The Protocols of the Elders of ZionImageShack

Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich her donors” – Donald Trump (2016)

The nations of the West are being brought under international control at political, military and economic levels. They are rapidly in process of becoming controlled also on the social level.” – Protocols of the Elders of Zion (1903)

A secretive group of people controls the banks, the media and the economy. They’re the Illuminati, the Freemasons or blood-drinking lizard-people from the Alpha Draconis star system, if you’re feeling adventurous. The main point is this: they control the world, subvert democracies, and possibly want to turn the world gay by putting chemicals in the water.

I hopefully don’t have to tell you that this is all horseshit. But I might have to tell you that these conspiracy theories, while not always explicitly anti-Semitic, tend to be deeply rooted in Nazi propaganda. I’m not saying that all people who believe in the global control of the Illuminati are anti-Semites. The fact that the anti-Semitic content is hidden deep into the conspiracy’s mythos and not proclaimed initially, is one of the real dangers of such propaganda. Wanting to get behind whether Bush really ‘did’ 9/11 not only gives credence to a dangerous falsehood but can often lead to the uncritical adoption of the worldview of a neo-Nazi.

“Following the trail of conspiracy articles disturbingly often leads to the conclusion that our sinister rulers are at least disproportionately Jewish.”

The most famous and influential case of such anti-Semitic propaganda is a ‘document’ called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, released in 1903. It is supposedly the recorded minutes of secret society of elite Jews, who gathered together to non-specifically discuss how they control the media, the banks and the world (you’d think such a mission was fairly complicated, but it mostly involves sinister laughing and robes). Its goal, some historians have argued, was to turn the attention of the emerging revolutionary movement away from the actual Russian ruling classes and towards the Jews. Despite it promptly being shown to be plagiarised from a satirical novel from 1864, the Nazis used it as a central piece of propaganda.

That the Nazis were uncritically anti-Semitic might not be news to anyone, but millions of people still believe Protocols to be a genuine document. Due to its obvious anti-Semitic content, Protocols isn’t presented as an entry-level piece of conspiracy-lore. But digging deeper into the Illuminati-narrative, Protocols almost always comes up. Following the trail of conspiracy articles disturbingly often leads to the conclusion that our sinister rulers are at least disproportionately Jewish. Even when it is not explicitly referenced, its influence shows itself passively. The most sinister of all bankers always tends to be George Soros, and the primary Illuminati-owned media-outlets are The New York Times and The Washington Post, both founded by Jewish families. On the other hand, the defenders of the common people, those who refuse to be cogs in the Illuminati wheel, tend to be people and groups who aren’t too friendly with Jews – Vladimir Putin and conservative ‘news’ sources like Infowars and the Ku Klux Klan. This is hardly an accident.

Though I suppose it is flattering that ‘international Jews’ (I have lived in more than one country and go to the synagogue once a year, so I think I qualify) are thought to be smart enough to control the global economy by being both communists and ruthless neoliberals, seeing the harassment of Jewish reporters and politicians and a whole new genre of memes describing the murder of myself and my family doesn’t exactly fill me with hope. The Anti-Defamation League’s global index found that eight per cent of people living in the UK harbour anti-Semitic attitudes – a total of 3.9 million people. And this number is from one of the least anti-Semitic countries in the world.

The motive for releasing the Protocols in the first place was to divert attention away from the ruling classes. There is of course no reason to believe this is happening in any coordinated way now – but their original function still holds. Blaming ‘The Jews’ is attractive to many because of the sheer simplicity of assigning blame for the evil in the world to a small group of people, but also because it leaves everything as it is. Anti-Semitism is fundamentally conservative. It diverts attention from the actual systems that promote injustice, and the real ‘ruling classes’ who benefit.

As awkward as it may seem, we should call out conspiracy theories like this them as what they are – thinly veiled anti-Semitic propaganda. While your distant cousin Jeb calling you a sheep and linking you a documentary about The Truth They Don’t Want You to Know About 9/11 and the Rothschild Family might be uncomfortable, this stuff is important. An old Yiddish proverb states that the Jewish people are built from 28 per cent fear, 2 per cent sugar and 70 per cent audacity. I’d love to believe that the fear is no longer necessary.