Elon Musk speaks during live interview with Ben Shapiro at the symposium on fighting antisemitism on January 22, 2024 in Krakow, Poland.
Omar Marques/Getty Images
Elon Musk attended a conference held by the European Jewish Association on Monday. Musk has been accused of posting antisemitic content but said he was “naive” about antisemitism.”I have twice as many Jewish friends as non-Jewish friends,” he told Ben Shapiro.
Elon Musk, the tech billionaire who has been accused of airing antisemitic sentiments and conspiracy theories on his social media platform, X, said he had so many Jewish friends he was “Jewish by association” but added that he was “naive” about antisemitism.
On Monday, Musk, accompanied by right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro, visited Auschwitz, a former Nazi death camp in Poland where millions of Jewish people were systematically killed during the Holocaust.
The European Jewish Association organized the trip and held a conference later on Monday in the nearby Polish city of Krakow. In a conversation between Musk and Shapiro, the Tesla CEO was asked by Shapiro about a “radical upsurge in antisemitic activity.”
The billionaire said he was “naive” about it because “two-thirds” of his friends are Jewish, he said.
“I have twice as many Jewish friends as non-Jewish friends,” Musk said as Shapiro laughed in the background. “I’m like Jewish by association. I’m aspirationally Jewish. So I was like, ‘What are people talking about with this antisemitism?’ Because I never hear it at dinner conversations. It’s like an absurdity — at least in my friend circles.”
Musk then discussed what he called “pro-Hamas rallies” on “elite college campuses,” saying that university students should not be “fostering hate.”
In September, the Anti-Defamation League put out a report tracking what it called “virulent antisemitism” on X. Musk threatened to sue the ADL and said the organization was “falsely accusing” him of “being antisemitic.”
Following the row with the ADL, Musk described himself as “aspirationally Jewish” to Shapiro in a September X space. The ADL briefly removed ads on X but later returned, saying it would work with Musk to monitor hate speech.
Musk was widely condemned in November after he endorsed a post on X that accused Jewish communities of pushing hate against white people while using racist language against “minorities.”
The post, which blamed Jewish people for ushering in immigrants of color en masse, seemed to reference the “great replacement” theory embraced by white nationalists, which says that nonwhite people will replace white populations.
Following the post, Apple, Disney, and IBM opted out of advertising on X.
Musk later apologized for the posts at the New York Times DealBook Summit in November but told advertisers to “go fuck yourself.”
The visit to Auschwitz over the weekend follows his visit to Israel in November.
Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment.