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Will Elon Musk meet with Israel’s Netanyahu in San Francisco?

X (formerly Twitter) CEO Elon Musk leaves the Phillip Burton Federal Building on Jan. 24, 2023 in San Francisco. | Getty Images | Source: Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will make a brief stop in San Francisco later this month en route to the United Nations in New York, a visit that some members of the Israeli press believe will likely include a meeting with controversial tech mogul Elon Musk.

Reports of the planned meeting surfaced at a time when the mercurial X/Twitter CEO is facing backlash after threatening to file a defamation lawsuit against Jewish civil rights nonprofit the Anti-Defamation League. 

Musk has faced accusations in recent weeks that he amplified an antisemitic social media campaign targeting the Jewish anti-discrimination organization.

There is currently no information about Netanyahu’s schedule in San Francisco, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office told The Standard.

But several Israeli journalists have said that Netanyahu will be in San Francisco to discuss artificial intelligence and meet with companies from the city’s booming AI sector.

Despite that, Yuna Leibzon, the U.S. correspondent for Israel’s Channel 12, reported that Netanyahu would meet with Musk. Several other journalists also lent credence to the idea.

An email to Twitter and messages directed at Musk on X/Twitter went unanswered.

The schedule for Netanyahu’s visit to the United States was sent out to journalists in a direct message, Jerusalem-based reporter Noga Tarnopolsky said on Twitter

It indicates that the Israeli prime minister will arrive in San Francisco on the morning of Sept. 18. That evening, he will depart for New York, where he is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly later in the week.

If Netanyahu does meet with Musk during his San Francisco stop, it will come at a time when the latter is facing criticism and even allegations of antisemitism for targeting one of the leading American organizations fighting anti-Jewish hate. 

Speaking to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, former Anti-Defamation League chief Abraham Foxman slammed the reported meeting, saying that for the Israeli prime minister to meet with Musk now "is an insult to the majority of the American Jewish Community and counterproductive to the fight against antisemitism on social media."

The X/Twitter CEO has said the Anti-Defamation League is “primarily” responsible for the social media platform’s advertising woes.

In a response to a far-right Twitter user, Musk also said that the nonprofit, “because they are so aggressive in their demands to ban social media accounts for even minor infractions, are ironically the biggest generators of anti-Semitism on this platform!”

On Thursday, the organization’s chief executive, Jonathan Greenblatt, told CNN that Musk’s comments had led to an increase in threats against the group.