I was naïve about Jew-hate, Musk tells Auschwitz

Tesla founder toured the death camp ahead of a major event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day


Elon Musk is presented with a statue that was created out of a rocket that fell on a kindergarten in Be'eri, with former Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, January 22, 2024 (Credit: Bartek Dziedzic)

Elon Musk says the indoctrination of Gazan children “must stop” for long term peace to be achieved and continues to wear dog tags around his neck in support of the hostages still held by Hamas.

His remarks came during a conversation with conservative American commentator Ben Shapiro shortly after the pair toured Auschwitz death camp together.

The X owner and CEO of Tesla said: “The indoctrination of hate into kids in Gaza has to stop. When I was in Israel, that was my top recommendation. I understand the need to invade Gaza, and unfortunately some innocent people will die, there’s no way around it.

"The most important thing is to ensure that afterwards, the indoctrination where kids are taught from as soon as they can understand language, that their goal is to kill Israelis; if you’re told that from when you’re a toddler, you’re going to believe it, and that needs to stop.”

Musk and Shapiro appeared during a two-day event in Krakow, Poland, hosted by the European Jewish Association, the first major Jewish conference to Auschwitz since October 7.

Musk further admitted to being “frankly naïve” about the level of antisemitism today. He said: “In the circles I move, I see almost none. Two thirds of my friends are Jewish… I’m Jewish by association.” He added that the “pro-Hamas rallies” that took place in cities across the West, “blew” his mind.

Musk recently toured the territories surrounding the Gaza Strip that were invaded by Hamas. He says he brought with him to Israel “three strong recommendations” to achieve peace.

“Obviously, one has to get rid of Hamas fighters where reform is impossible, [where] their only goal is to kill Israelis, they ought to be killed or imprisoned, otherwise they will simply kill more Israelis. Then the second thing is you’ve got to change the indoctrination in the schools so that kids are not taught to hate from the moment they are two years old. And the third thing, which his a very hard thing to do in this situation, is conspicuous acts of kindness to the people in Gaza... It’s just that much harder to hate someone if they do nice things for you, even if they try to bite your hand when you’re doing it, keep doing it.”

Elon Musk has continued to wear dog tags around his neck in support of the hostages still held by Hamas, who he hopes are still alive, and says the “most shocking” thing to see in footage from October 7 was Hamas’s “delight in killing kids”, which requires “a level of indoctrination that is extremely intense.”

Before Shapiro and Musk took the stage, Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism, Amichai Chikli, dedicated his speech to Holocaust historian Alex Danzig from Kibbutz Nir Oz, who is still held captive.

Chikli said: “Not far from here, absolute evil singled out the Jewish people as its ultimate enemy. Some imagined that after the unimaginable atrocity of the Holocaust, it would vanish. But it was a merely respite, and that respite has now ended.

“A new generation has emerged, a generation that does not know Auschwitz, this is what moral collapse looks like.”

Former president of the State of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, provided the keynote address. He said the responsibility to fight against antisemitism and racism belongs to “the entire free world.”

Rivlin led the first roundtable discussion of the European Jewish Association Leaders Forum to Fight Antisemitism and Racism (ELCA), a body created recently which he hoped would act as a “beacon of hope” to the world.

Members of the forum included Sebastian Kurz, former chancellor of Austria, Manuel Valls, former prime minister of France, Matteo Renzi, former prime minister of Italy, George Andreas Papandreou, former prime minister of Greece, Stefan Lofven, former prime minister of Sweden, Milo Dukanovic, former president of Montenegro, and Borut Pahor, former president of Slovenia.

Senior political figures from 25 European countries met in Krakow on the invitation of the European Jewish Association to discuss and find solutions to the “astronomical” rise in antisemitism affecting Europe in the last three months.

Speaking as part of another panel, Sean O Fearghail, President of Parliament, Ireland, claimed Ireland’s small community of about 2,100 individuals has experienced “very little” antisemitism, and is “much beloved” by the Irish people.

