Anti-Semitism Is Not Truth
Conspiracy theories have fueled ideas about Jewish people. Everything from the Illuminati to 9/11 gets its own conspiracies, but where do they come from?
The textbook definition of a conspiracy theory according to Lexico is, “a belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for a circumstance or event.”
If you were to ask American historian and author Daniel Pipes in the late 1990s what a conspiracy theory was — he’d tell you it’s, “the fear of a nonexistent conspiracy” (p. 21).
Pipes made this case in his book, Conspiracy. He describes conspiracy theorists as those who use flawed logic, have inadequate standards for evidence, and allow their theories to become “a way of seeing life itself” (p. 22).
Petty vs world conspiracies
Pipes examines many conspiracies throughout the annals of history separating them in two distinct categories. Jessie Walker books editor of Reason magazine explained,
“Pipes further divides the theories into two categories, “petty” and “world.” The former have always been with us, if only because petty conspiracies have always been with us: for every Marc Antony who slew a Caesar, there must have been two dozen whom the authorities suspected of plotting to do the same. But the latter theories, Pipes claims, are a recent invention, “emerging from the distinctive history of Europe and dating back two and a half centuries, to the Enlightenment” (p. 22). — Jessie Walker via The Independent Review (Volume 3 Number 1 • Summer 1998)
Pipes examines cases such as the Black community believing in a police conspiracy to set up O.J. Simpson back in 1994 for the murder of his wife (despite overwhelming evidence Simpson most certainly did it). However, he makes a misstep in this analysis by applying it as a conspiracy. Walker criticizes Pipes for his criticisms of the jury on a not guilty verdict.
“Even less elaborate conspiracy theories can play this social role. Pipes attacks the jury that set O. J. Simpson free, noting that the former athlete “beat his rap by convincing a jury of a conspiracy theory: that the Los Angeles police had framed him” (p. 1). But even though Simpson himself was probably guilty, police do frequently frame suspects; and few would claim that innocent black men never run into trouble with racist cops. For many American blacks, the Simpson case became more than one man’s encounter with the law.” — Jessie Walker via The Independent Review (Volume 3 Number 1 • Summer 1998)
The Los Angeles Police Department have conspired against minorities prior to Simpson’s case by planting fake evidence, lying on the stand, and arresting minorities on trumped up charges. Rodney King and the LA riots occurred only several years prior. O.J Simpson’s defense didn’t need to create or rely on unfounded conspiracies; there were already real-world examples.
Walker goes on to heavily criticize Pipes for his “world” conspiracies i.e., conspiracy theories against Jewish people are recent inventions which emerged from the period of Enlightenment.
For Walker, it’s a misstep to ignore the political backdrop of the times. In his critique, Walker references historian and author, Robert I. Moore.
“persecution became habitual. That is not to say simply that individuals were subject to violence, but that deliberate and socially sanctioned violence began to be directed, through established government, judicial and social institutions, against groups of people defined by general characteristics such as race, religion or way of life; and that membership in these groups in itself came to be regarded as justifying these attacks” (p. 5). The victims would not be just Jews, but heretics, homosexuals, witches, even lepers. — The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Power and Deviance in Western Europe, 950–1250. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987, p. 5.)
Despite Walker’s criticisms of a distinct period where these world conspiracies began — which I agree had nothing to do with the period of Enlightenment — there are remnants of historical events and literature which can help understand how conspiracies would develop from anti-Semitic ideology.
A comedian’s anti-Semitic comments
How anti-Semitism came back into public discourse
On the June 30th, in a episode of his podcast and YouTube show, Cannon’s Class, comedian Nick Cannon — star of the 2002 Drumline film and host of shows Wild ‘N Out and The Masked Singer — spoke with former Public Enemy member Richard “Professor Griff” Griffin. Cannon and Griffin both made disparaging remarks about “Jewish people, white people, Europeans”. Cannon says in his interview,
“The people that don’t have (melanin) are — and I’m going to say this carefully — a little less,” Cannon added. “When they didn’t have the power of the sun, it started to deteriorate them so then, they’re acting out of fear, they’re acting out of low self-esteem, they’re acting out of a deficiency. So, therefore, the only way that they can act is evil. They have to rob, steal, rape, kill in order to survive. So then, these people that didn’t have what we have — and when I say ‘we,’ I speak of the melanated [sic] people — they had to be savages. … They’re acting as animals so they’re the ones that are actually closer to animals.”
