Australian Government Facing Mounting Pressure to Ban Conspiracy Theorist David Icke Over Anti-Semitic Claims
The Australian government is under increasing pressure to ban conspiracy theorist David Icke from the country following complaints from Jewish groups and the opposition Labor Party about Icke’s anti-Semitic views. The Anti-Defamation Council raised the alarm last week, but the issue rose to national prominence after the Labor Party sent a letter to the immigration minister, David Coleman, decrying Icke’s “extreme antisemitic views, including campaigning for Holocaust denial to be taught in schools” and asking for Icke’s visa to be revoked ahead of his planned five-city Everything You Need to Know tour next month.
Icke denied that his tour would be anti-Semitic, promising that he wouldn’t “even mention” Jewish people or Zionism in his tour, in which he will allege that prominent world leaders are lizard people in a millennia-long conspiracy to control the course of global history. “How can this be anything but nonsense when I won’t even be mentioning Jewish people or Zionism in my talks in Australia?” he told News Corp. Australia last week.
In a posting to Twitter yesterday, Icke called the Australian Labor Party and, for some reason, the British Labour Party the “enemies of freedom” and claimed that Labor had told “staggering lies” in order “to silence the truth.” The attack on British Labour is probably due the fact that media reports credit Icke’s anti-Semitic views with uniting Labour’s factions in the common cause of opposing anti-Semitism.
In his books, Icke has made use of traditional anti-Semitic propaganda to attack his imagined lizard people and international bankers. This has included the use of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which he alleges to have been altered to use against Jews instead of lizard people. Despite the fig-leaf of imagining Jews being controlled by lizard people, Icke has falsely claimed that the Jews (or, rather, “Rothschild Zionists”) funded Hitler and the Holocaust to gain sympathy for the creation of Israel, that Jews were secretly responsible for the 9/11 attacks, and that Jews created the 2008 financial crisis.
Australia reserves broad power to deny entry based on character, but it didn’t have a problem when Icke toured the country in 2016. However, Australia did block the founder of the alt-right hate group Proud Boys from entering the country.
As I discussed earlier this week in talking about the racist Ancient Aliens episodes that aired in the country to mark Australia Day, Australia is facing a rising tide of Neo-Nazi and alt-right extremism. A candidate from the Labor Party summed up the risks of letting Icke in to spread his brand of alt-right, anti-Semitic conspiracy nonsense: “Fighting racism and antisemitism should be something all political parties are united on. It is imperative that the government stop racist hate like Mr Icke visiting Australia and profiting off racism.”
Coleman declined to tell the media what, if anything, he planned to do about Icke but said that any action would be balanced against Australia’s commitment to freedom of speech.
This is one of those issues where I have difficulty deciding the right thing to do. Instinctively, I don’t like the idea of ideological litmus tests and find it disturbing that someone could be banned because of his ideas rather than his actions. On the other hand, Icke is disgusting and uses his lizard people claims and the trappings of the ancient astronaut theory to deliver ugly, hateful propaganda. In an ideal world, Icke would speak and no one would listen, but we don’t live in an ideal world. Tentatively, I’d have to come down on the side of free speech since Icke doesn’t outright advocate violence, but I can’t say that I would shed any tears if the Australian government chose to ban him from the country.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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