He noted however the community is “concerned” over anti-Israel demonstrations and rising antisemitism, partly due to a “massive influx of immigrants” who bring with them some “unsavoury” views, but also because it is coming from “not just the extreme right, but from the left also.”

He said: “The Holocaust was the worst manifestation of mans’ inhumanity to man, and the damage that does to human beings and to society, and we must always commit ourselves to opposing hatred.

“I must say quite clearly, the government, the parliament, and the entire political body is committed to ensuring the safety of the Jewish community in Ireland and will continue to protect and nurture them.”

EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin acted as conference host. He said: “With rates of antisemitism in Europe at levels unseen since [the Second World War], doing nothing is not an option. ‘Never Again’ is right now.”

Earlier in the day, a roundtable discussion was held with European Jewish leaders about the state of antisemitism in their own countries, moderated by EJA senior adviser Ruth Wasserman Lande.

Rabbi Avi Lazarus, CEO of the Federation of Synagogues in the UK, and Noa Levy, a student at Queen Mary University of London, represented the UK.

Rabbi Lazarus said that “as a person who is easily identifiable as a Jew”, the streets of London had since October 7 become “awful”.

“Conversations I never thought I would have with my family are now happening, and in families throughout London,” Rabbi Lazarus said, “about how long might we have left in the UK.

“I never thought I’d see London as it is today, with areas that are simply no-go zones.”

He added, “Antisemitism needs to be treated like any other racism is treated, it must be faced head on. We must look at the source. Our priority now is left-wing and Islamist extremist antisemitism. The police must be firm, and the media must be honest.”

He said it was “unbelievable” that the BBC still refuses to call Hamas terrorists.

First-year student Noa Levy gave attendees two examples of antisemitism she has faced on campus and in online spaces meant for students. She said despite her university, Queen Mary, adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism in 2020, it has not been enforced.

Joel Mergui, Chair of EJA Jewish Leaders’ Board and President of Consistoire of Paris, said we all must be “vigilant in facing radical Islamism worldwide.”

He said: “I couldn’t imagine that 79 years after the Holocaust we had to live through what happened on October 7 and to witness the first anniversary of Kfir Bibas in captivity.”

Mergui added that he would “not shake hands with anyone who refuses to condemn Hamas for what they are, terrorists”, and complimented former French prime minister Valls for his actions taken against antisemitism.

Estrella Bengio, president of Madrid’s Jewish community, said the state of antisemitism in Spain has “worsened in every way”.

Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the president of the Community of Madrid, echoed Bengio’s conclusions, adding: “We need to take action against intolerance. In Spain we have initiated legislation to combat antisemitism and against the boycott of Israel. Our next plan will be [to create] the first Jewish Museum in Madrid.”

Antisemitism in the Netherlands, the country’s chief rabbi, Binyomin Jacobs, said was becoming “more and more visible”.

Ambassador Dani Dayan, Chairman of Yad Vashem in Israel, said: “When world leaders come to Yad Vashem and utter the words ‘Never Again’, I find myself questioning their sincerity. Do they really mean it? I have a litmus test to gauge this. If a leader’s government or institution has an implementable action plan to combat antisemitism, an implemented plan, then their proclamation of ‘Never Again’ expresses deep commitment.

“This is our shared ethical responsibility; this is your ethical responsibility to the victims of the Holocaust and to Jews worldwide, to yourselves and to your societies. And lest I forget, bring them home.”

Miguel Ángel Moratinos, United Nations Under-Secretary-General, High Representative of United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) told the audience of his part in assisting the implementation of January 27 as Holocaust Remembrance Day in Spain and the objectives of the UN.

He said: “The UN was built on the cry of ‘Never Again’, because the political leadership of the time was trying to evolve and eliminate such an atrocity as the Shoah from ever happening again.

“It is true that people sometimes don’t know what the UN is doing in the fight against antisemitism, [but] I can assure you that the UN is trying to find a more efficient method to fight this global concern and global threat.

“It is not enough to do lip service, the fight against antisemitism for the UN is a very grave commitment.”

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