Israel is pivoting to say that now Elon Musk’s attacks on George Soros are not anti-Semitic

TEL AVIV — An Israeli minister officially tasked with combating anti-Semitism has defended Twitter CEO Elon Musk, saying Israel does not view tech mogul’s recent comparison of Jewish financier George Soros to a comic book supervillain as anti-Semitic.

The minister’s tweet came just days after Israel’s Foreign Ministry said anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and the phrase “Jews” had been circulating on Twitter following Musk’s comment, which they said “smells of anti-Semitism.”

Late Thursday, Israel’s Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Amichai Shekli, tweeted the exact opposite. “As Israel’s minister in charge of combating anti-Semitism, I want to make clear that the Israeli government and the vast majority of Israeli citizens see Elon Musk as a great entrepreneur and role model.

Israeli government slams Musk’s attack on Soros because it ‘smells of anti-Semitism’

“Criticizing Soros – who finances the most hostile organization to the Jewish people and the State of Israel is nothing but anti-Semitic, quite the opposite!” he added.

The contrast highlights Soros’ divided view of Israel, with some saying his critics use classic anti-Semitic tropes to delegitimize him, and conservatives saying his liberal policies are causing harm to Israel and the Jewish people.

On Monday, Musk caused a Twitter storm after accusing Soros — Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor, liberal billionaire and longtime focal point of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories — of hating humanity and seeking to “erode the fabric of civilization.”

“Soros reminds me of Magneto,” Musk tweeted late Monday, likening the financier to the Marvel Comics villain portrayed as a holocaust survivor who seeks to replace humans with mutants as the world’s dominant race. The character is based, according to its author, on former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

Musk’s comments came three days after Soros’ investment fund announced that it had sold all of its shares in Tesla, Musk’s electric car company.

Musk says George Soros “hates humanity,” and compares him to the Jewish supervillain

It also coincides with growing outrage over what critics say is Musk’s gross mismanagement of the social media platform, which has allowed anti-Semitism and other forms of hate speech to spread. Since Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion last October, anti-Semitic tweets have at least doubled and accounts created to spread vitriolic content have tripled, according to an analysis by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a nonpartisan think tank, and CASM Technology. , a startup researching misinformation and hate speech online.

Online vitriol against Soros has mounted alongside the far right in Israel in recent years. Many say Soros supports J Street, the moderate pro-peace lobby. B’Tselem Human Rights Organization. and other liberal groups in Israel and the Palestinian territories aiming to delegitimize Israel. Many right-wing Israelis also accuse Soros of antisemitism.

Netanyahu has faced criticism for years for his strategy of politicizing the Holocaust and has been accused of turning a blind eye to anti-Semitic incidents when they are endorsed or promoted by political allies abroad, especially in increasingly illiberal democracies such as Hungary and Poland.

In 2017, in what was seen as an attempt by Netanyahu to curry favor with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Israel’s Foreign Ministry supported Orban’s advertising campaign blaming Soros for Europe’s migration crisis.

Again, there were divided messages from Israel, with its ambassador to Hungary initially criticizing the campaign for “evoking sad memories but also hatred and fear”, referring to the complicity of Hungarian citizens in the deportation of 500,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. Hours later, the State Department said Soros “consistently undermines the democratically elected governments of Israel.”

Days later, Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s son, published a fake meme showing Soros pinning a globe in front of a reptilian creature. The meme has been widely shared on anti-Semitic conspiracy theory news sites and social media groups. It was retweeted by former Ku Klux Klan leader and Holocaust denier David Duke.

The neo-Nazi affiliate Daily Stormer also congratulated the meme and called Yair a “total Brotherhood”.

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