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Pragmatism Above All: Jewish Leaders Were Right to Welcome Elon Musk’s Pro-Israel Support

Distressed over a migrant caravan making its way through southern Mexico, one man in 2018 took to social media, slamming HIAS, a Jewish nonprofit that provides humanitarian aid and assistance to refugees. “HIAS likes to bring invaders that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch,” he wrote. Moments later, he killed 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The gunman was inspired by the Great Replacement conspiracy theory, which argues that Jewish elites are importing colored people to demographically and culturally replace the White majority. Since 2018, this theory–which appeals to the antisemitic narrative that, in their ineffable power, Jews control the world–has soared in popularity.

On Nov. 15, over a month after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, one X user wrote that Jewish communities “have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.” He also accused Jews of flooding the United States with “hordes of minorities” and thus claimed to be “deeply disinterested” in concerns over increasing antisemitism. 

The following day, Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX and CEO of X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, responded: “You have said the actual truth.” 

Naturally, this post–along with a subsequent report by liberal watchdog Media Matters for America which found that certain ads were placed next to posts celebrating the Nazi party–sparked a wave of backlash, prompting a number of companies, including Disney and Apple, to pull their ads from the platform. Shortly thereafter, Musk, a self-described free speech absolutist, proceeded to ban the pro-Palestinian slogan “From the river to the sea” as well as the liberal buzzword “decolonization.”

Several Jewish and Israeli spokespeople praised Musk’s action. “This is an important and welcome move by @elonmusk,” ADL president Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted. “I appreciate this leadership in fighting hate.”

Amichai Chikli, Israel’s minister for diaspora affairs, applauded Musk for “standing on the right side of history.”

On Nov. 27, Musk visited Israel to tour the Kfar Aza kibbutz, which had been decimated by Hamas’ attack, with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. While Musk claims that his Israel trip was not an “apology tour,” the timing of his visit suggests otherwise.

In an Op-Ed in the New York Times, Michelle Goldberg wrote, “Musk appears to have learned the lesson that ardent Zionism can function as an alibi for antisemitism.” We know this. Indeed, Musk has long flirted with antisemitism. He’s compared liberal Jewish billionaire philanthropist Goerge Soros to the X-Men supervillain Magneto, a Jew who began to hate mankind during the Holocaust. Musk also welcomed Kanye West back on X after he threatened to go “death con 3 on Jewish people” under the guise of free speech, a value Musk undermined in his recent actions.

Yet it would be foolish for Jewish leaders to spurn Elon Musk, one of the most powerful men in the world, and his support for Israel. Especially as pro-Palestinian sentiment has climbed since Oct. 7, the backing of X’s CEO could prove invaluable. 

Politics is a game of pragmatism. Ideally, Israel wouldn’t need to accept Musk’s support, but that simply isn’t the case. In today’s hostile world, Israel can’t be picky with its supporters–especially since Musk is perhaps the biggest of them all.

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