Cannon would also refer to teachings from the leader of the Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan who is no stranger to anti-Semitism himself. (The Southern Poverty Law Center designates the Nation of Islam as a “hate group”).
Cannon also said, “Every time I’ve heard him speak, it’s positive, it’s powerful, it’s uplifting … for whatever reason, he’s been demonized.” He also floated the conspiracy theory about the Rothschild family (which has been deemed anti-Semitic by the Anti-Defamation League), “we give so much power to the ‘they,’ and ‘they’ turn into illuminati, the Zionists, the Rothschilds.”
The fallout since then has been swift but to Cannon’s credit he has handled it well
Cannon was fired by ViacomCBS. He has apologized for his statements, but demanded ownership of the Wild ‘N Out brand after claiming he received no response from company chair Shari Redstone despite his best efforts to reach out. Fox, on the other hand, decided not to let Cannon go and keep him on as the host for The Masked Singer.
Cannon also reached out to Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean to apologize to the Jewish Community for his hateful words during a 30-minute call.
He seems genuinely sincere, but his comments have reverberated through the Black community.
“There’s nothing wrong with what Nick Cannon said!”
I’ve been defensive of Nick Cannon since he has apologized and made an effort to right his wrongs. I’m hoping he does get full control of the Wild ‘N Out brand if he cannot reconcile with ViacomCBS. And perhaps, he’ll take up P. Diddy on his offer and move over to REVOLT TV if he can keep the show he created and spent 15 years building.
However, what has been unsettling were comments I’ve seen crop up on social media, particularly, by people who have said [Cannon] hasn’t said anything wrong. Charlamagne Tha God, one of the hosts of the 105.1 FM radio show The Breakfast Club reinforced the sentiments of Jewish control and ownership when he said, “Nick is my guy. I hate it had to be him, but that’s what you can do when you have the power… “And if there’s one thing Jewish people have showed us, it’s that they have the power.”
Other comments seem to be on the trolling side until you realize people actually do not understand the full history & context of anti-Semitism in the world and U.S and how easily people can repeat what they’ve heard.
The central theme of anti-Semitic conspiracies and ideas about Jewish people is their power in society which supposedly comes from secrecy, deceit, and profiteering
In the late 1800s, *Russians already held anti-Semitic views. Non-Orthodox, non-Russian, and Jews who attempted to assimilate were thought to be “infiltrators” trying take over Russian society in the mid-1800s.
The ruling Russian class helped spread harmful ideas and dissonance through hardline policies in the 1840s. Taking into account of the political backdrop in Europe at the time which saw Russia acquiring more territories with Jews and the assassination of Tsar Alexander II — Jews became primary targets as “foreign influence agents” leading to the Anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire.
These pogroms were believed to be triggered by rumors which greatly exaggerated the role of one of the Jewish conspirators; and another rumor of a conspirator that was presumed to be Jewish. A similar bout of hysteria would occur in the U.S. later on after the release of a book originally written in Russian sometime during 1901–1903.
(*Author’s note: There’s some dispute about how prevalent anti-Semitism was in Russia overall due to various circumstances and the sociological dimensions at the time, especially within the Orthodox Church.)
The catalyst for the Protocols
Iakov Aleksandrovich Brafman (also referred to as Jacob Brafman) was a Russian Jew who converted to the Russian Orthodox Church. He was responsible for converting Jews to Christianity. He had some success there and had begun to criticize the institutions of traditional Jewish society.
Brafman believed West European Jews were using the Talmud to secretly control East European Jews and that children were being indoctrinated to have unconditional obedience to ruling Jewish authorities.
His primary targets were kahals which served as important autonomous states for the Eastern Jewish community.
Despite the Russian Empire legally dissolving the kahal system under Nicholas I in 1844 — this didn’t stop Brafman from theorizing kahals continued to exist as a deep state.
The alleged kahals of all kahals which drew his ire in particular was the Alliance Israélite Universelle. The theory was Jews would establish connections there for the purposes of undermining Russian business. He also targeted the Talmud, and claimed Talmudic principles would lead Jews to acquiring land and property and the trade and industry and themselves (his work contained misinformation and misinterpretations of the Talmud).
With his conspiracies taking shape overtime — Brafman would go on to author The Local and Universal Jewish Brotherhoods (1868) and The Book of the Kahal (1869).
