By: Toibah Kirmani
August 1 2023
The claims made by Yuval Noah Harari have been misrepresented to show that he called for the elimination of conspiracy theorists.
People on social media are sharing an article titled, "Top WEF Official: ‘Dangerous Conspiracy Theorists Must Be Eliminated’" published by The People’s Voice, a platform known for spreading misinformation. The article refers to Israeli histroian Yuval Noah Harari as World Economic Forum (WEF) founder Klaus Schwab’s "right hand man." Twitter account @iluminatibot also shared the link to this article. The tweet has 123.8k views and has been retweeted more than 1,000 times, at the time of writing. The archive of the post can be found here.
However, it is to be noted that Harari is neither a top WEF official nor has he made any such statement.
The aforementioned article was published on July 25 by The People's Voice. On reading the article, there was no mention of Harari advocating for the elimination of conspiracy theorists. This clearly demonstrates that the headline itself is misleading. Fact-checks by Logically Facts on misleading claims by The People’s Voice can be found here and here .
To verify the claims made in the article, we conducted a keyword search to find the relevant conversation on the Lex Fridman podcast, as referenced in the said article. In the nearly three houe conversation led by Fridman, a research scientist at MIT, the discussion on conspiracy theories can be found at the one hour 45 minute mark.
During the conversation about Cabal Conspiracy - that a group of super-rich people with a malicious plan control the world, Harari said that the world is too complex for a few people to control everything. He further says, "Most of these people (referring to conspiracy theorists) are not evil. They are not doing it on purpose. Many of them really believe that there is some very nefarious, powerful conspiracy which is causing a lot of harm in the world."
We did not find any references made by Harari stating he wanted to eliminate the conspiracy theorists.
The People's Voice has referred to Harari as Schwab's right-hand man. This association is not new, as Harari's statements are often mistakenly attributed to the WEF on social media. While his profile can be found on the official website of the WEF, there is no indication that he is an official member of the WEF. He is referenced as the professor of history at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem on the website.
Harari was invited to speak at the WEF's Davos conference twice, in 2018 and 2020, alongside other intellectuals and political leaders from various backgrounds. However, these speaking engagements do not signify an official connection between the two.
We had previously contacted Yann Zopf, Head of Media and Member of the Executive Committee at the WEF, who confirmed that Harari has no affiliation with the organization.
The historian is not associated with the WEF and did not advocate for eliminating conspiracy theorists. The claim originated from a misleading article. Hence, we rate this claim as false.