I feel like I need to take note of the bizarre statement from former head of Israel’s defense ministry space directorate made recently alleging that the United States is touch with space aliens and that Donald Trump considered breaking the news before the election. Haim Eshed is 87 years old and currently promoting a new book about the cosmos. He served as the head of the space directorate from the early 2000s to 2010. Prior to that, he worked on Israel’s satellite program, beginning in 1980, and was one of the founders of Israel’s space agency in 1983.
Eshed’s claims were straight out of the Majestic-12 conspiracy theory, with an assist from Star Trek.
Eshed described a Galactic Federation with an outpost on Mars where U.S. and alien officials work side by side. As in the MJ-12 conspiracy, he alleges that America signed a treaty with space aliens allowing for the abduction of a certain number of humans in exchange for alien technology.
“There is an agreement between the U.S. government and the aliens. They signed a contract with us to do experiments here,” he said in an interview originally published last week in Hebrew.
Eshed alleged that the Galactic Federation prevented Trump from revealing their existence. “The Unidentified Flying Objects have asked not to publish that they are here, humanity is not ready yet,” he said. Naturally, the space aliens are looking to understand the “fabric of the universe” by probing human asses. Insert black hole jokes here.
Obviously, the story is bullshit. It’s clearly made up of spare parts from Ancient Aliens, science fiction, and internet conspiracy theories. Each part has an obvious antecedent circulating on cable TV for the last decade, and there is no point in berating an elderly man in his twilight years for mistaking cable TV for reality.
But it is interesting to consider the very different way the U.S. media played this story after English-language excerpts ran in the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday to the very similar fantasies that long-ago Canadian defense minister Paul Hellyer, now 97, has spun since 2005 about many species of space alien he came to believe visited earth after watching a mystery-mongering 2005 ABC-TV documentary about UFOs and mistaking it for reality.
His claims never received traction in the mainstream press beyond some mocking human interest coverage and a perch in conspiracy TV programs like Ancient Aliens and the Putin-backed conspiracy outlet RT. Eshed’s claims made national news, broadcast on mainstream news broadcasts and published in major newspapers, magazines, and websites. Eshed has a more impressive biography, but he is a decade out of government, has a financial interest in the claims he is making, and offers ideas that are prima facie impossible for him to know with no evidence or support to back them up.
I’m not going to push on this point too hard, though. My agent—who breathlessly messaged me yesterday to turn on the news and see the story—says that it’s great for me because it will prime publishers to consider my new book an interesting buy. Since L. A. Confidential author James Ellroy is also about to publish a new novel featuring an evil James Dean as one of its villains (which is problematic in its own way), the fates are kind of lining things up for me. So, selfishly, I hope Eshed keeps on spouting insane Ancient Aliens nonsense all across the media, at least until my book sells.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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