Conspiracy Theories & The Jews

From medieval blood libels to the attacks of September 11, Jews have been a favorite subject for conspiracists.

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The Middle East Today

New spins on the blood libel are alive today in other parts of the Middle East as well. In March 1997, Nabil Ramlawi, the PLO representative to the United Nations in Geneva accused Israel of a sinister plot to kill Palestinian children. "The Israeli authorities infected by injection 300 Palestinian children with the HIV virus during the years of the intifada." Israelis have been similarly accused of spreading mad cow disease to Palestinians through British-made milk chocolates, killing Arab children to get their organs, and sending AIDS-infected Israeli prostitutes to contaminate the West Bank. In December 2004, Iran's Sahar 1 TV aired a weekly series called Zahra's Blue Eyes or For You Palestine. The show featured fictional Israeli doctors taking hearts from healthy Palestinian children for transplants, as well as graphic scenes of Palestinian children whose eyes had been surgically removed and stolen by Israel.

Many of the problems associated with other recent tragedies have been blamed on the Jews. Ali Abdullah, a conservative Bahraini religious scholar accused the Israelis of masterminding the Chechen school attack in Beslan. "I have no doubt in my mind that this is the work of the Israelis who want to tarnish the image of Muslims and are working alongside Russians who have their own agenda against the Muslims in Chechnya."

On January 20, 2005, in a TV interview, Yemeni Professor Ahmad Muhammad Al-'Ajal claimed that Zionists were responsible for kidnappings that supposedly occurred in the wake of the Southeast Asian tsunami. "As for the issue of child abduction in places hit by the earthquake and tsunami in Southeast Asia this is what the organizations of global Zionism are accustomed to, and this is what they do. But it is done in secret. They commit a crime and then place the blame on the Arab and Islamic nation...Many studies have proven that a large percent of the slave market belongs to the forces of global Zionism, whose octopus tentacles spread evil throughout the world."

American Conspiracists

But Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV, Iran's National News Agency, and the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram are not the sole provider of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Amazingly, America has been a fertile ground for such claims, as well.

In 1991, televangelist Pat Robertson published The New World Order, which was influenced by a number of conspiracy theories, including the anti-Semitic books of Nesta Webster (1876-1960). Robertson traces the genealogy of a world conspiracy back to a small Freemason lodge founded in 1776 in Bavaria by the German Adam Weishaupt and called the Illuminati.

Supposedly, the Illuminati were later infiltrated and taken over by Jewish bankers, as Robertson writes, "That same year, 1782, the headquarters of Illuminated Freemasonry moved to Frankfurt, a center controlled by the Rothschild family. It is reported that in Frankfurt, Jews for the first time were admitted to the order of Freemasons. If indeed members of the Rothschild family or their close associates were polluted by the occultism of Weishaupt's Illuminated Freemasonry, we may have discovered the link between the occult and the world of finance. Remember, the Rothschilds financed Cecil Rhodes in Africa; Lord Rothschild was a member of the inner circle of Rhodes's English Round Tables; and Paul Warburg, architect of the Federal Reserve System, was a Rothschild agent."

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Brigitte Sion

Brigitte Sion is an expert on post-Holocaust memory, most notably memorials and monuments, commemorative practices, restitution and compensation. Her expertise also includes the history of Anti-Semitism. She is the former director of the Committee against Anti-Semitism (CICAD) in Geneva, Switzerland.