These two books would serve as the framework for The Protocols.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (the Protocols) are purported minutes of 24 sessions of a meeting of the “twelve tribes of Israel”. The author is unknown and it contains plagiarized material was from several other sources; some of which are not inherently anti-semitic. The “Elders” or “sages” of Zion were Jewish leaders who allegedly met up to discuss global hegemony. Their plan was to subvert Gentiles, and control the press and economies around the globe. The book retroduced ideas consistent with that of the work of Brafman; Jewish leaders were mysterious and secretive figures who are never referred to by name and were unseen powers vying for control.
The Protocols spreading through America
Some portions of the Protocols were serialized in a Russian newspaper, Znamya (The Banner) in 1903. It was brought to the US by a Russian officer in 1917 and translated by Natalie de Bogor (personal assistant to Harris A. Houghton, an officer of the Department of War). In 1918, a lawyer and literary critic from Russia living in the U.S., Boris Brasol begun circulating the Protocols in diplomatic and military government circles. It wouldn’t be published to the general public until a year later. On October 27 and October 28, 1919, Philadelphia newspaper Public Ledger tried removing all references to Jewish authorship and published the Protocols as the “Red Bible” which presented it as a Bolshevist manifesto instead of Jewish one. This change gave life to the antisemitic canard Jewish Bolshevism. The story was adapted by Ford’s The Dearborn Independent and they published it as the “The International Jew” series.
The First Red Scare
It’s important to also understand the time period in which the Protocols were released.
From 1917–1920, the First Red Scare marked a period in US history which were based on some true events such (and others fictitious) which would lead to communism and anarchism. The October Revolution and anarchist bombings e.g., April 1919 mail bombs and June 1919 bombs occured at the height of fear of communism and the Soviet Union. It was a time of hyper-nationalism and even government officials were checked for their loyalty and to be sure they were not participating in un-American like activities. This period contextualizes Ford’s and other American’s anti-Semitism in the U.S., specifically.
Henry Ford was already known for anti-semitism in the U.S. and he would end up sponsoring the publishing of The Protocols
While Ford didn’t write any articles himself — he verbally expressed his disdain of Jews despite being a pacifist. He opposed World War I and vehemently believed only Jews stood to financially capitalize from it.
At one point, Ford even funded square-dancing in American schools due his belief jazz was Jewish music. By the 1920s , Ford funded the publishing of the Protocols and 500,000 copies were printed and distributed in the U.S.
The Protocols in Nazi Germany
A decade later, the Protocols would be taught in Germany schools as fact after the Nazi’s came into power to indoctrinate children. Alfred Rosenberg, a Baltic German Nazi theorist and ideologue, introduced the Protocols to Adolf Hitler who sometimes referred to it in speeches. For the Nazis, it was proof the that the aforementioned “Jewish-Bolshevists” were conspiring to control the world.
I wanted to include this to really drive the point home that preaching about Jewish power might make you look like a Nazi-sympathizer.
Dispelling a couple of myths
The Rothschild Family owns 80% of the world’s wealth and pulls the strings behind the scenes
The Rothschild family does indeed exist, but not in the way most people probably believe. One of the reasons theories are easy to popularize about the family is people can only speculate about them as they tend to keep their affairs private. So conspiracists have floated in the last couple of decades that the Rothschild family owns around 500 trillion of the world’s wealth (which would be impossible since the total world’s wealth would only amass to around 260 trillion (2019). The idea greatly exaggerates the wealth of the family.
Cannon makes a reference to this idea in his podcast saying, “we give so much power to the ‘theys,’ and ‘theys’ turn into illuminati, the Zionists, the Rothschilds”.
“We give so much power to theys” i.e., the Rothschilds indicates there’s wealth going directly to the family (from what I presume to be money directly from the Black community).
The truth is much more benign like many other conspiracies. The Rothschild family were certainly the richest family on Earth at one point but as they have had descendants dating back since the 1700s — there is no “centralized” family to really speak of. And the Rothschild’s money pales in comparison to WalMart which makes more money than all of the descendants combined ($500 billion in annual revenue). Some descendants do use the Rothschild namesake, but they are still in competition in most markets and industries such as real estate.
The Rothschild family name has been attached to various conspiracies which has been a persistent myth people have repeated for years which includes the Illuminati which has been prevalent in the Black community.
