2008: The Year in Anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism and the Economic Crisis
Posted: May 14, 2009
With the onset of the world financial crisis, anti-Semites across the ideological spectrum increased their propagandizing on the classic theme of Jewish control of banks and governments, and alleged that Jews and Zionists were responsible for the U.S. economic recession.
Anti-Semitic publications like American Free Press accused Jews of "pillaging" the American people and concluded that Jews "should be treated as the traitors they are." Others blamed the financial crisis on "Zionist Robber Barons" and called on ordinary Americans to "reclaim their country from rapacious Zionism." Other anti-Semites tried to connect the current financial crisis with another perennial favorite, anti-Semitic 9/11 conspiracy theories. The anti-Semitic Web site Rense.com published an essay alleging that the current fiscal crisis and the 9/11 attacks were both parts of a vast Jewish conspiracy to control the United States. The essay has since been reposted on numerous sites across the Internet.
An original anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that developed with this financial crisis alleges that Lehman Brothers, a Wall Street investment firm, sent $400 billion to Israeli banks shortly before it declared bankruptcy. This conspiracy theory, which has no basis in reality, originally appeared on a Web site associated with noted U.S. anti-Semite Willis Carto. It too has been disseminated widely on other sites.
Though anti-Semitism was to be expected from the haters described above, a surprising amount of anti-Jewish rhetoric regarding the economic crisis also appeared in popular Web sites and venues like YouTube, Yahoo! Groups, and the comments sections of online mainstream newspaper sites.
A September 2008 video on YouTube entitled "The Court Jewsters" conflated photos and clips of failing banks with depictions of former Federal Reserve chairmen Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan, as well as other Jews. Another YouTube video entitled "We the People" blames Jews for "enslaving" non-Jews to serve their own interests and greed. The video stated, "…the same Jewish bankers have been robbing us in this same manner for nearly an entire century now…".
Thousands of anti-Semitic comments were posted on online discussion boards run by Yahoo! Finance. After receiving numerous complaints, Yahoo deleted most of those posts.
Following shortly after the onset of the U.S. recession, the revelation of a $65 billion Ponzi scheme run by a Jew named Bernard Madoff led to yet more anti-Semitic rhetoric about Jews and money. "Ho hum, another Crooked Wall Street Jew. Find a Jew who isn't Crooked. Now that would be a story," wrote one anonymous poster on a mainstream financial discussion site. "The greed and corruption of the Jews has brought the financial system and the American economy low," wrote another.