After years of pressure from Campaign Against Antisemitism, the conspiracy theorist and antisemitic hate preacher David Icke has finally been banned from two social media platforms – but not over his antisemitism. Meanwhile, a third platform has yet to take action against Mr Icke.
Facebook and YouTube resolved to remove Mr Icke from their platforms in recent days, but it comes after years of promoting the antisemitic commentator, much of whose website traffic is directed from social media. Despite extensive dossiers having been provided to the tech giants by Campaign Against Antisemitism in the past detailing Mr Icke’s racist claims about Jews, he has only now been banned – and it was not even related to antisemitism.
Instead, Mr Icke’s YouTube channel and Facebook page were removed because of his misinformation campaign regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been viewed some 30 million times (although as part of this campaign he has also claimed that Israel was using the COVID-19 crisis to “test its technology”).
It is, however, understood that at least one other Facebook page relating to Mr Icke is still live.
Regrettably, another social media platform – Twitter – has yet to take any action against Mr Icke. Twitter did, however, find time and cause to suspend the account of Michael Oren, the esteemed historian and former Israeli ambassador to the United States, for reasons that have reportedly not been disclosed by the company.
Mr Icke uses social media, his books and his stage performances to incite hatred. His preaching is so absurd that since the 1990s he has been dismissed as a crank, but because he is dismissed, there has been no major opposition to him and he has built up a following of thousands upon thousands of disciples whom he has persuaded to adamantly believe that the world is in the grip of a conspiracy run by the “Rothschild Zionists”. His repertoire includes conspiracy myths and tropes classified as antisemitic according to the International Definition of Antisemitism. Campaign Against Antisemitism has successfully persuaded some venues to pull out of hosting his events. Last month, Ofcom sanctioned the television channel London Live for airing an interview with Mr Icke on COVID-19.
Campaign Against Antisemitism will continue to press social media companies and other outlets to bar Mr Icke and other antisemites from their forums.