Critics are accusing Elon Musk of antisemitism after the soon-to-be-former Twitter CEO compared the Jewish philanthropist billionaire George Soros to the X-Men villain Magneto last night.
Seemingly unprompted (more on that later), Musk tweeted "Soros reminds me of Magneto" last night, comparing the billionaire to the Jewish Marvel villain who could bend metal and fought for mutant supremacy over humans in the X-men series. In response, Brian Krassenstein responded with some X-Men lore and a defense of Soros, writing:
Fun fact: Magneto's experiences during the Holocaust as a survivor shaped his perspective as well as his depth and empathy. Soro, also a Holocaust survivor, [gets] attacked nonstop for his good intentions which some Americans think are bad merely because they disagree with [his] political affiliations.
Musk responded with, "You assume they are good intentions. They are not. He wants to erode the very fabric of civilization. Soros hates humanity." Musk did not respond to Krassenstein's follow-up asking on what basis he made that claim.
Conspiracy theories about George Soros have long been connected to antisemitic conspiracy theories about Jews. In 2018, the Washington Post argued that the prominent conspiracy theories about Soros — that he uses his wealth to secretly "fund protest" — line up "a familiar anti-Semitic canard: the idea that Jews are malevolent fomenters of social dissent, agitators slyly funding and masterminding protest, seeking to undermine a white, Christian social order."
Though Musk never explicitly mentioned Soros' Jewishness in his tweets, the fact he claimed Soros wanted to "erode the very fabric of civilization" in the discussion led many on Twitter and Bluesky to believe the tweets were in line with antisemitic conspiracy theories.
Atlantic staff writer Yair Rosenberg took issue with the very comparison itself, arguing that Magneto and Soros had "literally opposite" responses to surviving the Holocaust.
Though Musk's tweets seemed to come out of nowhere, some pointed to circumstantial evidence that would suggest Musk has a personal grievance with Soros, causing him to liken the billionaire to Magneto. Earlier this week, it was reported Soros Fund Management sold all of its $16 million stake in Tesla, one of Musk's other companies.
Musk has a long history of lobbying insults to those he believes to have wronged him, including calling a British diver involved in the Tham Luang Cave Rescue a "pedo guy" after the diver dismissed Musk's claims that he helped in the rescue and threatening to give NPR's Twitter handle to another account unless the organization resumed tweeting.
May 16, 2023 at 04:18PM EDT
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