By Chris Hedges | Substack
The New Age writer David Icke has been used to condemn Alice Walker, one of America’s most important and courageous authors. The organizers of the Bay Area Book Festival disinvited Walker, who won the Pulitzer prize for fiction for The Color Purple, after receiving complaints charging that Walker embraced the anti-Semitic writing of the New Age author David Icke, who she has praised for being “brave.” The festival organizers also attacked her poem “It is our (Frightful) Duty to Study the Talmud” for being anti-Semitic, blaming it on Icke’s influence. I wrote a column denouncing the smearing of Walker, her disinvitation and called for the public and presenters to boycott the festival over her blacklisting.
Icke was accused of being anti-Semitic and allegedly promoting the forged and rabidly anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion in a December 17, 2018 article in The Tablet,which describes itself as an “online magazine of Jewish news, ideas, and culture.” The article by Yair Rosenberg was titled “The New York Times Just Published an Unqualified Recommendation for an Insanely Anti-Semitic Book.” The charges made by The Tablet appear to have been accepted uncritically by numerous critics of Walker, few of whom appear to have read Icke’s book.
I don’t allow my students at Princeton, Columbia, Rutgers, or any other college I teach at, to engage in class discussions about the assignment unless they have done the reading. They owe the author, and those who have invested time in his or her work, an informed debate. I asked the festival director if she had read the book. She conceded she had not.
I ordered and read Icke’s book And the truth shall set you free. I found most charges against him inflated, distorted, misinterpreted and, in some cases, patently false. He is careful not to be overtly anti-Semitic but he does embrace conspiracy theories that include Jewish organizations. He claims these organizations are members of the vast conspiracy apparatus waged by extraterrestrials against us. It is wrong to call him anti-Semitic, although there are numerous passages and ideas in the book that are justifiably offensive to many people, including Jews.
I don’t embrace Icke’s world view. It is full of secret cabals, telepathy, the paranormal, reincarnation, extraterrestrials and Satanic control of nearly all the religious, social and political institutions in human society. I remain rooted in the Cartesian, Niebuhrian interpretation of human reality, imparted to me by my father, a Presbyterian minister, and my professors at Harvard Divinity School. This interpretation, known as “Christian realism,” eschews stories of miracles and magic in the Bible to focus on justice, personal morality, freedom of conscience and the call to stand with the “crucified” of the earth. Although very little of what Icke writes resonates with me, Walker’s life and writing exhibit the values and ethic I seek to achieve.
His cosmology is not dissimilar to other New Age beliefs, such as Scientology, which believes that Xemu, the dictator of the “Galactic Confederacy,” brought billions of his people to earth in a spacecraft 75 million years ago. These people were massed around volcanos and killed with hydorogen bombs. The immortal spirits of these victims, known as thetans, adhere to humans, causing spiritual harm. Humans must learn to free themselves from the “encumbrances acquired in this life and in past existences” in order to access full thetan powers.
Icke believes that extraterrestrials, which he defines as “not of this Earth” but from “other civilizations, consciousness and lifeforms on other wavelengths which our physical senses cannot normally see or hear” hijacked the Earth thousands of years ago. The extraterrestrial civilization, or civilizations, are “highly advanced technologically, but pretty low on love and wisdom.” He believes that “the first human beings on Earth came from a distant star system, perhaps “Vega, 26 light-years from here, and three times the size of the sun.”
Icke has his own version of the Garden of Eden, writing that “in the periods known as Lemuria and Atlantis, hundreds of thousands of years ago in our version of human time, humans lived in what we would call a science fiction world, in which amazing things were possible, as was true in civilizations before those.”
As an ordained Presbyterian minister, I have witnessed the decline of established liberal religious traditions. Church pews on Sunday are sparsely populated. The church is steadily losing members along with its religious, cultural and social relevance. The loss has spawned new searches for answers and beliefs. The Christian Right, along with New Age gurus, often fill that void. Biblical stories, we have to concede, are also filled with magic, supernatural beings, spirits, angels, demons, the resurrection of the dead and cataclysmic divine intervention in human affairs. They also promise a route to immortality and enlightenment.
When I was based in Cairo for The New York Times, New Age adherents descended on the Giza pyramids, convinced the structures were portals to distant galaxies or were built by aliens . The New Age adherents often believed they were reincarnations of Pharaonic rulers. For their amusement, the Egyptian tour guides at Giza kept running tallies of all the reincarnated Cleopatras and Ramsses IIs they met. Apparently, no one in these New Age groups had been reincarnated from the army of enslaved people used to construct the pyramids.
