Bronze-level articleInternational Jewish conspiracy

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Some dare call it

Conspiracy

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The existence of an international Jewish conspiracy is an antisemitic canard which regularly features in various racist conspiracy theories.

Contents

[edit] Origins

[edit] Antique and medieval claims of Jewish conspiracy

The blood libel, or conspiratorial slur that Jews kill gentile babies to use their blood in the preparation of Passover matzos, goes back to antiquity (even back to before the advent of Christianity). In medieval Europe, outbreaks of disease were commonly blamed on Jews poisoning wells, which led to pogroms, murders, and the Jews being forced by the governing authorities to live in segregated areas of cities called ghettos.

It was only in modern times that the Catholic Church stopped assigning blame to the Jews for their purported deicide of Jesus Christ. In medieval Europe, Jews were accused of re-enacting Jesus's crucifixion and death by stabbing or mutilating the host, which Catholics believe are transubstantiated into the body of Christ.

[edit] Revisionist colonial American history: the "Franklin Prophecy"

In 1934, an American magazine published that Benjamin Franklin delivered an anti-Semitic speech at the 1787 Constitutional Convention urging that Jews not be admitted to the United States.[1] Franklin's purported rationale included that Jews: refuse to assimilate wherever they move, are vampires who must live among Christians, will attempt to financially strangle the country, will stream into the United States in such numbers that they will take over and rule the country (Sound familiar?). Franklin's so-called prophecy was allegedly recorded in a "private diary" of Charles Pinckney, Constitutional Convention delegate from South Carolina, that is now in the possession of the Franklin Institute. The Anti-Defamation League exposed the fraud in 1954, yet references to the "prophecy" still persist on neo-Nazi messageboards and on Usenet.

The language is characteristic of late-nineteenth-century and early-twentieth century Antisemites and thus contains anachronisms that Franklin could have never written, [2] as Benjamin Franklin died in 1790. In addition Franklin himself was a contributor to the building fund for Congregation Mikveh Israel, Philadelphia's oldest synagogue.[3]

Similar anti-Semitic sentiments have been falsely ascribed to George Washington.[citation needed] Like Franklin, George Washington was sympathetic to Jews -- indeed, writing a sympathetic letter to a Jewish congregation in Rhode Island in 1790:

... the Government of the United States ... gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance. ... May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy." [4]

However a lengthy segment of Thomas Paine's famous tract some halfway through does go on a lengthy anti-Semitic tangent.

[edit] 20th century claims of Jewish conspiracy

Modern anti-Semitic conspiracy theories depicting an elaborate secret hierarchy of controlling Jewish influences largely take their cue from The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, a 1903 tract purporting to be the manual of a Jewish secret society planning world domination. It is still widely circulated and occasionally cited as "evidence" by various clueless anti-Semites despite being exposed as a fraud as early as 1921.

Max Weber (1864-1920), one of the founders of sociology, believed that antisemitism was abhorrent but also expressed concern that the over-representation of Jews in the leadership of European radical groups would inflame anti-Jewish sentiment.[5]

Automobile manufacturer Henry Ford further popularized the conspiracy during the 1920s by publishing the Protocols and anti-Semitic articles in his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, and distributing hundreds of thousands of copies of the Protocols. Ford's anti-Semitic articles were later collected and published as a four-volume treatise entitled The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem.[6]

Ford's enthusiastic endorsement of an international Jewish conspiracy proved extremely popular in Weimar-era Germany. Ford provided substantial financial backing to Adolf Hitler in the 1920's and his writings were a significant influence on the formation of the Nazi party and its grassroots support. By 1933, when the Nazi Party came to power in Germany, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion was standard reading in German schools. Hitler admired Henry Ford and even emulated him by creating his own automobile, the Volkswagen. Hitler further propagated the Jewish conspiracy in Mein Kampf and other propaganda blaming Jews for the rise of both communism and capitalism, and for Germany's economic decline following the First World War.

Spanish fascist dictator Francisco Franco similarly believed in a conspiracy of Jews, Freemasons and communists intending to establish a world government. He often made reference to a vast "Judeo-Masonic conspiracy."[7]

[edit] Millenarian Antisemites

Fundamentalist Christians of an anti-Semitic bent have promoted theories that intermingle the End Times with a worldwide Jewish conspiracy where the anti-Christ is believed to be a Jew. Perhaps the most popular promoter of this lunacy was Nazi sympathizer Gordon Winrod.[8] Winrod explained this brand of the conspiracy thusly:

A Jewish Antichrist in the end of this age, pre-supposes an international system of Jewish government. There can be little doubt that such a system, based upon the Jewish Money Power, has already been created -- and is ready to step into the open and assume control of world affairs as soon as the time is ripe.[9]

[edit] Modern variations

After the defeat of Nazi Germany, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, along with anti-Semitism itself, have become increasingly marginalized. However, the myth of an international Jewish conspiracy remains common among right-wing conspiracy theorists, Neo-Nazis, some hardline communists, Islamic extremists, black supremacists and other racist lunatics, and has been further perpetuated in recent years by these lunatics' rantings through the ease of posting on the Internet.

