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May 17, 2023 3:51 pm

Elon Musk Accused of Boosting Antisemitism With Tweet Comparing Soros to Jewish Comic Book Villain

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avatar by Ben Cohen

Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk (far right) is seen at the 2023 Miami Grand Prix. Photo: Reuters/Hoch Zwei

American Jewish leaders charged Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk with fueling antisemitism on Wednesday after the billionaire compared the prominent financier George Soros, who is Jewish, with Magneto, the Jewish villain superhero created by Marvel Comics.

In a fit of pique following the decision of Soros’s investment vehicle to sell its entire stock in electric car manufacturer Tesla — which reported a significant cut in profits in the first quarter of this year — Musk tweeted that the financier and philanthropist “reminds me of Magneto.” In subsequent posts, he accused Soros of wanting to “destroy the fabric of civilization,” claiming as well that “Soros hates humanity.”

A character from the X-Men series, Magneto was not originally Jewish when he first appeared in the 1960s. However, Chris Claremont, a writer with Marvel, decided to make the character both Jewish and a survivor of the Holocaust after spending time on a kibbutz in Israel in the early 1970s. Moved by the experiences of the Holocaust survivors he encountered, Claremont decided to round out Magneto’s character by adding a Jewish element.

Musk’s invocation of Magneto to condemn the 93-year-old Soros — many of whose family members were exterminated during the Nazi occupation of his native Hungary — was denounced by several US Jewish leaders and organizations.

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“Comparing George Soros to Magneto, a Jewish comic book villain who is a Holocaust survivor like Soros, is extremely pointed and intentional,” American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO Ted Deutch tweeted.

Separately, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Jonathan Greenblatt, pointed out in a tweet that Soros was a favorite target of the far right.

“To see Elon Musk, regardless of his intent, feed this segment — comparing him to a Jewish supervillain, claiming Soros ‘hates humanity’ — is not just distressing, it’s dangerous: it will embolden extremists who already contrive anti-Jewish conspiracies and have tried to attack Soros and Jewish communities as a result,” Greenblatt wrote.

However, Musk remained unmoved, tweeting in response to Greenblatt that the ADL “should just drop the ‘A’.”

A small number of right-wing Jewish commentators rose to Musk’s defense, with some invoking the funding provided by Soros’s charitable foundation to Palestinian groups, several of whom support the imposition of a comprehensive boycott of Israel, and others endorsing the charge, common among far right and white supremacist groups, that Soros is a “globalist” bent on destroying national sovereignty. One account belonging to an individual describing himself as an Orthodox Jew claimed that the attacks on Soros have “nothing to do with Judaism other than the fact that he’s Jewish. He’s talked about for being terrible, not for being Jewish.”

The ADL’s Greenblatt was also targeted by Jewish supporters of former President Donald Trump, with Stephen Miller — a former advisor to Trump and an advocate of draconian immigration laws — accusing him of a “vile slander” against Musk, and Josh Hammer, the opinion editor of Newsweek, insulting Greenblatt as a “petty tyrant.”

Soros’s fortune is dwarfed by that of Musk, according to business outlet Forbes. Soros’s wealth is estimated at $6.7 billion while Musk is valued at $176 billion.

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