Like many of us, these New Age tourists struggled with alienation and felt perplexed by the mystery of human existence. They sought meaning and searched for community. Icke taps into this deep desire and, given his wide following, has done so with some success.
Icke describes sitting next to former president Jimmy Carter at a stage event and “taking energy from Carter’s aura.” Following the show, he became “seriously agitated” and in his room began “writhing around on the bed screaming and growling like some crazed animal.” Two friends knelt beside him, “projecting love” toward him.
He details the night’s revelations in And The Truth Shall Set You Free:
“For maybe 15 to 20 minutes, I was experiencing the consciousness that controls the world and has done so for thousands of years.Its malevolence, hatred, arrogance, anger and lack of positive emotion was utterly stunning. When I felt I had experienced enough, I opened my heart energy (love) and in seconds the Prison Warder Consciousness was gone. I learned two things from that experience. Firstly, the Prison Warder Consciousness has no control over love, and secondly, the personalities behind the New World Order over thousands of years have been possessed by this malevolence. So were the Nazis. I could clearly understand why they have acted in the ways they have throughout history.“
This is a story that could have come from the fevered testimony of a Christian televangelist.
Icke is not always a clear writer. His passages carry apparent contradictions, sometimes making his position hard to fathom. But Icke, like anyone, deserves to be critiqued for what he writes, not slandered. Now that he is being used as a bludgeon to censor Walker it is important to elucidate his positions. I have listed some of the charges against Icke from his book and summarized his position. A few charges against Icke come from other writings or talks. For example, he has been accused of blaming Jews for the attack of 9/11 and the 2008 financial crash. This 518 page book, written in 1995, predates these events. There is a limit to how much Icke I can read.
Icke excoriates the major world religions as demonic, extraterrestrial mind control:
“This is where the ‘gods’ – particularly the angry, judgmental, fire and brimstone gods – originated: negative extraterrestrials. The ‘fear of God’ was born, and this fear and resistance to change (disobeying the gods) is still the collective psyche. Over time, as described at length in The Robot’s Rebellion, these various god myths fused together to form ‘composite gods’, based on themes from many of the earlier civilizations. So it is with Judaism, the Christian Bible, Islam, and most of the others.“
He writes that “there are many themes [in the Bible] which link the ancient texts with descriptions of UFO sightings and extraterrestrials of today.” He believes that the Old Testament God Yahweh is “based on an extraterrestrial, or more likely a series of them.” He claims that the earth was taken over by what he calls “the Luciferic Consciousness,” “the force which attempts to work through all life forms, human and extraterrestrial, to control the planet. It is an extremely negative energy operating from the Fourth Dimension.” Fourth Dimension extraterrestrials “of the Luciferic mindset came here and genetically rewired the DNA, the inherited coding of the physical body.”
The object of these extraterrestrials, he believes, is to create a “slave race,” although these forces do not control us physically by occupying the planet but “by working through our consciousness from other dimensions.” He says that J.R Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings may “resemble the themes of what has actually happened which mirror the claims of what is happening today in the underground bases and genetic laboratories under American and other countries.”
He states that competing extraterrestrial forces “are here to help us.” He promises to connect his followers with the “positive Fourth Dimension (and higher) ET’s” that “are trying to open our minds and hearts” while the “negative ones are seeking to keep them closed.”
“The Global Elite or simply the Elite” manage the slave society. The Elite “are either direct incarnations of the Fourth Dimensional Prison Warders or have their minds controlled by them.”
The goal, the culmination of thousands of years of planning, is to “introduce a world government to which all nations would be colonies; a world central bank and currency; a world army; and a microchipped population connected to a global computer.”
He singles out the Knights Templar — perhaps channeling an inner Umberto Eco or Dan Brown — as one of the dominant forces in this Elite or “negative Brotherhood” that keeps “for themselves the knowledge of the nature of life and Creation and how to exploit the power of the mind, the Earth’s energy fields, and the global energy grid.” The symbols of the Elite or negative Brotherhood, he writes, are “the pyramid and all-seeing eyes, the swastika, the lamb, and apron, the obelisk” among others. A branch of the “negative Brotherhood,” the Freemasons, orchestrated the American revolution and have controlled the United States in alliance with other negative Brotherhoods ever since. He later refers to the Elite and the negative Brotherhood as the “Illuminati,” referencing a group organized in 1776 by the Jesuit-trained philosopher, German law professor and Freemason Adam Weishaupt.
