"I think that the Zionist Jews who are running these big banks and our Federal Reserve, which is not run by the federal government – they need to be run out of this country," declared Patricia McAllister from the speaker’s platform at Occupy Los Angeles.
It’s a timeworn message, the myth of the almighty Jews behind the curtain, pulling the strings to exploit humanity and drain economies.
The message was geographically shrunken a bit by McAllister, a substitute teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, compared to how the Nazis stated it in Germany in the 1930s.
Rather than McAllister’s "they need to be run out of this country," Hitler had the more wide-ranging ambition of running the Jews off the planet.
"The struggle for world domination will be fought entirely between us, between Germans and Jews," Hitler explained. "All else is facade and illusion. Behind England stands Israel, and behind France, and behind the United States."
In the paranoid and prejudiced ideology of The Third Reich, the Jews were behind all the curtains.
So what’s this have to do with Occupy Wall Street? Wasn’t McAllister’s anti-Semitic outburst just one teacher’s bigotry, just an isolated and non-representative incident?
Writing in The Nation, Nathan Schneider answered this question: "I hear that Adbusters organized Occupy Wall Street? Or Anonymous? Or US Day of Rage? Just who put this together anyway?"
Answered Schneider: "All of the above, and more. Adbusters made the initial call in mid-July, and also produced a very sexy poster with a ballerina posed atop the Charging Bull statue and riot police in the background."
Adbusters magazine, the launching vehicle for Occupy Wall Street, published a long list of names of influential people in large and bold print in 2004 alongside a feature article by Kalle Lasn, founder and editor-in-chief of Adbusters, entitled "Why won’t anyone say they’re Jewish?"
New York Times columnist David Brooks was on the list, along with Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams, Irving Kristol, William Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, John Podhoretz, Paul Wolfowitz, Jonah Goldberg, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, and others.
"Friends help each other out," the article began. "That’s why the U.S. sends billions of dollars every year to Israel."
Additionally, said Lasn, "neocons seem to have a special affinity for Israel that influences their political thinking and consequently American foreign policy in the Middle East."
What "neocons" share, Lasn contended, "is the view that the U.S. is a benevolent power that must protect itself by reshaping the rest of the world into its morally superior image. And half of them are Jewish."
Lasn didn’t mention that those who pulled the trigger to go into Iraq in 2003, based on faulty information — George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld – were all Christians.
Similarly, McAllister didn’t bother to mention that a certain number of Jews entered white collar professions, including banking, because they were legally prevented from buying and farming land during periods when agriculture was the top economic sector.
In 2009, Adbusters published a photo montage comparing the Warsaw ghetto in World War II to the current day Gaza Strip. The message? Jews are no better than Nazis.
This is not to say that Occupy Wall Street or any of the related protests are largely anti-Semitic.
What I am saying is that any movement for "fairness" should be especially vigilant in removing the unfairness of prejudice from its ranks if it’s to have any credibility.
Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics and the B. Kenneth Simon professor of free enterprise at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.
R. R. Reiland
E-mail: [email protected].