Netanyahu pressures Musk to stop anti-Semitic speech at X – 09/18/2023 – World

Netanyahu pressures Musk to stop anti-Semitic speech at X – 09/18/2023 – World

The Prime Minister of Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu, met with Elon Musk in California, in the United States, to discuss issues related to technology this Monday (18). Throughout the conversation — broadcast live on

For Musk, the event was an opportunity to calm the nerves of the American Jewish community, with whom he has been in a public fight since the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) accused the businessman of making X more tolerant of anti-Semitic speeches since he took command of the platform.

Netanyahu, who arrived on American soil at the opening of the UN General Assembly in New York, sought to somehow regain the respect of his country’s technology sector, one of many Israeli sectors that oppose his plans for promote legislative reform that, by reducing the independence of the Judiciary, threatens the rule of law in the country.

The prime minister, who even compared Musk to inventor Thomas Edison, soon guided the conversation to the issue of content moderation on X that bothers the American Jewish community so much. “I know you are committed to this, but I encourage you and urge you to find a balance,” said Bibi, as the leader is known.

He also stated that he would try to convince the billionaire to invest in Israel. Netanyahu has been accused by technology entrepreneurs of driving away foreign investment by promoting judicial reform. Without the international influx, the shekel, the local currency, has suffered a 9% devaluation compared to the dollar since the beginning of the year.

The project also damaged Tel Aviv’s relations with Washington, its biggest ally on the international stage. President Joe Biden has openly criticized the plan on several occasions, and has already stated that the current Israeli administration, formed by an ultra-right coalition, is “the most radical” in the nation’s history in the Middle East.

Netanyahu, in fact, still had hopes of receiving an invitation from Biden to a meeting at the White House when he went to the US this week. He has not met in person with the Democrat since taking office as prime minister at the end of last year — an uncharacteristic delay given the countries’ historical proximity. But a US government announcement late last week dashed that hope by declaring that American and Israeli leaders will meet in New York on the sidelines of the General Assembly.

The US president and the technology sector that earned Israel the nickname “startup nation” are far from being the only ones to oppose judicial reform. Protests against the plan have drawn thousands of Israelis to the streets since the beginning of the year, and have also followed Netanyahu to the US, with demonstrators following him from the airport in San Jose, surrounding the Tesla factory in Fremont where he spoke with Musk for morning, and then migrating to Union Square in San Francisco.

In the debate, the prime minister received evasive answers about content moderation. Musk has not committed to adopting tougher tools to limit anti-Semitic posts, saying that while he is personally against hate speech, “free speech means sometimes someone you don’t like is saying something you don’t he likes”.

Civil rights organizations say the volume of hate speech on X has grown dramatically since the businessman took charge of the network. The Center Against Digital Hate stated, for example, that under the billionaire’s leadership, the daily amount of racist insults used against black people tripled compared to the 2022 average. In the same period, the use of pejorative terms to refer to homosexual men and trans people increased by 58% and 62%, respectively.

Musk, who equates content moderation with censorship, has seen his incentives for unfettered free speech become a drag on X’s business growth. AJ Brown, former director of brand safety and ad quality at Twitter, This month, he told Reuters news agency that the content moderation policy implemented by the billionaire made it more difficult to convince companies that the X environment is safe for ads.

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