key driver of Israel’s economy. However, it remains unclear if Netanyahu will also meet with US President Joe Biden, who has expressed concerns over Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul and his right-wing government.

Meanwhile, X, formerly known as Twitter, has witnessed a significant rise in hate speech following a shift in content moderation policies by Musk. Hate speech on the platform has included antisemitic and racist content, with the Center for Countering Digital Hate reporting a triple increase in the use of racial slurs against Black people and a 62 per cent increase in slurs against trans individuals. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has also documented an increase in antisemitic content and a decrease in moderation of such posts since Musk took over.

Despite these findings, Musk has questioned the ADL’s findings, claiming that the pressure exerted by the organization has led to a decline in ad revenue on X, which has seen a 60 per cent decline in US ad revenue. Musk has also engaged with users who have expressed antisemitic viewpoints on the platform, further sparking concerns about the rise of hate speech.

Elon Musk (Via Elon Musk/Twitter)

The increase in hate speech has also led to challenges for X in convincing brands to advertise on the platform. According to AJ Brown, the former head of brand safety and ad quality at X, the new content moderation policy has made it difficult to assure companies that the platform is safe for ads.

As tensions rise, Netanyahu’s government faces criticism over its judicial overhaul and the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. US President Biden has not met with Netanyahu since he took office for a sixth term, citing concerns over these issues. Foreign investment in Israeli tech startups has also taken a hit, partly due to global economic factors and fears about the judicial overhaul.

The meeting between Netanyahu and Musk is widely seen as a move to stave off criticism surrounding the rise in antisemitic speech on X. However, the long-term impact of this meeting on efforts to combat hate speech and promote tolerance remains to be seen. As the world grapples with the dangers of hate speech, it is essential for leaders and policymakers to prioritize the protection of marginalized communities and promote inclusive and respectful online discourse.

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