Elon Musk is due to address anti-Semitism online at a conference in Poland

Kraków (Poland) (AFP) - Elon Musk visited Auschwitz and was due to address anti-Semitism online at an event in Poland on Monday just weeks after sparking a firestorm by endorsing a anti-Jewish conspiracy theory on his social media platform X.

The European Jewish Association said Musk laid a wreath and participated in a memorial service during a private visit to the former death camp alongside EJA’s chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin. Photos showed Musk at the site with his son on his shoulders.

Musk and US right-wing political commentator Ben Shapiro were due to speak later at a conference hosted by the EJA.

Musk apologised in November after responding “the actual truth” to a post on X, formerly Twitter, that was criticised as echoing a conspiracy theory among White supremacists and prompted advertisers to pause ads on the platform.

The tech tycoon has also faced accusations of a proliferation of hate speech on X, 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 EJA said.

“This troubling trend” had been escalating since the Israel-Hamas war erupted, said the association.

The symposium comes shortly before the 79th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz 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.

- ‘Pro-Semitic’ -

Margolin invited Musk to visit Auschwitz during a live discussion broadcast on X in September, saying it would make “a very strong statement” that could contribute to “Holocaust awareness and the struggle to combat anti-Semitism”.

Musk agreed that it could be “helpful… as an example to others”.

During 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.

- ‘Dumbest post ever’ -

The post endorsed by Musk in November said that Jewish communities advocated a “dialectical hatred against whites”.

Musk’s endorsement 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.