Icke blames the Illuminati and Freemasons, front groups for the bad extraterrestrials, for most of the evil in the world. They are behind, he writes, “the two World Wars, the Russian Revolution, the rise of Adolf Hitler, and the constant manipulation of the financial system.” He lists the primary leaders of this Elite as “Rockefeller, Rothschild, Morgan, Harriman, Milner, Dulles, Warburg, Roosevelt, House, and Baruch.”
1. Icke is charged with promoting the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Icke writes about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a text perhaps produced by the Russian secret police to justify the Tsarist pogroms against Jews and later adopted by the Nazis, in six pages of the book. He concedes that it “is quite possible” the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a forgery. He believes the Protocols were a corruption of a document originally written by an elite group within the Christian organization the Knights Templar and argues the contents of that Christian document were later “changed to make it appear as a Jewish plot.”
I know of no historical evidence to support his claim but it is not correct to say that Icke believes the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a real document written by Jewish leaders to explain how they would take over the world. He writes that the origin of the Protocols “lies with the Illuminati.” He says that “the Protocols, from wherever they came, were quite a stunning prophecy of what has happened in the twentieth century in terms of wars and the manipulation I am exposing here. Whoever wrote them sure as heck knew what the game plan was. One protocol speaks of the way the manipulators intended to destroy the idea of God in as many human minds as possible.” This leads Icke not into an attack on Jews but an attack on Darwinism.
On page 57 he writes:
“In the very late 1800s, a controversial document came to light called the Protocols of The Elders of Zion. I call them Illuminati Protocols and I quote many extracted from them in The Robot’s Rebellion. Some say they were a forgery made public only to discredit Jews, and I use the term ‘Illuminati Protocols’ to get away from the Jewish emphasis. If they were a forgery, something that is quite possible, what were they a forgery of, and by whom? The authors of the best selling book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail conclude that the original Protocols were indeed authentic. They suggest that they were the work of an elite group called The Priory of Sion, the inner, controlling, core of the Knights Templars. They believe that this original document was changed to make it appear as a Jewish plot. I certainly would not dismiss such a conclusion.“
While he attacks Zionism, he writes on page 81 that “all Jewish people are not Zionists, and all Zionists are not Jewish. Zionism is not a religion or a race; it is a political movement consisting of people, Jews, and non-Jews, who support the claim for a Jewish homeland. If you support that, you are a Zionist, too, not matter what your race or religious belief. To say that Zionism is the Jewish race is like saying the British Labour Party is the English race.”
He has some singularly unique opinions about Israel, including the belief that the Israeli Mossad, which he describes as “the intelligence agency of the Rothschild-Rockefeller-Global Elite,” assassinated John F. Kennedy. He sees the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as an arm of the global elite that condemns “anyone getting close to the truth” as anti-Semitic. The Jewish service organization B’nai B’rith, he says, “covertly supports and controls the Ku Klux Klan,” a charge that seems at odds with the fact that the Klan targeted Jews as well as Blacks. His conspiratorial view of all organizations does not spare Jewish organizations but even when writing about Israel he avoids the wholesale condemnation of Jews. If he did not see nearly every ruling institution in the world as a force for evil, and targeted Jewish organizations alone, the charge of anti- Semitism would be legitimate.
2. Icke is accused of writing that the Jewish people bankrolled Hitler.
In keeping with the belief that the negative Brotherhood, Elite or Illuminati pull all the stings, Icke does not blame the Jews exclusively for bankrolling Hitler, although he does include the Rothchilds in the list of financiers of the Nazis. Icke argues that the Elite orchestrated Germany’s financial crash to ensure Hitler’s rise to power and provided him with the funds to carry out the war. He lists Hitler’s enablers as Standard Oil, General Electric, International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT), The Ford Motor Company, W.A. Harriman and The Dulles Brothers.
On page 98 and 99, he writes:
“The Austrian writer and researcher, Gertrude Elias, identifies Hjalmar Schacht as a major go-between, connecting the Nazis and Wall Street-City of London elite. Schacht became Hitler’s financial advisor and President of the Reichsbank. The two signatures on the document confirming Schacht’s appointment on March 17th 1933, were Adolf Hitler and the Rothchild’s front man, Max Warburg. In 1930, Schacht also founded the Global Elite’s Bank of International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland. On England, a key figure was Montagu Norman (Comm 300), governor of the Rothchild-controlled Bank of England, and a close friend of Schacht. In fact, they were so close that Schacht named his grandson after him. It was Norman who pressed for and supported the raising of US interest rates by the Federal Reserve, which was the final push that led to the Wall Street crash, the New Deal, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Norman was the most influential banker in the world at the time and his actions, in league with Wall Street, were crucial.
