New York, NY, September 2, 2003 … Two years after the horrific 9/11 attacks on America, hateful conspiracy theories claiming the attacks were actually carried about by Israelis and Jews continue to gather force around the world, causing dangerous new mutations of global anti-Semitism.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), concerned at how such rumors continue to find acceptance despite two years of intensive efforts by watchdog groups and democratic governments to combat them, today issued a report coinciding with the second anniversary of the attacks, documenting the continuing spread of 9/11 conspiracy theories and the potential for this "Big Lie" to rationalize and fuel global anti-Semitism.
According to the League's report, Unraveling Anti-Semitic 9/11 Conspiracy Theories, the canard of Jewish or Israeli involvement in 9/11 has gained widespread acceptance in the Arab and Muslim world, parts of Europe and even in the United States.
"The 9/11 attacks have fueled an entire new genre of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories leading to an environment where rumors about Jews are finding acceptance in the mainstream," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "As we gather to commemorate the second anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Big Lie shows no signs of diminishing. In fact, it is finding new acceptance every day. That is not just disturbing, but tragic, because we cannot win the war against terrorism without first winning over the hearts and minds of people in the Arab World who accept anti-Semitic 9/11 conspiracies as fact. What's really needed is a concerted effort by democratic nations to reject anti-Jewish conspiracies."
Unraveling Anti-Semitic 9/11 Conspiracy Theories documents how anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon spread around the world with lightening speed, ushered along with the help of global electronic communications, especially the Internet and satellite television.
According to ADL, the rumors, while finding expression in the media, speeches and in public statements, have also brought together a disparate group of Jew-haters who are using the Big Lie to fuel anti-Semitism.
"Never in the history of the Jewish people has one terrible lie about 'Jewish control' spread so quickly and with such power, captivating not only those on the extreme fringe but the educated elite, particularly in the Muslim and Arab word," said Mr. Foxman. "The Big Lie has been repeated by imams, the press and government officials in the Arab world, and is contributing to disturbing and dangerous mutations in global anti-Semitism."
The League's report documents the spread of the Big Lie from the first whisperings of blame against Jews in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, to more recent manifestations and permutations. Among the ADL's conclusions:
- The Big Lie has united American far-right extremists and white supremacists and elements within the Arab and Muslim world that are exchanging and repeating information, ideas and conspiracy theories.
- The 9/11 conspiracy theories are essentially updated versions of classical anti-Semitic canards, claming that Jews are inherently evil and intent on manipulating and controlling world events to their own benefit. It is essentially a modern manifestation of the anti-Semitic, "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," the infamous 19th century Russian forgery that purported to map out a Jewish conspiracy for world domination.
- September 11 conspiracies have spawned an entire industry that includes anti-Semitic books, pamphlets, videotapes, Web sites and speakers.
- 9/11 conspiracies have laid the foundation for the proliferation of similar conspiracy theories about other global disasters. For example, some conspiracy theorists claim Israel was complicit in the destruction of Space Shuttle Columbia and suggest that shuttle astronaut Col. Ilan Ramon was actually a "spy" for Israel. Others blame Jews and Israelis for "pushing" the U.S. into war against Saddam Hussein.
- The accusation that Jews plotted the attacks has fueled more traditional canards about Jews, including those claiming that Jews have a "master plan" for world domination, and that Jews use the blood of non-Jews to make holiday breads and pastries (blood libel).