The tech billionaire and owner of Tesla and Twitter Elon Musk has visited Auschwitz alongside controversial Jewish media personality Ben Shapiro.
The Tesla and X owner is a guest speaker at the annual trip to Auschwitz organised by the Association of Jewish Organisations in Europe (EJA). Musk toured Auschwitz Birkenau with EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Ben Shapiro and Holocaust survivor Gidon Lev. He laid a wreath at the wall of death and took part in a short memorial ceremony and service.
Elon Musk lights a remembrance candle at Auschwitz Birkenau with EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin (January 22 2024, Yoav Dudkevitch)
After his tour of the death camp where one million Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis, Musk will be interviewed by Shapiro, an American lawyer, columnist and conservative commentator, who appeared at the Oxford Union in October to argue in favour of Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas terrorist. The pair will discuss combating antisemitism in light of the war in Gaza and will honour the victims of the Holocaust.
Musk’s visit comes hot on the heels of criticism after he shared a conspiracy theory that he later deemed “foolish.”
The plutocrat faced accusations of antisemitism when he replied to an Twitter/X post in November that read: “Jewish [communities] have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.”
Musk replied: “You have said the actual truth”.
In a follow-up post, Musk attacked the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), claiming the group “unjustly attacks the majority of the West, despite the majority of the West supporting the Jewish people and Israel.”
In response, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said, “At a time when antisemitism is exploding in America and surging around the world, it is indisputably dangerous to use one’s influence to validate and promote antisemitic theories.”
The White House condemned Musk’s comments, as did the Israeli President, Isaac Herzog. Musk said he had made a mistake and described the tweet as “one of the most foolish things” he had done on X.
Two days after the controversial message, Musk announced “decolonisation” and “from the river to the sea” would be banned from X, saying they “imply genocide.” The ADL praised this move as a “good policy decision.”
In the past, Musk has also been criticised by the American Jewish Committee, who called on him to apologise after making a comparison in a since-deleted tweet between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Adolf Hitler.
Elon Musk with EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin at Auschwitz Birkenau (January 22 2024, Yoav Dudkevitch)
The EJA conference at Auschwitz will also feature Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli and Yad Vashem Chairman, Deni Dayan. The tenth President of Israel, Reuven Riblin, will announce a Leaders’ Forum to Combat Antisemitism and will be joined by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, UN representative Miguel Moratinos, former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, amongst others.