OPINION: Musk, technocide and this latest evil fantasy

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OPINION: Musk, technocide and this latest evil fantasy

We need to fight insidious fantasies about Jews because they have grave consequences, writes Alex Hearn

Prime Minister Netanyahu and wife Sara meeting Elon Musk in the U.S. September 19, 2023. Credit: Avi Ohayon (GPO)
Prime Minister Netanyahu and wife Sara meeting Elon Musk in the U.S. September 19, 2023. Credit: Avi Ohayon (GPO)

British Jews on the left understand more than most about the cost of speaking out. But sometimes things just need to be said – for the sake of the Jewish community and wider society.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party dug its own hole by allowing racism to run rampant and then accused Jewish people and organisations when they complained of plotting to undermine the party. Although this is no longer acceptable in the Labour Party, a similar template is being adopted elsewhere.

Since Elon Musk took charge of X (formerly Twitter), racism against Jews and others has increased, as research  from the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) and the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) shows.

A coalition of non-profit organisations complained too little was being done by X to combat hate. Advertisers agreed and X’s revenue dropped. But Musk claimed X was innocent and blamed the Anti-Defamation League, an organisation that combats antisemitism. He accused them of “strangling” and nearly “killing” X.

Jews were once accused of killing the Christian deity, which is called deicide. Jeremy Corbyn supporters frequently referenced it, simply swapping JCs. In the age of technology, the iteration constructed by Elon Musk is what I call technocide: The Jews killed X.

Elon Musk is the world’s richest man and has the largest following on X with more than 155 million followers. And yet he claims to be the victim of a powerful plot by an American Jewish organisation

There are more than 60 groups in the #StopToxicTwitter pressure campaign, and ADL is far from the biggest group in the coalition. Elon Musk is responsible for X’s business problems and failure to control racism, not a Jewish organisation complaining about it – no matter what you think of it. Even many of ADL’s biggest critics recognise this.

Elon Musk is the world’s richest man and has the largest following on X with more than 155 million followers. And yet he claims to be the victim of a powerful plot by an American Jewish organisation, just as Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters did with British Jewish organisations.

He has denied he is antisemitic, like the infamous “not an antisemitic bone in his body” excuse British Jews became so accustomed to hearing. Doing nothing to reduce concerns, Musk has boosted the neo-Nazi campaign #BanTheADL. Obviously there is only one reason neo-Nazis want to ban Jewish rights organisations.

The free speech absolutist tried to silence ADL’s criticism by threatening legal action. But this story isn’t ADL vs X. This is a conspiracy fantasy by an exceedingly rich and powerful man, who either wants to blame someone else for his own failures or boost the profile of his platform. Either way, it is at the expense of Jews.

And like antisemitism in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, this is a no-win scenario for the Jewish community. It is once again left to choose from two options in a rigged game where the outcome is fixed, like a two-headed coin:

1) Keep quiet and allow the antisemitic claims and campaigns to go unchallenged.

2) Speak out and be accused of having Jewish power and causing antisemitism.

Elon Musk has been compared to Henry Ford. Some similarities are striking. Wealthy, influential men who pioneered the transport tech of their day. They also both recognised the value of owning communication platforms. Ford bought a local newspaper (which became the second most read paper in the USA) to control printed information; Musk bought Twitter to control online information.

Ford’s paper pumped out stories about Jews controlling different walks of life; Musk’s platform is accused of allowing racist fantasies to run riot. But social media is infinitely more powerful than a newspaper because it is immediate and global. Antisemitic trends like #BanTheADL can spread across the world like wildfire in an instant. The potential to damage the fabric of society is immense.

Elon Musk switched off his Starlink satellites to obstruct the Ukrainian army and Putin called him “outstanding”.  Adolf Hitler cited Ford approvingly in Mein Kampf and the Nazis awarded him their top honour after they took power. At the Nuremberg trials, former Hitler Youth leader Baldur von Schirach described how Ford’s publications helped radicalise them.

Today’s situation is clearly not the same, but hindsight warns us keeping quiet is not an option. We need to fight insidious fantasies about Jews because they have grave consequences.

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