The Zionist Conspiracy

Are the rumors true that Jews are planning to take over the world's governments and banks?

by Brian Dunning

Filed under Conspiracies, Religion

Skeptoid #271
August 16, 2011
Podcast transcript | Listen | Subscribe

Today we're going to point the skeptical eye at conspiracy theories that claim Jews are trying to take over the world. There is not just one version of this, there are many; and in their various forms, they've been around for centuries. There's hardly been a moment in the past 2,500 years when some group somewhere has not been fomenting mistrust and suspicion of Jews and their motives: The Jews want to take over your government, the Jews want to take control of your banks, the Jews want to abolish your church. The accuracy of these claims is one thing; the history behind them is another.

Although the word Zion means many things to many cultures, it's usually a place of peace and unity, and cross-cultural brotherhood. However it's most often associated with the Jewish people in particular. In that lexicon, the word Zion typically refers to the "promised land", the homeland promised by God to the Jews according to Judeo-Christian canon. Zion can also refer more specifically to the city of Jerusalem or the location of Solomon's Temple, and sometimes to the Biblical land of Israel.

Historically, a Zionist was any person who fought for the establishment of a Jewish nation in Zion. This was finally fulfilled over the course of many bloody months from 1947 to 1949, as various nations fought over the partitioning of Jerusalem and the surrounding region. The nation of Israel has held a tenuous foothold ever since, and it remains the political and spiritual homeland of all Jewish people all over the world. Since its establishment, the mission of Zionists has been to defend and strengthen Israel, and to oppose challenges to its sovereignty; in short, Zionism is Zionist nationalism.

Some critics of Zionism frequently broaden the application of the word Zionist to include any people anywhere who express support for Israel. Suffice it to say that antisemitism is not your everyday bigotry. Its roots run deep, it is cross cultural, and it's been institutionalized as an official national policy by some of the world's greatest superpowers. Nazi Germany is the only most obvious example of antisemitism as policy, but it's hardly the only one. 500 years before Christ, in the time of ancient Persia, Xerxes ordered all Jews in his kingdom to be killed. Various Roman emperors and Greek kings ordered the Jews to be exterminated. While the Christians prosecuted their Crusades against Muslims and Jews, the Muslims were forcing Christians and Jews to either convert or be killed. In the 1300s, Jews were widely burned at the stake throughout Europe for "causing" the plague. In the 1400s, the Spanish Inquisition burned some 30,000 Jews for refusing to leave their country. But this list could go on and on ad nauseum. Jews have always been blamed for something, and were always at the receiving end of the genocide. There are scant examples in history of Jews doing the same to anyone else.

And yet claims of Zionist Conspiracy have always persisted, lack of evidence notwithstanding. The most significant evidence of the existence of the Zionist conspiracy to rule the world appeared in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1903. Znamya was a small, short-lived newspaper published by an extreme nationalist faction called the Black Hundreds, for whom antisemitism was a core value. Znamya serialized 24 articles over 9 issues of the paper titled The Protocols of the Sessions of the World Alliance of Freemasons and of the Sages of Zion. They were, apparently, the recorded minutes of that group's meeting which took place sometime in the late 1800s. The headline was "A Program for World Conquest by the Jews: Minutes of a Meeting of the Elders of Zion". Its articles covered topics such as economic war, methods of conquest, acquisition of land, a transitional government, propaganda, destruction of religion, organizing disorder, and the control of stock markets. Russian ultra-nationalist Pavel Krushevan, the publisher of Znamya and openly antisemitic, refused to give his source for the articles, other than to say they were received by him in French and were translated.

The Protocols of Zion, as they were commonly called, were widely translated and reprinted. They appeared in numerous Russian publications for the next 14 years, and then arose in the west. Britain, the United States, and Germany began publishing them around 1920, and they've been available in print somewhere ever since. Today they are still published throughout the Middle East, in Venezuela, in Malaysia, and Indonesia; most often in Muslim countries.