In Mein Kampf, Hitler outlined the notion that Jews were the driving force behind both International Communism and International finance-capitalism.

In Bobby Fischer's later years, he became a very vocal believer that the Jews controlled the United States and that they should be rounded up, executed, and those that remain made slaves.

Anti-communists in Europe and North America often associated Jews with Bolshevism, particularly European fascists, who believed that Jews were peddling Marxism, since the founder of Communism was Jewish and since several prominent Communist leaders during the Russian Revolution were Jewish, like Leon Trotsky. The advent of Rosa Luxemburg in Germany seemed to lend credence to this notion. David Duke also claims communism is a Jewish conspiracy.[10]

This canard is also common in parts of the Islamic world, especially among Palestinian resistance movements. For example, the founding charter of Hamas asserts the existence of a Zionist conspiracy, working internationally through secret organizations such as the Freemasons as well as the government of Israel, and cites the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as the embodiment of their plans.[11]

Anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists often focus on Zionism and the founding of Israel, or on denying the existence or scale of the Holocaust and claiming it is a myth fabricated or exaggerated to serve Jewish interests. Believers in an international conspiracy often claim that Jews are secretly running the United States government in collaboration with Israel. They point to examples of wealthy Jews in the financial sector and other industries (the Rothschild family regularly appears in these theories), and to the apparently disproportionate numbers of Jews involved in the movie industry in Hollywood.

If it is even true that Jews are disproportionately represented in business, one must be careful to note that correlation does not equal causation. In the Western world until the 19th century, the largely Christian populations obeyed a religiously-motivated prohibition on charging interest on loans, with the role of banker historically falling on Jewish businessmen who were sometimes even specifically licensed by sovereigns to charge interest. To assume that the disproportionate number of Jews involved in finance proves they're engaging in a Zionist conspiracy through manipulation of capitalism is to ignore the historic role of Jews in banking due to the Christian prohibition against usury. This is reflected in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" where the villain Shylock is a Jewish money lender demanding the exorbitant price of a pound of flesh for defaulting on his loan.

Individual theories vary widely. Many claim that "international Jewry" is in control of the Freemasons, Illuminati, and other real or perceived secret societies. Often the international Jewish conspiracy is portrayed as an active part of, or the major power behind, that greatest of all conspiracies, the New World Order.

Various anti-Semitic 9/11 conspiracy theories sprang up in the wake of the 9/11 attacks - especially among Neo-Nazis and Islamists - claiming that a Jewish or Israeli conspiracy was behind the attacks, or that the whole incident was faked in order to serve Jewish and Zionist interests. A common myth, spread by racist websites and chain emails, is that hundreds or even thousands of Jewish employees in the World Trade Center were forewarned of the attacks missed work on September 11th 2001.

Variations on these conspiracies that may not appear overtly anti-Semitic often have a latent Antisemitism about them as the words "Illuminati," "New World Order," "Zionists", "international bankers," "international monetary elite" and "financiers", "Cultural Marxists", "cultural elites" are Mad Libbed in for "Jews" and "international Jewry."

Much as many religious fundamentalists often use "Goddidit" to explain that which they cannot explain, conspiracy theorists will often use "Jewsdidit."

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ADL on the Franklin Prophecy
  2. "The Franklin 'Prophecy' Modern Anti-Semitic Myth Making". http://archive.adl.org/special_reports/franklin_prophecy/print.html. 
  3. http://www.mikvehisrael.org/e2_cms_display.php?p=past_our_history
  4. http://www.tourosynagogue.org/history-learning/tsf-intro-menu/slom-scholarship/86-washington-letter
  5. Marianne Weber, Max Weber: A Biography, Harry Zohn, translator and editor, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1975 p. 648
  6. Henry Ford Invents a Jewish Conspiracy, Jewish Virtual Library
  7. Gustavo D. Perednik. Naive Spanish Judeophobia. Jewish Political Studies Review 15:3-4 (Fall 2003)
  8. The Winrod Legacy of Hate, ADL
  9. From Winrod's 1936 pamphlet "Antichrist and the Tribe of Dan," quoted in Michael Barkun's A Culture of Conspiracy, p. 43. [1]
  10. Secret Behind Communism The Ethnic Origins of the Russian Revolution and the Greatest Holocaust the History of Mankind
  11. The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), reproduced at MidEastWeb. (See especially articles 17 and 32.)
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