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Financial Crisis Sparks Wave of Internet Anti-Semitism

Read the full report here: Financial Crisis Sparks Wave of Internet Anti-Semitism (PDF).

As the financial crisis continues to affect markets around the world, anti-Semites are still using it to promote conspiracy theories about Jewish involvement in the crisis, and anti-Semitic statements and other anti-Jewish messages are appearing on a daily basis on financial Internet discussion groups and on websites and blogs both in the U.S. and abroad.

The crisis has also given birth to new anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. One of the most common rumors being circulated on the Internet suggests that just prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, “$400 billion was frantically transferred to banks in Israel” by the company.

That conspiracy theory, which has no basis in fact, is reminiscent of the one that emerged immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which claimed that “4,000 Jews” did not report to work at the World Trade Center that day because they had advance warning that an attack was imminent. That “big lie” is now believed by many around the world.

Posts and public comments on financial message boards, websites and blogs have perpetuated anti-Semitic stereotypes and conspiracy theories alleging Jewish control of the U.S. economy, banking and government and blaming Jews for the country’s financial turmoil. Some posts have gone so far as to resurrect Nazi-era propaganda with threads such as, “The Jewish Problem...They need to be stopped…” or comments such as, “The Final Solution 2??”

Anti-Semitic posts regarding Lehman Brothers, American International Group (AIG) and other companies began appearing in mid-September 2008, on the Yahoo! Finance group and other financial message boards as these companies’ financial difficulties received increasing media attention. While some websites hosting finance boards have been quick to remove offensive statements, new posts have continued to appear as the financial crisis has unfolded.

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