Elon Musk met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday in Israel, where the pair toured the Kfar Azza kibbutz, one of the Jewish communities attacked by Hamas militants during their Oct. 7 cross-border assault.
After touring the scene of the violence, Musk was shown a video documenting some of the atrocities that took place, according to a conversation between the two men broadcast afterward on X, formerly known as Twitter. Musk said it was jarring to visit the site and troubling to see the joy on the faces of Hamas militants as they killed innocent people.
“It’s one thing obviously if civilians die accidentally, but it’s another thing to revel in the joy of killing civilians, that’s evil,” Musk said.
Musk also rebuffed arguments that Israel has disproportionately killed civilians in Gaza, saying the actions of Hamas militants were intentional. “There is an important difference here, which is Israel tries to avoid killing civilians,” Musk said.
The trip comes as Musk faces widespread criticism for his decision to loosen content moderation on X, formerly Twitter, after he purchased the platform last year. Since the Hamas attack, antisemitic content has surged more than 900 percent on the platform, The Washington Post reported. Disinformation specialists have accused Musk of playing a uniquely potent role by easing moderation standards and amplifying antisemitic tropes.
Musk has also been condemned by the White House for indicating support for an antisemitic conspiracy theory on X, a move U.S. officials called an “abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate.” A number of major advertisers have fled the platform after their ads appeared next to pro-Nazi posts.
Musk did not directly address those allegations in his conversation with Netanyahu on Monday, but he said there is a need to “stop the propaganda that is convincing people to engage in murder.” The militants must be “neutralized,” he added.
Also on Monday, Musk reached a “principle understanding” with Israel to operate SpaceX’s Starlink satellites in Gaza, according to Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, but only with Israeli approval.
Israeli officials have warned him against supplying aid organizations within Gaza with internet connectivity through Starlink, saying it would be used by Hamas.
Gaza has suffered several communications blackouts since the war began, effectively sealing off the enclave’s residents from the outside world and one another. Aid groups inside the Strip said Palestinians were unable to contact emergency services amid heavy strikes under those blackouts.
“This understanding is vital, as is it for everyone who desires a better world, free of evil and free of antisemitism, for our children’s sake,” Karhi wrote on X before welcoming Musk to the country.