On Saturday, the O2 Apollo in Manchester provided the sold-out venue for David Icke’s twelve-hour-long stage show: Worldwide Wake Up Tour 2016/17.
Icke is a modern-day antisemitic hate preacher who uses social media, his books and his stage performances to incite hatred towards Jewish people by repeating centuries-old libels, as well as the same conspiracy myths that were used by Nazi Germany to justify the Holocaust. The appearance is the only UK appearance of the international tour.
In a clip from one of Icke’s stage shows, published on YouTube, Icke talks repeatedly about “Rothschild Zionists”. Invoking the Rothschild family of Jewish bankers and philanthropists has long been used by antisemites to support myths of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy. Icke also repeatedly implies a distinction between bad Jews who support Israel and good Jews who disavow it.
making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions;
accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews; and
denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour).
Once a well-known sports presenter, Icke has been a figure of ridicule for a quarter of a century since claiming in a 1991 interview with the late Sir Terry Wogan that he is the son of G-d. Subsequent pronouncements on the world being run by reptiles, and the British royal family being shape-shifting lizards have only added to the misplaced notion that he is a crank who can safely be ignored.
Icke has not, however, been ignored and is, in fact, extremely dangerous. Hiding behind his cloak of absurdity, he has seen his popularity rise as he continues to profit hugely from his antisemitism. In advance of the Manchester show, blogger Marlon Solomon assembled an extensive collection of Icke’s comments, many of which are direct incitement to hatred of Jews.
He reportedly promotes as authentic the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious antisemitic forgery that was proven to be a hoax used to whip up antisemitism almost a century ago. When asked about the Protocols, Icke allegedly retorted, “Just because Hitler used the knowledge for negative reasons doesn’t reflect on the knowledge itself.”
In his book, And The Truth Shall Set You Free, he writes: “I strongly believe that a 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 elite used the First World War to secure the Balfour Declaration and the principle of the Jewish State of Israel (for which, given the genetic history of most Jewish people, there is absolutely no justification on historical grounds or any other).”
Prior to Icke’s Manchester performance, Campaign Against Antisemitism contacted the O2 Apollo as well as O2’s PR department and its Chief Executive, Mark Evans. There was no response until the day of the show, when O2’s Head of Sponsorship replied to us, stating that “The General Manager for O2 Apollo Manchester has spoken to the show promoter to seek assurance about this show, which has been given,” and “The venue’s police contact has been informed.”
Given the information provided by Campaign Against Antisemitism and Icke’s track record to date, this is a wholly inadequate response. It is implausible that a twelve-hour unscripted performance could have been thoroughly vetted independently of its promoter. O2’s unscrupulous acquiescence to a venue they sponsor hosting a vehement antisemite is reprehensible.
David Icke preaches that a Jewish conspiracy controls the world, started both world wars and that Hitler acted on valid information. Not only did the O2 Apollo allow Icke to address their packed venue for twelve hours, they profited from it.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has written to Manchester City Council asking that they fine the venue an amount in excess of the profits from the evening and impose licence conditions so that this does not happen again.
We would like to hear from anybody who witnessed the performance. If you attended or know someone who did, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may wish to contact O2’s Chief Executive, Mark Evans, at email@example.com to let him know how you feel about the decision by the O2 Apollo, which O2 sponsors, to host a modern-day antisemitic hate preacher to address a sell-out audience for twelve hours. You may also want to contact Manchester City Council’s Licensing Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org setting out how you feel about the venue hosting speakers of this nature.
Campaign Against Antisemitism is a volunteer-led charity dedicated to exposing and countering antisemitism through education and zero-tolerance enforcement of the law. Everything that we do is done by people who volunteer their time, using donations contributed by members of the public. Join the fight against antisemitism by subscribing to our updates, volunteering, or donating.