Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk was Monday due to address anti-Semitism online at an event in Poland just weeks after sparking a firestorm by endorsing an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.
The conference, hosted by the European Jewish Association, comes after Musk in November repeated a tweet on the theory and declared it the “actual truth” — before apologising.
The tech tycoon has also faced accusations of a proliferation of hate speech on X, formerly Twitter, since his $44-billion takeover of the social media site in October 2022.
Senior political figures from European countries and Musk will meet in Krakow “to discuss and find solutions to the astronomical rises in anti-Semitism affecting Europe,” the European Jewish Association said.
“This troubling trend” had been escalating since the war in Gaza, it said.
The conflict erupted when Hamas militants launched unprecedented October 7 attacks on Israel, resulting in the death of about 1,140 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.
Militants also seized about 250 hostages during the attacks, around 132 of whom Israel says remain in Gaza.
Israel has responded with a relentless bombardment and ground offensive has killed at least 25,105 people, mostly women and children, according to figures from the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.
Musk was due to speak on a panel at 4:00 pm local time (1500 GMT) alongside right-wing political commentator Ben Shapiro.
The symposium comes shortly before the 79th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on January 27, a date that has become Holocaust Memorial Day.
One million European Jews died at the camp build by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland between 1940 and 1945, along with more than 100,000 non-Jews.
A visit to the site of the former death camp is planned for conference participants on Tuesday.
During a live discussion broadcast on X in September, European Jewish Association chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin invited Musk to visit Auschwitz.
Margolin said it would be “a very strong statement” and “could contribute a lot to Holocaust awareness and the struggle to combat anti-Semitism”.
Musk agreed that it could be “helpful… as an example to others”.
Elsewhere in the discussion, Musk described himself as “aspirationally Jewish” and said he had attended Hebrew pre-school.
“It’s absurd to be accused of something when all the evidence points the other direction and my entire life story is in fact pro-semitic,” he added at the time.
Musk has threatened to file suit against the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy group, over its claims that problematic and racist speech has soared on the site since his takeover.
X Corp is also currently suing non-profit Media Matters on the grounds that it has driven away advertisers by portraying the site as rife with anti-Semitic content.
In a November comment on X, Musk called a post “the actual truth” that said Jewish communities advocated a “dialectical hatred against whites”.
The post was criticised as echoing a longtime conspiracy theory among White supremacists.
Musk’s statement prompted a flood of departures from X of major advertisers and the White House accused him of “abhorrent promotion” of anti-Semitism.
The social media titan later apologised for what he called “literally the worst and dumbest post that I’ve ever done”.
He said it had been misinterpreted and that he had sought to clarify the remark in subsequent posts to the thread.
After the controversy, the SpaceX founder visited Israel but said the trip had been planned earlier and was not an “apology tour”.
Israel’s figurehead President Isaac Herzog told the tech mogul he has “a huge role to play” to combat anti-Semitism.
“We need to fight it together because on the platforms which you lead, unfortunately, there’s a harbouring of a lot of… anti-Semitism,” Herzog said.