by Bill Barnwell
Every so often, I have the privilege of being bombarded with emails from people who believe that Jews are responsible for everything from 9/11 to slow restaurant service. In the strange little world of these guys, Jews are to blame for every evil under the sun. Also if you don’t have the "courage" to admit it, then you are a "coward," "fool," "Jew-lover," or worse. Well count me among the dissenters who believe that this group is full of it.
Yes, that’s right. I’m a fool for not believing that 9/11 was a staged event planned by the U.S. and Israel. I’m also a fool for not believing that these characters are heroic truth seekers for buying into all sorts of paranoid delusional nonsense with no real evidence to back it up. I hardly see how such people are either heroic or a help in the cause for liberty.
Let’s take 9/11 and events that followed for an example. There is a difference in saying that the U.S. government spun the aftermath of 9/11 to win public support for its war on Iraq and that the government caused 9/11 just so it could attack various Middle Eastern countries to do Israel’s bidding. There is a difference between saying Israel was happy about, or supported our invasion of Iraq, and saying that Israel forced or caused these events to happen through their omnipotent influence. The problem with conspiracy theorists of all stripes, especially from the racist branch, is that they wildly blow things out of proportion and read events into the past and present without much support for their positions. There’s no nuance of thought. It’s always the worst-case scenario and "the Jews" are always cast in the worst possible light.
This most recent wave of attacks from those who believe that Jews are hiding under their beds each night came as a result from my most recent column on the Bush/McCain policy of escalation in Iraq. This particular column didn’t attract a ton of attention until one particular nutty talk show host – who believes in paranormal activity and takes seriously every conspiracy theory involving Jews – linked to the piece on his site. As a result, I received many emails from his readers informing me that the real problem wasn’t Bush or McCain. The real problem is – you got it – the Jews!
I’ve noticed that people who suffer from paranoid hatred of any particular racial or ethnic group are able to work their targets into any conversation and blame them for any problem. If you were to actually read the above-cited column, it had nothing to do with Jews or Israel. But these people sincerely believe, however, that when you get down to it, the root of the problem is really the Jews. That’s whether we are talking about an Iraq escalation or anything else they don’t like. While this group claims to be lovers of liberty and further claims to oppose the War Party, I have a feeling that they would have no problem with the idea of waging war on Israel and/or imposing anti-freedom measures upon Jews in America and around the world.
The problem with plenty of such racists (and yes, the term "racist" – while one of the most misused and overused words in political and cultural debate – perfectly fits this crowd) is that they are only selective in their views of liberty and freedom. Because they are sincerely convinced that "the Jews" really do "cause all the wars in the world" (my email box indicates that the drunken Mel Gibson is not the only person who believes this) many of them feel justified in urging the most anti-freedom attitudes and beliefs towards Israel and Jewish folks. These guys rightfully deplore racist statements towards whites, Arabs, and others, but they have no problem changing their tune when it comes to Jews. As such, it makes little sense for libertarians to take these people seriously.
Another problem is that some of the wilder conspiracy theories, particularly those that are obsessed with Jews, is that they completely dumb down the wider debate. Conspiracy theorists on a whole are not real keen on nuance. They can’t distinguish between "the government might not be telling us everything about 9/11" and "the government caused 9/11." For those who are obsessed with Jews, they would qualify that last statement with "the government caused 9/11 by colluding with Jews and their Zionist supporters." Or better yet, "Jews caused 9/11." For the conspiracy crowd, if there are some inconsistencies they immediately jump to the worst and most wild conclusions, regardless of whether or not the evidence supports their cause.
Now I know my audience, and I know that last sentence has just ticked off a lot of people who might be reading this. You’re now going to be tempted to fire off an angry email denouncing my ignorance of the government’s almighty strength and/or the all-powerful influence of the Jews. You’re going to send me links to websites proving "the truth" about 9/11 or links showing "the truth" about "the Zionist agenda." Well, I’ll do you guys a favor. I call on every LRC reader who is actually interested to do a web search and read the garbage out there "proving" the government blew up the Pentagon and/or that Jews have their hands in everything. Then make up your own minds. If you were able to recognize the reference to the paranormal talk show host who blames most things on Israel, go read his stuff too. Then you can decide for yourself if the whole rest of the world has it wrong and some guy who believes in space aliens and his gullible followers has it right.
There is, of course, an opposite end to this silliness. Plenty believe that one cannot legitimately critique the Israeli government in any way, shape, or form, without being "anti-Semitic." Millions of Christians support a variant of "Christian Zionism" (a term they themselves use) because they believe that the "end-times" will focus around the modern nation of Israel. They further believe in tearing down the Al-Aqsa mosque at the Temple Mount and rebuilding an Old Testament style Jewish temple for renewed Mosaic sacrifices. Thus, many in the dispensational crowd of Christianity condemn Arabs outright and believe that Israelis can do little wrong.
These points of view are dangerous in many respects, but at the very least these types of folks are infinitely more pleasant than those who sincerely believe that Jews are the root of all evil.
Unfortunately, I have to hear it from both sides. As an Arab, I constantly have to listen to bizarre claptrap from some family members about how bad the Jews are. As I writer, I hear it all the time from the conspiracy crowd. In such cases, I am proud to defend the Jewish people against these kinds of nutty attacks. However, as a Christian, I am always hearing from fellow Christians how I don’t support Israel enough. I also hear from this group that I don’t really know or believe the Bible since I do not teach or adhere to the very bad theology of pretribulationalism and dispensationalism.
Are we really that simple of thinkers? Is the choice really between being a politically correct (and/or dispensational) cheerleader of modern Israel or the even worse choice of being a conspiracy theory believing nut who blames Jews for all problems in the world?
As for the second group of Jew-haters, I really don’t want much to do with them. Taking them or their baseless ideas seriously does absolutely nothing for the cause of freedom. In fact, it detracts from it. I also have no problem with this group wanting nothing more to do with me. I highly welcome such an outcome. As for the rest of you, go ahead and read their stuff if you want, use your brain, and ask yourself who really has a hold on truth and reality.
Man, those mind controls from the Jews really must have their hold on me. Yeah…right.