For the Coast to Coast AM set, British conspiracy theorist David Icke is the equivalent of an international rock star. A former soccer player and sportscaster who in 1991 announced on a British TV talk show that he was the Son of God and that disasters would soon beset the Earth, the author/lecturer is now well-known as the backer of the sci-fi conspiracy fantasy that a secret race of bloodsucking, reptilian overlords rules the planet, a race that he calls the Babylonian Brotherhood. Members include Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, the British Royal Family, the Rothschilds, Kris Kristofferson, and, inexplicably, Boxcar Willie. (I always knew there was something funny about that hobo shtick.)
Icke will be lecturing all day long this Saturday, from 10 a.m to 7 p.m., at the Orpheum Theater in Phoenix, for the low-low-price of $50 per head. (Don't everyone call Ticketmaster at once.) Already, the local Ron Paul/911 Troofer/The-World-Is-Coming-To-an-End crowd is organizing a pilgrimage. I'm curious to see who shows up, and am toying with the possibility of attending myself.
See, I confess to finding Icke a genuinely fascinating peddler of froot-loopy moonbattery acid. Icke's brain is an encyclopedic compendium of paranoid nonsense, which he can spew forth with all the zeal and conviction of an erstwhile TV personality. In addition to the reptile bunk, Icke also believes 9/11 was an inside job, that Adolf Hitler was a Rothschild (well, that explains everything), that the Earth is hollow, that the swine flu was invented in a lab, and that mass vaccinations for H1N1 are an illuminati plot to bump off much of the planet's population and enslave the rest.
So what's the big deal, another nutter for the psycho ward? Why should we non-nutters be other than amused by Icke and his adherents?
Problem is, Icke has made a number of apparently anti-semitic statements, and has incurred the ire, in the past, of the ADL and other Jewish organizations. British journalist Jon Ronson explored Icke's alleged anti-semitism in the documentary, David Icke, the Lizards, and the Jews. It's a fascinating portrait of one of the most charismatic and outrageous conspiracy theorists alive today. In it, Ronson delves into the charge by many that Icke is anti-semitic, and that when Icke talks of a race of blood-sucking, baby-killing lizards that controls the fate of humanity, this code for "the Jews."
Ronson ultimately concludes that Icke really does believe in the lizards as lizards, and not as Jews, but Icke sometimes borrows from, or echoes, anti-semitic legends and literature, such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious piece of anti-semitic twaddle that was, in fact, a forgery. Icke has denied in several forums that he is an anti-semite, saying that he's only talking about the upper echelons of the Jewish hierarchy. And indeed, there is much in his most famous book The Biggest Secret that would offend other faiths as well.
Certain statements by Icke are overt regarding the Anti-Defamation League. In the Ronson documentary, he states that, "My feeling is the ADL is an illuminati plot." And in The Biggest Secret, Icke states that the ADL, "was set up precisely to condemn as racists those exposing the [Babylonian] Brotherhood."
Other messages are more sly. For instance, Icke alludes to the ancient "blood libel" against the Jews; i.e., the lie promulgated by many over the centuries that Jews steal the infants of Gentiles for use in human sacrifice. Take this quote from the Ronson documentary, in reference to the lizards' vampire-like tendencies: "And for some reason, drinking human blood [for the lizards], particularly the blood of blond haired, blue-eyed people, seems to be very beneficial..."
Then there's this passage in The Biggest Secret:
"The Cannanite-Hebrews [sic] were seriously into the sacrifice of humans and animals, much as their spin doctors have tried to deny it over the years. The Satanists among the `Jewish' hierarchy today still perform the same rituals while the mass of the Jewish people worldwide have no idea that this is so. Stories throughout the centuries to the present day of the sacrifice of children by Jewish fanatics at the time of the Passover can be seen to have a historical basis when you realise the true meaning of the Passover. It had nothing to do with `God' passing over the homes of Israelite children and killing only the first born Egyptians. This is more symbolism that only an initiate or a determined researcher would understand."
Shortly after this passage, Icke mentions that there's symbolism of such blood sacrifices in "the Jesus story," and states, "the Vedas contain the same instructions for sacrifice to the gods." Icke's always careful to cover his trail, and offer twists and turns that dilute what might be perceived of as anti-semitism. Still, neo-Nazis have reportedly been drawn to his events in the past, and the very passages in Icke's works that might appear anti-semitic certainly would appeal to that crowd. If you're interested, the Web site Publiceye.org has amassed other such quotes from Icke.
Is Icke an anti-semite? A cynical opportunist, vacuuming up every conspiracy theory in existence to vomit it forth for eager consumers? Or a true believer in this reptile myth of his? In the Ronson doc, he comes across as a true believer. Yet, some of this trash he pens cannot be so easily shrugged off as the ravings of a lunatic, though that's tempting to do.