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Florida lawmakers to consider bill that defines antisemitism

Florida lawmakers to consider bill that defines antisemitism


Elon Musk on Monday visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau site of a former Nazi death camp, a move that comes after the billionaire owner of X faced a backlash for calling an antisemitic post on the social platform “the actual truth.”

Musk’s November endorsement of the antisemitic post prompted some top advertisers, including Apple, Comcast, Disney, IBM and Warner Bros., to pull their marketing dollars from the platform. Musk later said the decision of these companies to cut spending on X, formerly known as Twitter, could “kill the company.”

Musk also came under fire from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an advocacy group that works to combat hate against Jewish people, with the group’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt writing on X that it is “dangerous to use one’s influence to validate and promote antisemitic theories.”

On Monday, Musk was photographed visiting the Birkenau site together with Daily Wire podcaster Ben Shapiro, with both set to attend a conference on antisemitism this week. Birkenau is a village near Oswiecim, in southern Poland, fenced off with barbed wire, where wooden barracks for the prisoners and the ruins of a gas chamber endure as evidence of Nazi crimes, and where a monument to the victims stands. International ceremonies are held there each year.

Musk also reposted a photo of himself and Shapiro touring the site, where more than 1.1 million people were murdered by the Nazis and their henchmen during World War II. Most who were killed were Jews, but the victims also included Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war, and others. In all, about 6 million European Jews died during the Holocaust. When the Soviets liberated the camp, they found about 7,000 survivors.

In a statement emailed to CBS MoneyWatch, the ADL said it hoped the visit would result in changes at X. An ADL spokesperosn wrote, “As Musk learns from his trip, we hope he and the leadership team at X will reflect on the ways in which antisemitism has been allowed to spread on their platform, as our research has shown, and truly redouble their efforts in terms of both policy and enforcement to stop its continued proliferation.”

The ADL added, “Anyone who has the opportunity to bear witness to the atrocities that took place in Auschwitz-Birkenau should go. Auschwitz serves as the ultimate reminder of what can happen when a society or its leaders are consumed with antisemitism.”

Antisemitism conference

Musk’s visit at the most notorious site of the horrors of the Holocaust came before a scheduled appearance later Monday at a conference on antisemitism organized by the European Jewish Association in the nearby Polish city of Krakow.

Musk had been expected to make the visit on Tuesday and take part in a memorial service, together with political figures attending the EJA conference in Krakow, but showed up at the Nazi death camp on Monday instead.

“Due to schedule concerns, before Elon Musk’s arrival to the European Jewish Association conference, he took part in a private visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau with EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Ben Shapiro and Holocaust survivor Gidon Lev. Musk laid a wreath at the wall of death and took part in a short memorial ceremony and service by the Birkenau memorial,” the EJA said in an email.

Antisemitic X post

The backlash over Musk’s views came after he responded to an X user’s post that claimed Jews “have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.” 

Musk responded, “You have said the actual truth” while also criticizing the ADL, writing, “the ADL unjustly attacks the majority of the West, despite the majority of the West supporting the Jewish people and Israel. This is because they cannot, by their own tenets, criticize the minority groups who are their primary threat.”

He later apologized for the comment, calling it the “dumbest” post he’s ever done.

—With reporting by the Associated Press.

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