Elon Musk Calls Himself ‘Aspirationally Jewish’ After Visiting Auschwitz

The billionaire visited the former Nazi death camp with podcaster Ben Shapiro and the founder of the European Jewish Association.
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Billionaire Elon Musk declared himself “aspirationally Jewish” after visiting the site of the former Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland on Monday, his latest effort to undo the reputational and financial fallout after he endorsed an antisemitic post on social media.

Musk traveled to Poland to tour the former death camp with the conservative podcaster Ben Shapiro, the founder of the European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, and his 3-year-old son. He spoke at a conference hosted by the group later in the day in Krakow, saying he had, until recently, been “naïve” about the prevalence of antisemitism as he had seen “almost” none “in the circles that I move in.”

“And, you know, there’s this old joke ‘I’ve got like this one Jewish friend,’” Musk said during the event. “No, I have like two-thirds of my friends are Jewish. I have twice as many Jewish friends as non-Jewish friends. I’m like Jewish by association, I’m aspirationally Jewish.”

It was his latest attempt to recast himself as both a supporter of free speech and an opponent of anti-Jewish sentiment. He first sparked an international firestorm after endorsing an antisemitic conspiracy theory on X in November, which prompted a wave of advertisers on the social media giant to flee or suspend millions in ad buys.

Paired with Musk’s previous threats to sue the Anti-Defamation League, X has since been forced to defend itself for months amid claims by civil rights groups that the billionaire’s leadership has made it easier for hate speech to spread online.

Tesla and SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk, center, walks during his visit to the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi German death camp in Oswiecim, Poland, on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrzej Rudiak)
Tesla and SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk, center, walks during his visit to the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi German death camp in Oswiecim, Poland, on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrzej Rudiak)
via Associated Press

Musk has vehemently rejected claims he is antisemitic. He traveled to Israel in November to tour a site of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And he called his support for the tweet possibly “the worst and dumbest post I’ve ever done.”

But he defended his efforts to see X as a bastion of free speech on Monday, saying he hoped the site would be “the best source of truth in the world.”

“Relentless pursuit of the truth is the goal with X and allowing people to say what they want to say, even if it’s controversial, provided that it does not break the law,” he said.

But late last year he told companies that removed their ads from X they were not welcome back.

“If somebody’s going to try and blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go fuck yourself,” he said in November. “Go. Fuck. Yourself.”

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