Press Release

Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories About Iran Drone Strike Gain Traction in Online Hate Forums and Iranian Media

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New York, NY, January 9, 2020 … The U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani has spawned a series of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist conspiracy theories blaming Jews and “Zionists” for controlling President Trump and the U.S. government.

A new blog from ADL’s Center on Extremism identifies some of those who are currently spreading anti-Semitic and anti-Israel conspiracies in the wake of the Soleimani assassination. The rapid spread of such conspiracies has been most noticeable among white supremacists and other blatant anti-Semites, but conspiracies about Jews have also figured in public statements from Iranian officials and the Islamic terrorist organizations they support. Some anti-Israel activists on the left have expressed related notions about Jewish or Israeli influence over U.S. foreign policy.

“For now, these conspiracies are limited to the extremist fringe, where anti-Semites typically look to any major world event as justification for their bigoted views,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “Our concern is this steady drumbeat of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric may contribute to an environment in which more overtly ant-Semitic beliefs take root and move from the fringes into the mainstream.”

Among the conspiracy theories currently circulating in online hate forums is the notion that the president launched the attack at the request of Jews and wealthy Jewish donors to the Republican party. “The Jewish race,” wrote one white supremacist blogger, “has always manipulated and conscripted others into fighting off their racial enemies.” Another anti-Semitic ideologue told Iran’s Press TV, “the Jews want Iran to attack America,” because they “want America to get into a war with Iran, for Israel.”

Examples of individuals spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories surrounding the Soleimani killing include:

  • White supremacist Paul Nehlen wrote on Telegram, “The kikes who own Orange Man were gonna have their war with Iran one way or another.” He suggested that his readers “go fill up your gas tanks tonight. Gasoline will spike like a MF while you sleep. The kikes will have had advanced knowledge of this…watch all sorts of economic smash [sic] in the next 72 hours.”
  • Conspiracy theorist and anti-Semite Henry Makow speculated on his web site that President Trump’s policy on Iran marks the beginning of a third world war between the “Islamic world” and “political Zionists” in order to “cull the Goyim” and to bring about “Masonic Jewish banker world government.”
  • Conspiracy theorist Gordon Duff, who runs the anti-Semitic website Veterans Today, told the Iranian media outlet Press TV that Ivanka Trump Kushner, whom he claims was “placed next to Trump as his Israeli handler,” instructed her father to kill Soleimani after she “received [orders] from Israel.”
  • Anti-Semitic propagandist Brother Nathanael Kapner’s “RealJewNews” website presented Kapner’s interview with “ex green beret” Joe Cortina. Cortina said that a potential war with Iran will be “brought to you by IsraHell and its pawn in the White House, and by the infestation of treasonous Jewish agents throughout America, along with countless Gentile shills who make a living out of sending our boys into harm’s way.”
  • Former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney tweeted, “Guaranteed: Trump’s @POTUS statement about Soleimani and Iran was written in Israel. ALL LIES. @realDonaldTrump Zionist puppet.”
  • Senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda, Member of the Assembly of Experts: He declared that to make sense of Soleimani’s death one should look at the battle over Medina during Quranic times, when “all the Jews and polytheists were united together” and “went to war against the Prophet”.