Once Hitler was safely elected, the attitude of the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve to Germany was transformed. Credit was offered to the Nazi regime and after the Nazis successfully invaded Czechoslovakia, Norman released £ 6 million of Czechoslovakian gold to Hitler which was deposited in London. This was done with the agreement of the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain. On June 11th 1934, and again the following October, Norman and Schacht met in secret at Badenweiler in the Black Forest to arrange loans for Hitler and the Nazis. But who was behind Norman? His family almost turned the governorship of the Bank of England into personal property. One grandfather, George Warde Norman, was governor from 1821-1889. Montagu Norman spent a period in the United States at the offices of the Rothschild-funded Brown Brothers (later Brown Brothers, Harriman) and was befriended by the family of W.A. Delano (Comm 300), relatives of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the President of the United States at the same time that Norman was head of the Bank of England. This all-powerful banker was actually a ‘yes man’ for the Rothchilds, and here again, we see the ploy at work. He was portrayed as anti-Jewish.“
On page 129 he does single out what he calls the “Jewish elite” as an important part of the negative Brotherhood. He attacks the Jewish elite, but includes them in the list of all elites who seek to enslave their own populations.
“I strongly believe that small Jewish clique which has contempt for the mass of Jewish people worked with non-Jews to create the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the Second World War. This Jewish/non-Jewish Elite used the First World War to secure the Balfour Declaration and the principle of the Jewish State of Israel in Palestine (for which, given the genetic history of most Jewish people, there is absolutely no justification on historical grounds or any other). They then dominated the Versailles Peace Conference and created the circumstances that made the Second World War inevitable. They financed Hitler to power in 1933 and made funds available for his rearmament.“
On page 131, he expands on the evil nature of the elites, including the Jewish elites:
“The British hierarchy has probably manipulated, exploited, and sent to their deaths multimillions of British people to serve the ‘national interest’ – the interests of the ruling clique; the German hierarchy has done the same to the German people and the American hierarchy to the American population. These ruling cliques have utter contempt for their ‘unwashed masses.’ They see them as cattle to be used and abused as required. Why is it so amazing that the Jewish hierarchy should see the mass of Jewish people in the same terms?“
3. Icke is charged with asserting that the Rothchilds control the world economy.
On page 45 and 46, he makes it clear that he attacks the Rothchild banking house not because they are Jews but because they are Freemasons and part of the Elite or negative Brotherhood.
“I stress here that to highlight the part played by the Rothchilds is not to cast aspersions on Jewish people as a whole, the vast majority of whom have no idea what is happening and certainly would not support it fi they did know. Many of the members of families I will name, like the Rothchilds, Rockefellers, and others, do not know the game plan, either. It is those who control those empires that I am seeking to expose, not everyone whose name is Rothchild, Rockefeller, or whatever. I believe that researchers over the years who have blamed the crime conspiracy on the Jewish people as a whole are seriously misguided; similarly, for Jewish organizations to deny that any Jewish person is working for the New World Order conspiracy is equally naïve and allowing dogma or worse to blind them to reality. We are looking at a common thread – a lust for power and the All-Seeing Eye cult – which goes across all races and, in my view, is connected – sometimes knowingly but most unknowingly – to a higher controlling force: the Prison Warders of the Fourth Dimension.“
4. Icke is accused of being a Holocaust denier.
While Icke does not go so far as to deny the Holocaust, he gives credence to those who question the established figures of the Holocaust. He concedes that “the way the Nazis treated many Jewish people is unspeakable.” He accepts that there were “the most terrible atrocities against Jewish people,” but goes on to write that the “whole war was a holocaust.” He questions whether there is evidence for “human soap” being made from Jewish bodies. He holds up David Cole, who challenges the historical accounts of Auschwitz. Cole argues that Auschwitz was not an extermination camp like Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec and Chelmno, which he accepts were part of the Nazis’ planned genocide of the Jews. He believes that the Holocaust ended in 1943 when the Nazis decided they needed Jews for slave labor. He reduces the standard figure of 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis to 4 million. Icke promotes this revisionist view and says people should be allowed to “decide for themselves.” He does not cross the line into Holocaust denial, but he flirts with it.
I do not, in any way, want to give credibility to these views. That was not the point of reading and writing about Icke’s work. Rather, I saw that Icke had been successfully weaponized against Walker by her critics. I thought it was important to lay out in detail exactly what it was he has written. However bizarre, conspiratorial, and fanciful, his work is not the anti-Semitic screed those who use it to blacklist Walker claim. Those who distorted Icke’s views knew exactly what they were doing. They were using Icke to shut down one of our finest writers and one of our most committed and courageous champions of Palestinian rights.
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