The first Western publication is believed to have been in the Times of London on May 8, 1920, under the headline "The Jewish Peril". While some readers were shocked at what they believed the Jews were up to, others were more skeptical; and one of the Times' correspondents finally uncovered a shocker. A year after the publication, in August of 1921, the Times published a followup called "The End of Protocols" in which it was revealed that much of The Protocols of Zion was a nearly exact copy of an 1864 book by Maurice Joly called The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu. Joly, a conservative French lawyer, wrote it as a satirical account of how Napoleon III was planning to take over the world. Large sections of it were plagiarized word-for-word in the original French, literally replacing the word "French" with "the world" and replacing "Napoleon III" with "Jews". As Joly's book was (and still is) available for anyone to examine, this revelation established conclusively that The Protocols of Zion were a hoax.

But who was the hoaxster? Pavel Krushevan himself, perhaps? Many authors advanced theories over the ensuing 70 years, but it wasn't until 1992 and the collapse of communism that certain Soviet archives were unsealed and made available. Russian researcher Mikhail Lépekhine spent five years going through the records, and the story he unearthed was worthy of a modern spy tale.

In the opening years of the 1900s, the Imperialist Russian government correctly saw impending revolution as a very real possibility. The primary job of the Okhrana, the Russian secret police, was to stave this off as best they could; and in a war of ideologies, propaganda is usually the best weapon. Antisemitism was endemic in the Imperial government (indeed, discrimination against Jews was a national policy), and blaming the empire's problems on the Jews was a familiar tactic of the regime. Pyotr Rachkovsky was the head of Okhrana based in Paris, where he could keep an eye on the many revolutionaries who had sought safety in France. Around 1900, while researching propaganda campaigns, he came across The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu. Documents unearthed by Lépekhine show that Rachkovsky's office hired the author and political activist Matvei Golovinski to write something up showing that the Jews were behind everything the revolutionaries opposed. Golovinski wrote The Protocols of Zion using the text provided by Rachkovsky as a guide, and it was then delivered back to Russia by their agent Yuliana Glinka. She delivered it into the eager hands of publisher Pavel Krushevan, and the rest is history. Mikhail Lépekhine's findings were written up in the French magazine Le Figaro in August of 1999, and again to much greater attention in L'Express a few months later.

In what seems like an almost pitiful last gasp of a dying regime, as the revolution progressed, the Imperialists began calling the Bolshevik revolutionaries themselves Jews. The term Judeo-Bolshevism was invented to associate Jews with communism, and later became one of Adolf Hitler's pet phrases. The ironic footnote to all of this is that Golovinski, author of the most infamous antisemitic document in modern history, changed allegiances after the 1917 revolution and became a Bolshevik himself.

With The Protocols of Zion having been so thoroughly proven to be a hoax as early as 1921, its continued publication and endorsement by such world leaders as Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggests that belief in the Zionist Conspiracy is driven by something other than true history or evidence. Many scholars have identified three basic types of antisemitism:

  1. Ancient antisemitism, which despised Jews because they were poor and considered inferior. Their culture had a late start and few friends, and they never got a strong foothold.

  2. Modern antisemitism, on the other hand, is largely based on suspicion of the Jews trying to control the world economy. Since the establishment of Israel, suddenly Jews have been considered to be in a position of strength from which they can wield international power.

  3. Christian antisemitism, which has its roots in Jewish deicide. This is the belief that all Jews, everywhere, are responsible for the execution of Jesus Christ. This underlying theme has been the primary driver of European antisemitism for two thousand years.

Why were the Jews always on the receiving end of holocausts, crusades, inquisitions, and imperial edicts? Why are there no stories of Jews riding forth and exterminating their enemies? The Christians and the Muslims fought each other, and both fought the Jews; we don't seem to have ever seen the Jews fighting back. The simple answer is that throughout most of history, there has never been a Jewish homeland. For 2,000 years, there have been no Jewish kings to send armies against the Christians and the Muslims. There were no Jewish dungeons in which confessions of apostasy could be extracted. The Jewish culture has been largely a civilization of refugees ever since Biblical times. They are history's greatest scapegoats and toughest survivors.

