Friday, June 12, 2009

Mainstreaming anti-Semitism

An infamous Russian forgery, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, in the 1920s: the Protocols are still a favorite text of anti-Semites around the world

As much as I've blogged about Christian Zionism, this particular angle hadn't occurred to me until I read it in Ruth's post at TalktoAction, Conspiracy as Prophecy 06/12/09:

A few weeks ago I spoke at an event sponsored by one of the local chapters of the American Jewish Committee and emphasized the growing dangers of New World Order Conspiracy theories. Included in my presentation were video clips and examples of the rapid mainstreaming of this conspiracy storyline. However, my presentation was not focused on white supremacist groups but Christian Zionist leaders who freely and openly disseminate this paranoid conspiracy to millions worldwide in the guise of end times prophecy.

The press is focusing on the manifestations of hatred by white supremacist groups as opposed to the narrative through which they teach their hateful obsession with Jews. This "New World Order" narrative, as well as the process through which this narrative is transmitted to others, is an important part of understanding the growing epidemic of paranoid conspiracy theories. The narrative is not just about indulging in hatred of "the other" but a cohesive storyline about the battle between good and evil in society. This narrative can be disseminated in religious or secular versions, and can be told in an anti-Semitic or "philo-Semitic" millennial frame. But the basic storyline of world control by an interconnected and demonic cabal remains the same. Understanding this narrative can help to explain a question that numerous commentators posed this week, as they wondered why the election of our first African American president could bring about an increase in anti-Semitic violence. [my emphasis]
It's an open secret among those familiar with Christian Zionism as it's usually understood in the US today that the concept is based on a fundamentally anti-Jewish understanding of the Christian Scriptures. Not to mention highly imaginative interpretations of the same, even though Christian Zionists tend to hold to some variety of literalist interpretation of the Bible.

This is another way in which ideas now considered mainstream within the Republican Party encourage the most crackpot ideas among the violent fringe. An intense focus on apocalyptic thinking almost inevitably leads to fanaticism. And Christian Zionism is based on essentially fanatical assumptions, at least in the form which has become dominant within the Christian Right in the US.

Ruth writes:

While it may sound counterintuitive that Christian Zionists would embrace the same basic narrative as overtly anti-Semitic white supremacist groups, the storylines are indeed parallel and sometimes almost identical. Both anti-Semitic and philo-Semitic versions of the narrative are increasingly being marketed side by side and even from the same organizations. One compelling example is The Prophecy Club where people claiming to be Christian Zionists, some even pictured in tallitot, market their products on the same website and participate in the same speaking tours as known anti-Semitic writers. These include Fritz Springmeier, author of the 13 Bloodlines of the Illuminati, and Texe Marrs. All of it is marketed as prophecy. The Prophecy Club is the original source of many hundreds of online videos about the New World Order conspiracy theory, some of it quite virulently anti-Semitic.
One of the posts I made that focused in particular on this theme of Christian Zionism and the New World Order was Pat's Paranoia - And Bigotry 07/15/05.

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