Belief in the Illuminati devalues Black careers and Jewish people had nothing to do with them
Even if you aren’t familiar with the history of the real Illuminati you’ve probably seen depictions of them in the movies or you’ve watched videos about them on the internet. Perhaps someone showed you a U.S. one-dollar bill and claimed the “Eye of Providence” is a symbol of the New World Order. There’s many theories that have persisted over the years, and some are convoluted and involve Satanic rituals, Scientology, and Oprah and Jay-Z.
The premise is usually the same: they are portrayed as a secret society (which includes the aforementioned Rothschild family) who secretly control the world. Most incarnations are portrayed as devil worshippers or lizard people. They are interchangeably used with the New World Order (which sometimes includes mentions of the Christian apocalypse). They’ve been referenced and depicted in all forms of entertainment.
Judeo-Masonic conspiracy theories utilize Freemasonry which has ties to the Protocols. However, the truth is: Freemasonry and the real Illuminati weren’t as important to society as people were originally led to believe.
The Illuminati wanted to achieve “illumination” through reason instead of religion which was inspired by Enlightenment which was spreading across Europe. What it came down to was the Catholic Church and the Bavarian monarchy enforcing their religion and laws which wasn’t always reasonable. In fact, the latter made death the punishment for affiliating with the Illuminati. For all intents and purposes, they were a group born out of people seeking to break free from the reigns of religion.
These connections between such groups have shaped how people in the Black community view Jewish people which is in very stark contrast to how they sometimes view successful Black individuals
In Jay-Z’s verse on Rick Ross’s song The Devil Is A Lie, Hov raps, “Is that Lucifer juice in that two cup he sippin’? That’s D’usse, baby, welcome to the dark side”. Hov continues
“Devil want these ni**as hate they own kind. Gotta be Illuminati if a ni**a shine. Oh, we can’t be a ni**a if a ni**a rich? Oh we gotta be the devil that’s some ni**a shit.”
His verse was in response to years of conspiracies about him being in the Illuminati and a devil worshipper (the diamond symbol he frequently would created with his hands in photos and performances was supposedly evidence of his affiliation.)
On the other hand, Jewish people in hip-hop have been referenced by rappers for their roll in the industry which either that of the [record label] owners or the financers. In 2018, Meek Mill responded to criticisms of American rapper 21 Savage’s line in the song AMSR.
“We been gettin’ that Jewish money, everything is kosher.”
There have been numerous references in pop culture prior which already painted Jewish people as money obsessed individuals usually depicted as no-nonsense lawyers, doctors, and accountants (usually deprived of anything meaningful outside of their religious faith and their wealth). Of course, some Jewish people do not care for the stereotype. For example, American rapper Lil’ Dicky (who is Jewish and even plays on that stereotype in his music) said in response, “As a Jew I knew it was complimentary”. But writing it off as a non-issue when you’re not Jewish can certainly be an issue, because you give credence to others who have been preaching harmful ideals for centuries.
The Nation of Islam’s influence
“Why isn’t the white man a native anywhere? You’re not a native Palestinian, no you’re not. You didn’t originate there. But if you did, then you’re the real Semitic people. But the Ashkenazi European, he has no connection at all to the Holy Land. None! So in a showdown prove to us that you are Semitic. Let’s go on with it, it’s our time now!” — Anti-Semitic comments from Minister Louis Farrakhan’s speech at Mosque Maryam, Chicago, Illinois, 11/18/18
Rhetoric based in conspiracies still persists with the Nation of Islam
Cannon used words such as “Zionists” and praised Louis Farrakhan, but I’m convinced Cannon didn’t know the full extent to what the former is; and he surely doesn’t know what the latter has preached over the last several decades. If you didn’t know, Farrakhan was once said,
So I said to the members of the press, ‘Why won’t you go and look into what we are saying about the threats on Reverend Jackson’s life?’ Here the Jews don’t like Farrakhan and so they call me ‘Hitler’. Well that’s a good name. Hitler was a very great man. He wasn’t great for me as a Black man but he was a great German and he rose Germany up from the ashes of her defeat by the united force of all of Europe and America after the First World War. Yet Hitler took Germany from the ashes and rose her up and made her the greatest fighting machine of the twentieth century, brothers and sisters, and even though Europe and America had deciphered the code that Hitler was using to speak to his chiefs of staff, they still had trouble defeating Hitler even after knowing his plans in advance. Now I’m not proud of Hitler’s evil toward Jewish people, but that’s a matter of record. He rose Germany up from nothing. Well, in a sense you could say there is a similarity in that we are rising our people up from nothing, but don’t compare me with your wicked killers” — Minister Louis Farrakhan (March 11, 1984, his speech broadcasted on a Chicago radio station)
It doesn’t help the Nation of Islam themselves are not informed on what they speak about. For example, their targeting of the Talmud which we have learned is based on misunderstandings and misinterpretations due to the previously discussed conspiracies against Jews.
