A Brief History of Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories in the U.S.

The idea of international Jewish collusion to undermine Gentile society goes back to the Middle Ages, if not earlier. Using the rantings of the Colleyville hostage-taker as a point of departure, Jonathan Sarna explains how such fantasies have taken root on American soil:

The man who took a rabbi and three congregants hostage in Colleyville, Texas . . . told his hostages, as one revealed in a media interview, that Jews “control the world” and that they could use their perceived power to free Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani convicted in 2010 for trying to kill American soldiers and plotting to blow up the Statue of Liberty. The hostage-taker also demanded to speak to New York’s Central Synagogue rabbi, Angela Buchdahl, so that she would use her “influence” to help get Siddiqui released.

As immigration brought Jews in larger numbers to America’s shores, particularly from Russia, one of the first overtly anti-Semitic books ever published in the United States, Telemachus Thomas Timayenis’s 1888 The American Jew: An Exposé of His Career, warned darkly that Jews had “acquired a hold on this country such as they never secured on any nation in Europe.”

In the 20th century, the publication that did the most to disseminate the myth of a Jewish conspiracy to control the world was the forgery known as The Protocols of the Elders the Zion. Precisely because they offer a simple explanation—“the Jews are responsible”—and flatter believers into thinking they possess secret knowledge others lack, conspiracy theories like the Protocols are notoriously difficult to disprove. . . . And the phenomena recounted—social, economic, political, and cultural changes transforming the world—are certainly real enough. For many conspiracy-minded folks, that is usually validation enough.

Conspiracy theorists targeted the Rothschilds, famed European Jewish bankers, as well. Niles Weekly Register, [based in Baltimore and] perhaps the most widely circulated magazine of its time, reported in 1835 that “the descendants of Judah” held Europe “in the hollow of their hands.” It ascribed particular power to the Rothschild banking family which, it claimed, “govern a Christian world—not a cabinet moves without their advice.”

Read more at Conversation

More about: American Jewish History, Anti-Semitism, Jihadism, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, U.S. Politics

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security