Is the U.S. government controlled by a Zionist conspiracy?
The answer is yes, according to Mr. Issa Ashour, a speaker brought to campus by the Palestinian Student Association. The title of his talk is “The Zionist Lobby Control in the U.S. Congress and Media.”
Mr. Ashour based his comments on two books, “One Nation Under Israel” and “They Dare to Speak Out.” He made no claims of any other research or knowledge about the topic.
“One Nation Under Israel” is issued by Truth Press, the publishing outlet of a fundamentalist group that believes the United States government is controlled by a mysterious “Power Elite.” According to their Web site (whtt.org), the Power Elite is a foreign agency that has seized control of America and is busy fostering immorality, corrupting institutions, and promoting “unspeakable moral, social, and criminal problems.”
Sound paranoid? It’s worse than that. It’s anti-Semitic and dangerous.
The Web site makes it clear that the Power Elite is a Jewish Zionist conspiracy: “World Zionism…[blackmails] Christians with the threat of eternal damnation if they fail to kneel before Israel with money and favors…”
The Nazis also believed a mysterious international conspiracy was corrupting their country. They identified this conspiracy with Jews, and with that justification exterminated them.
The association with Nazis is not far-fetched. “They Dare to Speak Out” – another book which purports to uncover Zionist control over the American government – is offered for sale on Stormfront.org, an explicitly racist and anti-Semitic website which describes itself as “America’s premier White Patriot newspaper.”
The myth that Jews are a secret cabal that controls the media and the government goes back at least to “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a fabricated account of a Jewish plot to take over the world published at the end of the 19th century.
Today the Protocols are widely distributed in the Arab world. A 30-part movie based on the Protocols will soon air on Egyptian TV.
Egyptian TV is controlled by the Egyptian government. Government sponsored anti-Semitism is pervasive in the Arab world, and is a major cause of the hatred of Israel.
The Arab world is rife with myths about Zionist conspiracies, which provide an easy explanation for the failures of Arab societies. For example, the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center are widely rumored to have been piloted by Zionist agents.
Mr. Ashour displayed his true colors by expressing sympathy for this crackpot theory at the end of his talk. Zionists control the United States government, Zionists own the media, Zionists are behind the events of Sept. 11, …well, you get the idea.
Of course, there is a Zionist lobby, and it is well funded, and it does try to influence electoral outcomes and government policies. The same could be said for many other lobbies. Despite years of living in the United States, Mr. Ashour seems not to understand the messy nature of the democratic process.
Mr. Ashour claims that he is an anti-Zionist, not an anti-Semite. He even played word games by claiming that his Semitic origins make it impossible for him to be an anti-Semite.
This is a distinction without a difference. A “Zionist conspiracy” is just the modern version of the “Jewish banking conspiracy” and the “Jewish communist conspiracy” from earlier eras.
It is paranoid to claim that all criticisms of the Israeli government are met with accusations of anti-Semitism. I spent years working with a Jewish peace group that was extremely critical of the Israeli government. Our opinions were never suppressed, nor were we ever accused of anti-Semitism.
Hostility to the Israeli government is a legitimate political opinion (one that is often voiced in Israel). Hostility to Zionism itself is inherently anti-Semitic since it rejects Jewish sovereignty over a small sliver of the Middle East while it is sanguine about Islamic sovereignty over the entire region.
Differences of opinion about the Middle East are normal and healthy. But the belief that Zionist conspiracies govern the United States or the Middle East is not an “opinion.” It is crackpot anti-Semitism.
And that, funded by your ASCSU dollars, is what the Palestinian Student Association is bringing to our campus.