The conspiracy theorist and antisemitic hate preacher David Icke led a rally in London over the weekend against the lockdown and other pandemic-related rules and restrictions. He was joined on stage by Piers Corbyn, the conspiracist brother of the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Participants at the demonstration displayed the symbol of Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, among other controversial material.
Other attendees reportedly displayed placards promoting the antisemitic QAnon conspiracy theory, which believes a powerful cabal runs the world.
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.
Recently, Ofcom sanctioned the television channel London Live for airing an interview with Mr Icke on COVID-19 in which he claimed that Israel is using the pandemic to “test its technology” and Facebook and YouTube resolved to remove Mr Icke from their platforms, albeit because of his conspiracies regarding the pandemic rather than because he is a Jew-hater. Waterstones also recently announced that it would remove from sale all of his books.
Piers Corbyn has his own history of controversy in relation to antisemitic conspiracy theories. He has previously retweeted @whiteknight0011, a notorious neo-Nazi who declared that “They will force Trump in to war What do you think happened to Hitler? Bilderberg CIA IMF Banker Gangsters They are the problem” along with four images. The @whiteknight0011 account has since been suspended. One image showed Lord Jacob Rothschild, the Jewish banker and philanthropist, against the background of a Nazi flag, claiming that he controls the world. A second showed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a puppeteer controlling ISIS through Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, orchestrating the war in Syria and Paris attacks as Lord Rothschild and the Queen look on approvingly. A third image showed the faces of supposed Jewish conspirators who run the world to society’s detriment, proclaiming: “Know your enemy”. The last image showed a family photo of the Royal Family, claiming that they are in cahoots with these Jewish conspirators in committing “the worst genocides, invasions and theft in all history.”
Piers Corbyn has also claimed that “Zionists” were conspiring against his brother: when Jewish then-MP Louise Ellman complained of antisemitic attacks against her, Piers accused her of using it as a cover for political attack, tweeting: “ABSURD! JC+ All #Corbyns are committed #AntiNazi. #Zionists can’t cope with anyone supporting rights for #Palestine”.
It is ironic that Jeremy Corbyn, agreed with and defended his brother over that statement, citing the fact their mother had been at Cable Street, a 1936 clash between Mr Mosley’s British Union of Fascists and his Jewish and non-Jewish opponents.
Image credit: Joe Mulhall