Two years ago, I, a practising Jewish spiritualist, was sent a friend request on Facebook by a tarot card reader and healer. She seemed pleasant enough and in the world of New Age spiritualism it is always good to expand connections.
A few days later I opened my Facebook page, and there was a message posted by my new “friend”. Accompanied by a grainy photo of an Israeli soldier pointing an Uzi and dramatically written in capitals was the claim that Israeli soldiers wake up Palestinian women before dawn and rape them.
I was horrified. I realised then that I was witnessing the growing phenomenon of the unholy, dark alliance between ancient, omnipresent antisemitism and New Age spiritualism.
I have spent almost 30 years in the business. It is only recently that this new form of hostility, which I call New Age antisemitism, has come about. It is a heartbreaking and troubling experience for me to watch as a movement for peace and enlightenment becomes sullied by an ancient form of hatred.
Almost a quarter of a million people in the UK identify with New Age spiritualism, an amalgamation of Buddhism, paganism, complementary therapies and mysticism. An alternative approach to Judeo-Christian credos, spiritualism can be a wonderful way of life and a search for peace and enlightenment. I have found combining Judaism with spiritualism has been a rewarding experience: until now.
Type in “psychic” on Google. There are thousands of New Age services. New Agers like to sign petitions, believe in righteous causes, long for world peace and communicate prodigiously on the Internet. There are some New Agers who are drawn to conspiracy theories, which play on their fears and propose explanations for difficulties in their lives. They click on websites or Facebook pages that offer enlightenment but on deeper examination prove to be hotbeds of antisemitism and conspiracy theories.
Either these New Agers are misguided or they are purposely seeking out places where they can unleash their hatred of Jews. For the latter promoting antisemitic tropes becomes a badge of honour for them. They believe the world is blind to the dastardly deeds of the Jews. They want enlightenment and peace but happily support a new “Final Solution” of Jews and destruction of Israel.
On their Facebook profiles “likes” for Miles of Smiles for Gaza and the Stop the War Coalition are connected with “ascension” and “truth-seekers”. References to Gaddafi as a ‘light worker” and links to the Iranian government’s Press TV abound. Current antisemitic conspiracy theories, such as “Mossad caused 9/11”, are enthusiastically circulated. Protocols of the Elders of Zion is quoted.
Some New Agers weave antisemitic theories into their spiritualist beliefs. They believe that Jews are actually lizard-like aliens who have enslaved humanity. Zionists, cabal, Rothschilds, Illuminati and New World Order and other words with negative, antisemitic connotations are used to accuse Jews of controlling a suffering humanity.
There are Facebook groups with names like “Lightworkers of the World Unite” and “Illuminati Killers” which have thousands of members discussing the “evil doings” of Zionists alongside lovely chats about health foods and fracking. Blistering statements of Jew-hatred are bantered about on these sites, such as this one on David Icke’s page: “It’s time to fight back these bugs and anunnaki-reptilian jewish zionists.......THEY ARE A PEST, THEY ARE NOT HUMANS” (sic).
These New Agers are anti-West, anti-capitalist, anti-American and anti-Israel. Some believe America is evil and controlled by a Jewish conspiracy. When claims are made in the public arena that Israel is responsible for the chemical weapons in Syria, this quickly spreads around the social media as a revealed “truth”.
It chimes with their beliefs that Israel and the Jews — the “New World Order” — perpetrate all wars.
My spiritual sanctuary of peace and love is being soiled by the rise of New Age antisemitism, creeping under the radar.