Yesterday, social media (including myself) had a field day with the revelation that in 2018, Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene had come up with a theory that California wildfires might have been started by public utility PG&E, which worked with the Rothschild family, using a satellite that redirects the sun’s rays to Earth, in order to clear room for a high-speed rail project that the governor wanted.
Invoking the Rothschilds is of course one of the favorite memes of antisemites, using that banking family as a proxy for supposed Jewish control of the world.
This is not the only antisemitic conspiracy theory that Taylor Greene has espoused. Also in 2018, she shared a video that claimed the “Great Replacement” theory, quoting a Holocaust denier that “Zionist supremacists have schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation” to replace white Europeans with Muslim immigrants.
Conspiracy theorists and antisemitism go hand in hand. Not every conspiracy theory invokes Jews, but Jews pop up very often in these theories.
It didn’t start with the grand theory of the Elders of Zion secretly pulling the strings of the world. It didn’t start with the blood libel or the accusation that Jews poison the wells causing the Black Death in the 14th century.
Jews have been blamed for conspiracy theories from the very first moment of becoming a people.
After all, look at Exodus 1:8-11:
A new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are much too numerous for us. Let us deal shrewdly with them, so that they may not increase; otherwise in the event of war they may join our enemies in fighting against us and rise from the ground.”
Jews saved Egypt from famine. They were model citizens. But Pharaoh created a conspiracy theory that they were a fifth column to destroy Egypt.
This is literally the first thing that scripture says about the Jewish people.
It is not the only conspiracy theory in the Hebrew Scripture involving Jews: Esther 3:8:
Haman then said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people, scattered and dispersed among the other peoples in all the provinces of your realm, whose laws are different from those of any other people and who do not obey the king’s laws; and it is not in Your Majesty’s interest to tolerate them.”
Sad to say, no amount of education is going to eradicate this sort of antisemitism. All we can do is expose it and expose the people who are behind it.