Rumor: Prior to Crisis, $400 Billion Transfer to Israeli Banks

  • October 13, 2008

A rumor widely circulated on the Internet suggests that just prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers and other major investment banks, "$400 billion in funds was secretly transferred to Israeli banks."

This anti-Semitic conspiracy theory has no basis in fact.  It has echoes of the one that emerged immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks -- that "4,000 Jews" did not report to work at the World Trade Center that day because they had been given advance warning of the attack by the Israeli government.  The Big Lie of supposed Jewish and/or Israeli involvement in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is now believed by many around the world.

The conspiracy theory about a transfer of funds from U.S. banks to Israel had its genesis in a news item posted in early October 2008 on an anti-Semitic site sponsored by The Barnes Review, a Washington, D.C.-based Holocaust denial publication.  That article falsely claimed that American businesses sent $400 billion to Israel banks during the current crisis and stated that "it is not necessary to mention that the senders are all Jewish" and "that Israeli oriented economic criminals will use the Jewish state as a refuge."

To "prove" this blatantly anti-Semitic claim, this article was juxtaposed with an actual news article from the Web site stating that Lehman Brothers lost more than $400 billion in assets before declaring bankruptcy. 

This bogus claim has since circulated on various sites on the Internet.