Conspiracy Theories on Space Shuttle Columbia Blame Jews, Israel for Disaster
New York, NY, February 18, 2003 ... In an effort to use the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster for their own purposes, Holocaust deniers, Israel critics, anti-Semites, and others are promoting warped conspiracy theories about "Jewish" or Israeli involvement in the crash. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which monitors and exposes extremism, said today that conspiracy theories about the shuttle, "are taking on a life of their own on the Internet."
"Even in times of tragedy for the American people, Israel critics and holocaust deniers never let up," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "As we witnessed with 9/11 and the Big Lie, the anti-Semites and the bigots are quick to contort the facts to suit their own purposes. Conspiracy theories about the Shuttle Columbia are taking on a life of their own on the Internet."
Several conspiracy theorists suggest that the shuttle accident was staged by Israel and America to distract attention from events in the Mideast. Others suggest that Col. Ilan Ramon, the Israeli astronaut who perished on the mission, was really a "spy" who was collecting information on Iraq. Holocaust deniers made much of the fact that Ramon was the son of Holocaust survivors and singled out his presence on the mission as "evidence" of Jewish or Israeli complicity in the disaster, suggesting his death was an intentional bid to gain sympathy for the Jewish State. Shuttle conspiracy theories have surfaced in chat rooms, bulletin boards, e-mail messages and on Web sites, some of which are frequented by anti-Semites, Israel bashers and Holocaust deniers
Following are examples of e-mail and Internet posts on the Columbia accident:
- How then can the Bush and Sharon administrations win support for space-based weapons? A cynical solution is to make martyrs of an Israeli-American space shuttle crew. Show them to be victims of outmoded technology and, more important, obsolete thinking in NASA and in Congress about keeping space free of nuclear power and potential war-making technologies. Is it conceivable that an American president would deliberately sabotage the Columbia?"
-- Yoichi Clark Shimatsu, Hong Kong-based journalist,
The Laissez Faire Electronic Times, Feb. 17, 2003 edition.
- Astronaut Ilon Ramon was conducting secret experiments on the Columbia to discover new ways to beat Saddam's threat to use biological weapons and chemical weapons against Israel. For most of his 16 days on board the Columbia, he had been using cameras linked directly to the Israeli Space Agency to study desert dust and wind-drifts emanating from the deserts of Iraq.
-- Gordon Thomas, Israel critic, February 4, 2003.
- The target of this event was the trinity of evil, as the shuttle carried Americans, an Israeli, and a Hindu, the trinity of evil against Islam. This is a message to the American people that Bush's term is nothing but a string of curses cast upon them, and that it will lead to the exhaustion of their resources and the elimination of the false American dream… This is a divine message to the Israelis, saying that they are not welcome in space."
-- Abu Hamza Al-Masri, Islamic fundamentalist leader, in an interview
with Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, February 4, 2003.
- … A few people will glimpse the awful truth at the core of the explosion, while the majority will sink deeper into the inhibiting awe and petrifying idolatry that characterizes American subservience toward all things Israeli, Zionist and Judaic. But God is not mocked. Dare we say it? In this case, He would appear to be the mocker."
-- Holocaust denier David Hoffman, Feb. 2, 2003.
- So…… is it even remotely possible that either the U.S. or the Israeli government is responsible for blowing up the shuttle this morning? No matter what happened, it's a tragedy, but it's interesting to note that it was the one time we happened to have an Israeli astronaut aboard.
-- Right wing conspiracy e-mail list, February 1, 2003.
- Understand, the psychological warfare technicians do not even need to publicly blame Iraq for the Columbia disaster. It will serve as a distraction in the global press during the final weeks of war preparation in the gulf. It will serve the dual purpose of unifying the country behind President Bush as he grandstands." - Alex Jones, Infowars Web site, February 1, 2003.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.