Recently the Anti-Defamation League alerted the Palestinian Authority that the PA web site had a link to the ?Protocols of the Elders of Zion,? the notorious Czarist forgery used by anti-Semites everywhere to vilify Jews as a secret international cabal. The PA immediately removed the link.
UNESCO, on the other hand, helped fund an Egyptian exhibit of the sacred writings of the three major monotheistic faiths, and right there next to the Jewish Bible were the Protocols.
Needless to say, right wing extremist groups see Jewish cabals everywhere, not least in the ?Zionist Occupation Government? of the US.
But even to those who might not associate themselves with the Protocols, the Jewish cabal is an ineradicable part of their consciousness. The New York Times of June 1, describing the unmasking of Deep Throat, notes, ?The Watergate tapes disclosed that Nixon himself had singled out Mr. Felt for special suspicion, once asking his chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman, ?Is he a Catholic?? Mr. Haldeman replied that Mr. Felt, who is of Irish descent, was Jewish, and Nixon, who often liked to see Jews at the root of his troubles, replied: ?It could be the Jewish thing. I don’t know. It’s always a possibility.?? In a related development, Iran?s state-run television station on May 16 attributed Nixon?s downfall to a ?major political coup carried out by the Zionist lobby.?
And then there?s General Anthony Zinni, who told ?60 Minutes? in July 2004 that the Iraq war had been fought for Israel’s benefit, and that neo-conservatives? role in pushing the war was ?the worst-kept secret in Washington.? After naming only Jewish neo-cons, Zinni complained that he was unjustly tarred as anti-Semitic: ?I certainly don’t know what their ethnic religious backgrounds are.? Uh huh. And remember Pat Buchanan?s ?Amen corner?? (In 2004 he probably would have lost the Florida Jewish vote.)
On the academic left, there is great affection for defrocked New Jersey poet-laureate Amiri Baraka, whose ode to 9/11 included the innuendo popular in the Arab world that the Jews had done it and colluded to be absent from the Twin Towers.
Let?s examine two recent examples in detail. On May 27, the Council for the National Interest Foundationf published a full-page ad in the New York Times, entitled ?AIPAC?s Agenda is Not America?s.? [http://cnionline.org/pubs/ads/aipac.htm] The CNIF, founded 15 years ago by former Congressmen James Abourezk, Paul Findley, and Paul McCloskey, works, according to the ad, ?to promote a rational and even-handed Middle East policy in the long-term interest of America, Israel, and the Arab states.? The ad, a series of quotes interspersed with overwrought text, is so over-the-top in its attacks on AIPAC and Israel that it provides more amusement than concern. Its call for legislation to register AIPAC and similar organizations as agents of foreign powers is risible, since a glance at CNIF?s web page immediately classifies it as an agent of at least the Palestinian Authority, if not a whole host of Arab states. And of course the ad reminds us of the crimes of Jonathan Pollard, whose connection to AIPAC is non-existent? unless of course you believe in cabals.
Particularly piquant is the ad?s attack on ?Israel?s right-wing government.? Perhaps we should search their archives for support of the various Israeli left-wing governments in power since CNIF?s founding. But let?s get to the meat:
“The Israel lobby is out of control. It shuts down any rational debate or even any discussion of Israel’s actions. Three past heads of Israel’s security service, Shin Bet, have said that the actions of the present Israeli government are self-destructive, yet those views are not heard by the American public.
The many organizations that make up the Israel lobby include several whose main effort is to intimidate editors and producers in the media and prevent an open discourse about Israeli policies and our uncritical support for those policies.”
Really? Then how come the Shin Bet quotes have appeared in the American press? How come the Jewish cabal couldn?t stop the Times from publishing the CNIF ad? How come the Chicago Tribune not only takes a consistently anti-Israel line, but even published a cartoon, for which it belatedly and grudgingly apologized, of a hook-nosed Ariel Sharon throwing money at a groveling George Bush? How come the Nation continues to regularly skewer Israel?
How come, in fact, if it?s so powerful, AIPAC felt obliged to fire staffers Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, accused of accepting classified documents from Defense Department analyst Larry Franklin?
My opinion is that the charges will not be substantiated. I thought otherwise?until I saw the FBI pushing an indictment of Franklin for taking unauthorized documents home. That?s the Wen Ho Lee scam: Can?t back up your original charges? Save face by charging them with working nights. I?m guessing that a lot of government employees take classified material home. I?m also guessing that Franklin, like Lee, will face some bad times in jail (although since he?s white, probably not in shackles and solitary confinement.) And then, like Lee, he?ll sue the government for well-deserved millions. Your tax dollars at work.
Of course, if Franklin, Rosen, and Weissman are proven guilty, they should go to jail. But CNIF believes in guilty until proven innocent? at least for the ?Israel lobby.?
The problem with all conspiracy theories, of which the Jewish cabal is certainly the most durable, is that they are untestable. Since cabals by their nature are secret, the lack of evidence is the evidence. Anyone can read CNIF?s web site and publications. But since most Americans apparently don?t find their arguments compelling, it must be the work of the cabal. McCloskey and Findley were voted out of office? The cabal. Yes, Jews support anti-anti-Israel candidates with votes and money. That?s not a cabal: that?s democracy.
But lest we think that only the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic camps promulgate the cabal myth, here?s the second example: a letter to the New York Times on April 11 from Joan W. Scott, Chairwoman of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, American Association of University Professors, regarding the charge that Jewish students at Columbia University were harassed by pro-Palestinian professors:
” Your April 7 editorial about Columbia University doesn’t address the real issue of the controversy: the threat to the integrity of the university by the intervention of organized outside agitators who are disrupting classes and programs for ideological purposes. These agitators pose a threat far more serious than anything Prof. Joseph Massad may or may not have done….”
In my correspondence with the AAUP, I wrote:
“…the ?outside agitator? issue is a red herring. The only reason non-enrollees are in a classroom is because the professor has allowed it. If we don’t want them there, then we simply say, ?You are not enrolled. Please leave, or I will call Security.?
… I take particular exception to the phrase ?organized outside agitators?…. Organized by whom? What cabal has such power that it can force a professor to open his classroom to non-enrolled disruptors? You will forgive me if I detect a whiff of something quite unpleasant (even if unconscious) in this locution.”
I have chosen to resign from the AAUP, despite the fact that (as their president took pains to remind me) they do many good things, such as opposing the British Association of University Professors? boycott of Bar-Ilan and Haifa Universities. I will have to admire their good works from a distance.
The origin of the term ?cabal? is of course no mystery: the Hebrew ?kabbalah? working its way into English through Latin and medieval French. Its original meaning of ?receiving? was lost as kabbalistic rites became a paradigm for secrecy.
This is not to say that only the Jews have been tarred as a cabal. The Catholic Church and the Masons have long been targets of fundamentalists. But attacks on them today are seen as hallmarks of an extremist fringe. By contrast, three former congressmen, a former presidential candidate, a general, and a high official in the American Association of University Professors all continue to promulgate the myth of the Jewish cabal. Its long history has apparently rendered it endemic in majority Gentile cultures. It resides in the unconscious even of people who are not overt anti-Semites, and it is not likely to soon disappear.