New York, NY, September 18, 2013 … The potential for U.S. military action in response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons on its own people has spawned a “disturbing cottage industry of conspiracy theories,” according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Fringe extremists and anti-Semites have taken to the Internet to promote outrageous claims that behind-the-scenes Jews and Israel are manipulating governments and the media to push for war.
Extremist and conspiracy-oriented web sites have in recent weeks promoted a series of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic conspiracies focused on the Syrian conflict, according to a new ADL report, with claims ranging from the idea that Israel “fabricated” the story about chemical weapons in Syria to gin up further American involvement in the Middle East, to the notion that Israel and Jews manufactured the chemical weapons controversy to divert the world’s attention away from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Once again, fringe extremists and anti-Semites are fueling outlandish conspiracy theories and trying to push them into the mainstream,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL National Director. “There is a disturbing cottage industry of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories surrounding Syria, and unfortunately, Jews and Israel are in the crosshairs.”
Those promoting these conspiracy theories range from traditional anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers, to Israel-bashers, and even the official Iranian news media.
The following are examples of conspiracy oriented messages posted on the Internet:
- In a September 10 interview with Iran’s English-language propaganda network Press TV, J. Bruce Campbell, a columnist for the anti-Semitic Veterans Today, claimed that “Everything we’ve seen was based on Jewish lies designed to take over the Middle East and create greater Israel, which was stretched from Egypt to Iran.” He added, “This was the purpose of the Jewish attack on the USS Liberty in 1967, the attacks of 9/11, 2001, and is the purpose of these bogus chemical attacks…”
- John Friend, an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist, claimed on his blog on September 5, “Israel and the organized Jewish community have made it abundantly clear that they want the U.S. to destroy yet another country on behalf of global Zionism.”
- Kevin McDonald, an anti-Semitic professor of psychology at California State University at Long Beach wrote a September 2 article in The Occidental Observer stating that, “The delay [in military action in Syria] provides an opportunity for the Israel Lobby to get into high gear in order to bump up the poll numbers and exert its power over Congress.”
- The Nation of Islam’s Research Group promoted conspiracy theories about Israel and Syria through social media, posting on Facebook and Twitter that “U.S. is relying on Israeli ‘intelligence’ to start yet another war in Syria. But ISRAEL DID 911…” (August 28) and “Syrian chemical attack? Look for Israel’s bloody fingerprints” (August 22).
- Holocaust denier Michael Hoffman wrote on August 28 on his blog: “The Syrian ambassador is correct in stating that the threats of an attack on his government are part of the Israeli geo-political strategy,” further claiming that “the war fever” being created in the U.S. “buttresses the role of America acting as a proxy for Israeli interests.”
Editor’s Note: ADL experts on domestic and international anti-Semitism are available for comment on conspiracy theories surrounding the Syrian conflict. Additional examples are available on the League’s web site at www.adl.org