Monday, September 05, 2005

Jewish conspiracies

A film trying to dispel the myth that no Jews turned up to work at the Trade Center on 9/11 is beginning to make the rounds:
"Light is the best disinfectant," said [filmmaker Marc] Levin, a New York-based US Jew who has made a number of documentaries for US television and fictional features based on real events....
Levin said he got the idea after talking with an Egyptian taxi driver who pointed to the booklet as justification for his believing that 4,000 Jews did not turn up to work the day of the attacks on New York and Washington.
"It started as a sort of personal catharsis in the wake of September 11," he said. "I couldn't believe I was hearing these rumours"...
Levin said he also hoped to organise a screening in the Palestinian territories, where he hoped to counter the effects of the "Protocols of Zion" being taught out of school textbooks.
If he can say something original about this phenomenon, sounds very interesting -- particularly in light of the fact that post-7/7, rumors of a Jewish conspiracy sprouted within hours. Of-course, his chances of persuading most people who believe such rubbish in the first place are negligable; they'll most likely just dismiss his film as propaganda.
I wonder, however, if he'll touch on one of the most interesting aspects of this story, and that is that, in the very immediate aftermath of 9/11, some of these rumors were believed and spread by some Jews, who liked to think that G-d had made a miracle for, and protected, his chosen people (I have no idea whether this was true in NYC or the US, where presumably people knew people who were missing and thus knew better; but certainly in Jerusalem, where I was in Sept. 2001, rumors that there were no Jews -- and later, less Jews than expected -- in the buildings were repeated, and without the qualification, 'listen what crazy stuff is coming out of the Arab press,' if you get my drift). You saw something similar in the aftermath of 7/7, where Jews were perfectly willing to believe the rumors going round that the Mossad/Netanyahu (who was in London at the time) had been warned about the plot in advance.
The fact is that Jews don't always recognise the anti-Semitic nature of such rumors, because their basic tactic is to exaggerate Jews' power -- and part of us buys into this, and also wants to believe that G-d is giving us special protection. Unfortunately, it puts us at risk of becoming complicit with anti-Semitism.

*For a good summary of 9/11 conspiracy theories regarding the Jews, and their origins, see

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