Leading Jewish organizations have called on GB News and media regulator Ofcom to tackle the broadcaster’s conspiracy theories, warning that some recent segments and guests risked spreading ideas linked to antisemitism.
The criticism comes as the channel faces increasing scrutiny of programs over its mix of serious news, which leans heavily into conspiracies about sectors including a Covid vaccine and a conspiracy to create a world government.
The decision by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the all-party parliamentary group to speak out against antisemitism follows a recent edition of the weekly GB News show hosted by broadcaster and historian Neil Oliver.
Oliver, who delivers a trademark monologue to the camera, used the show last Saturday To discuss What he called a “silent war” by generations of politicians to take “total control of the people” and implement a “one-world government”.
The idea appears to be a famous conspiracy theory document called Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars, which is coincidentally believed to be a secret manual for world government in 1986. It contains a lengthy section on the role of the Rothschild banking dynasty, a common antisemitic trope.
On the same show, one of Oliver’s guests was a man named William Keate, introduced as a “constitutional expert” who is a supporter of a fringe campaign group called the New Chartist Movement.
Keete’s focus is on the supposed primacy of the common law over parliament, with no crossover with anti-Semitic views.
However, the New Chartist Movement website contains articles written by other members and contributors that contain antisemitic-linked views. It also includes pieces by David Icke, the TV presenter-turned-conspiracy theorist who has claimed that a shadowy cabal controls the world, a familiar antisemitic argument.
Other articles on the New Chartist website include an argument that the “Corporate and Banking Deep State, fully supported by the Zionist State of Israel” plans to take control of UK politics, another opposing view. Another argument is that the “House of Rothschild” has an important role in world affairs.
Keete has given an interview to another conspiracy theory website. While his video is about common law, other parts of the site include conspiracy theories about Covid and 5G networks, as well as a video with antisemitic overtones about the “Illuminati” and the Bilderberg group.
Keate told the Guardian that his interest was in constitutional law: “It is a shame that instead of focusing on the important issues I raised in the interview with Neil that so many people are interested in, it seems that you Preparing a piece about anti-Semitism. I do not condone antisemitism, but neither do I support the use of the topic to divert attention from other important issues.
A spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews said: “It is deeply worrying that GB News continues to air a show which embraces all manner of conspiracy theories.
“Somewhat inevitably, some of the people invited to this show represent organizations that promote antisemitic conspiracy theories. If the channel won’t act, we expect Ofcom will.”
Nicola Richards, the Conservative MP who co-chairs the all-party group Against Antisemitism, said: “Media diversity is incredibly important but not at the expense of professional standards.
“These developments should be of concern to the editors, owners and producers of GB News and I hope they will review them carefully. As with any public forum, there is a responsibility not to open the door to conspiratorial antisemitism or other misinformation.
“There’s no doubt that Ofcom will be keeping a close eye on developments at GB News, but let’s hope the channel gets its ground right.”
Ofcom is understood to be considering whether it should investigate Oliver’s show on Saturday following the complaint. The watchdog is currently looking into two complaints about another conspiracy theory-heavy GB News show hosted by Mark Steyn.
Stan, who has expressed doubts over the safety of Covid vaccines, quit the channel earlier this week after GB News demanded he be made personally responsible for paying any Ofcom fines.
A GB News spokesperson said: “GB News abhors racism and all its forms and will never allow it on the channel.”