The Talmud is meant to be studied because of archaic and convoluted inclusions which don’t have easily understood meanings due to translations and lost traditions or events. The text have to be thoroughly examined which requires a mastery of both Hebrew and Aramaic languages. And like with most scriptures, some content might not be meant to be taken literal and were the standards and reflections of the times it was written in. I’m not an expert on the Talmud of course, but I do understand it has complexities which have to be studied and discussed in great detail; not just read and taken at face-value with quotes being taken out-of-context.
And while saying Black people are the true Jews and “chosen people” might not be anti-Semitic in nature as our origins in history point back to Africa — there still needs to be some caution about how that sentiment is expressed.
Jewish people exists as modern day slave masters and the embodiment of success
Integrity in real life goes a long way for humans. Most of us refuse to indulge in any kind of violence, depravity, humiliation, or other actions that betrays our morals and who we are as a person in order to make a quick buck. The “Almighty Dollar” is the root of all evil as seen in popular media such as Scarface. Regardless of the Nation of Islam’s influence and teachings — I’ve always been around the ideas such as selling one’s soul and how White people are still treating [us] Black people like modern day slaves. The two ideas go hand-in-hand when navigating the complex world of business especially for athletes, musical artists, and entertainers. This all goes back into the belief of speculation about Black people becoming successful; some people make this their reality.
And on the other side of the coin, we see a master and slave narrative play out in businesses where doing business can be seen as “coonery”, “tap dancing” or “selling out” for the masters. NFL superstar turned activist Colin Kaepernick was praised for doing just the opposite by bringing awareness to police brutality when he opted to sit at first and then kneel instead of stand for the National Anthem back in 2016. People who were outraged included U.S. President Donald Trump.
Two years later, and the same attempt was made to silence a Black professional athlete. LeBron James criticized President Trump in 2018 saying, “The №1 job in America, the appointed person is someone who doesn’t understand the people,” and later adding, some of Trump’s comments were “laughable and scary.” American television host Laura Ingraham responded to the LeBron’s comments on her Fox News program The Ingraham Angle.
“It’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball,” continuing she said, “Keep the political comments to yourselves. … Shut up and dribble.”
Those owners of teams in both leagues are all White (save for Michael Jordan who owns NBA team the Charlotte Hornets).
In both instances, Kaepernick and James refused to “shuck & jive” to oblige their critics who attempted to silence them. They used their platforms to express and speak their minds the same as everyone else which they should be able to do. Criticisms are fine in regards to their arguments, but silencing two Black men in a country founded on slavery, inequality, and racism with civil rights not being given until the mid-60s is certainly racist.
The road tends to have crossroads with Black people being stuck in the middle. Jay-Z was criticized for meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Nick Cannon was criticized for apologizing. I don’t believe the harsh criticisms towards them to be invalid, but it was Kaepernick who made the decision to fight for equality. And how how he handled a possible return to the NFL was on his own terms. We should recognize Black people having discussions and apologizing doesn’t mean they’re selling out; it’s just how people grow and move forward in the world of business.
Jewish people are caught in the crossfire due to established stereotypes that come from conspiratorial origins that are included in things we were told from only one perspective along with groups that want to push their anti-Semitic agendas and fictitious work that cemented stereotypes. Simultaneously, Jewish people are championed as how the Black community should look — dapper, successful, wealthy, and the owners of everything. That’s not to say more Black ownership wouldn’t be a grand idea. The Black Wall Street Massacre and other Black towns and businesses being destroyed and sabotaged was a blow to our communities.
However, it’s important to not let conspiracies or relying on one way of viewing history to justify anti-Semitic remarks. White people (in general) were also targeted and framed as devils. White people unequivocally have a lot to atone for which requires their help in the fight for equality and equity.
Success comes from community, resources, childcare, education, and opportunities Black people weren’t afforded which needs to be substantially increased after years of abuse, destruction, murder, and racism.