Netanyahu to ask Musk to invest in Israel during California meeting

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to ask Elon Musk to invest in Israel when he meets the billionaire maverick owner of X, formerly known as Twitter, in California next week, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Musk said the meeting was scheduled weeks ago and would focus on artificial intelligence technology.

Netanyahu may also try to bolster relations with executives in the hi-tech sector, a key driver of the Israeli economy, as well as to hold meetings with leaders in the field of artificial intelligence.

California will be the first stop in Netanyahu’s visit to the United States next week, where he is expected to address the opening high-level session of the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The Prime Minister’s Office said that Netanyahu would meet US President Joe Biden while in New York, for what will be their first face-to-face conversation since taking office in December. As of Thursday evening, the White House had yet to confirm a meeting.

The PMO said that Netanyahu would also meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and other leaders. Netanyahu will also speak with the leaders of the Jewish community in the US during his visit.

This will be his most substantive foreign trip since he returned to power at the end of 2022.

Netanyahu heads to New York amid international concern, particularly in the US, that the judicial reform, which he has argued will strengthen Israeli democracy, will actually transform it into a dictatorship.

Increased antisemitism, hate speech on X

The Musk meeting is also likely to raise eyebrows as the owner of X is under fire for lax company policies which allow for the dissemination of antisemitism on the platform.

Hate speech on X has increased dramatically since Musk bought the site last year.

Civil rights groups, including the Center for Countering Digital Hate and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), have found that the volume of hate speech on X has grown dramatically under the stewardship of Musk, who is also the CEO of electric car maker Tesla.

In December, the ADL noted both an increase in antisemitic content on the platform and a decrease in the moderation of antisemitic posts since Musk took over. The Center for Countering Digital Hate said that under Musk, the daily use of racial slurs against Black people is triple the 2022 average, and that slurs against gay men and trans persons are up 58% and 62%, respectively.

Last week, Musk said US ad revenue had declined by 60%.

Without providing evidence, Musk has blamed critics for the slump in ad revenue. He has pointed the finger specifically at pressure from the ADL, which he has started to pejoratively refer to as the “Defamation League,” including in his statement on X on Thursday.

Earlier this month, Musk joined a conversation on X with the hashtag #BantheADL, embraced by white nationalists and antisemites, and asked followers whether he should poll the platform about it. He engaged in exchanges with users who expressed antisemitic viewpoints during the discussion.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Source: JP
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