Antisemites need to find excuses and rationalizations for their jew hatred, regardless of how absurd their claims are. Nowhere is this more clear than in the most common Antisemitic charge, that all Jews knowingly participate in a conspiracy to usurp gentile nations. Now on the face of it this “theory” can be dismissed, it makes no sense to say that the Jews, spread across all continents, all languages and all belief systems would be communicating, perhaps in a secret sign language or complicated series of whistles, their nefarious Master Plan to one another.
But lets look a bit closer at this idea so you can combat it when it comes up.
The idea of the Global Jewish Conspiracy comes from late nineteenth century Russia. The country was ruled by a brutal and sadistic Tsar whose feudalism was centuries behind the times. The peasants were suffering from starvation and physical abuse from their Lords, the city workers were underpaid and forced to work full days under severe conditions and the intellectuals were losing patience with a self absorbed Tsar as British, French and Americans lived their lives in freedom. The Tsar had only three choices – reform his Empire thus losing the Pharaoh like power he enjoyed, perish in a Revolution as had happened in France – or find someone else for the people to blame for his own failings as Ruler.
The choice was simple and he had his secret police write the famous forgery, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, supposedly a leaked document illustrating the Jewish plot for world conquest. Each of Russia’s internal problems could be laid at the feet of the Jews, keeping the Tsar safe. Rebellious writers across the Empire were told that each of their hopes for liberation, reformed monarchy, socialism or liberty were in fact all just Jewish plots meant to ensnare them. Russians who wanted teritorial expansion more quickly than the Tsar could afford and those who wanted a lasting peace on the troubled continent were told that both were the plots of Jewish bankers. Threats to feudalism like tradesmen who wanted unions or business owners who wanted reduced taxes were told, again, that these dreams which defied the Tsar’s need for feudalism were also Jewish plots.
No matter what the trouble in Russia, no matter what change could threaten the Tsar, a Jew was to blame. In this way objections to his obscene abuses and power could be safely redirected to Jews living in squalid conditions in the Pale of Settlement (Russia’s teriroty in central and eastern europe) or those tiny number of Jewish students permitted into the universities.
The lie had lethal effects. Across Russia any time conditions grew so severe the s and people could not handle it they attacked the target the Tsar provided. Tens of thousands of Jews perished in Porgroms of the 1880s through to World War One, anti Jewish riots in which homes were invaded, children beaten, wives assaulted and fathers murdered. These orgies of violence were sometimes organized by the State, but often happened on their own.