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So far, not a single one of any of the myriad Zionist conspiracies has ever come true or been evidenced to exist. The only foundations supporting the current Zionist conspiracies are profound, historically-rooted antisemitism, and hoaxed or nonexistent evidence. Centuries of oppression have marginalized the Jewish community and they remain a tiny minority in the world; hardly the likely suspects to rise and conquer the world's economies and governments.

Some conspiracies are, undoubtedly, real. But of the many conspiracy theories that claim to predict future events, like a Zionist world government, not one has ever materialized. To those who promote or fear any given Zionist conspiracy, consider that all of its predecessors has faded away unfulfilled. I urge you instead to find your own Zion, a place of peace, unity, and cross-cultural brotherhood.

But if you insist on having evidence for the Zionist conspiracy, the official logo for the 2012 Olympic Games in London — a grouping of jagged polygons — is said to spell out the word Zion. Watch out.

Brian Dunning

© 2011 Skeptoid Media Copyright information

References & Further Reading

Conan, E. "Les secrets d'une manipulation antisémite." L'Express., 18 Nov. 1999. Web. 10 Aug. 2011. <>

Hadassa, B. The Lie That Wouldn't Die: One Hundred Years of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Portland: Vallentine Mitchell, 2005.

Handwerk, B. "Anti-Semitic "Protocols of Zion" Endure, Despite Debunking." National Geographic News. National Geographic Society, 11 Sep. 2006. Web. 13 Aug. 2011. <>

Joly, M. Dialogue aux enfers entre Machiavel et Montesquieu. Bruxelles: Impr. de A. Mertens et fils, 1864.

Lendering, J. "Ancient Antisemitism." Articles on Ancient History. Livius, 25 Jul. 2001. Web. 9 Aug. 2011. <>

Philo Judaeus of Alexandria. Against Flaccus. Alexandria: (Ancient publication), c.40.

Pipes, D. Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From. New York: The Free Press, 1997. 85-87.

Reference this article:
Dunning, B. "The Zionist Conspiracy." Skeptoid Podcast. Skeptoid Media, 16 Aug 2011. Web. 13 Oct 2015. <>


10 most recent comments | Show all 213 comments

Why didn't I correct all my errors?

"Holocaust" of course, not "Holocause"... sorry about that. ;-)

Bruno, Denmark
October 24, 2014 4:11am

Brian writes that "While the Christians prosecuted their Crusades against Muslims and Jews, the Muslims were forcing Christians and Jews to either convert or be killed". Forced conversion by Muslims of Christians or Jews was historically quite rare, though it certainly happened at some times in some places. Jews and Christians were both regarded by Muslims as "dhimmi", people of the book, and were generally allowed to practise their faith without interference, though they did have to pay a tax not levied on Muslims. There were some instances of violence against Jews, but probably they were better off in Islamic countries than in Christian Europe. The Sephardic Jews who fled the purges of Ferdinand and Isabella in Spain lived peacefully for many generations under the Ottoman empire. Things only really improved in Europe for Jewish people when Napoleon overthrew the Holy Roman Empire and abolished the Ghetto laws. This historical fact should be acknowledged, and the myth of Islamic barbarity in the Middle Ages needs to be faced for what it is - a myth. I am disappointed that Brian Dunning, who is usually so careful about separating fact from fiction, has seen fit to perpetuate it.

Rory Allen, London
December 8, 2014 3:47am

Jesus, the Word of GOD, said in John 8:44, that the Jews father was not Abraham, but was the Devil and the Jew wanted to do the Devil's works. Read all of John 8, to see that Jesus is talking to the Jews, not just particular Jews. God never promised the the land of Israel to Jews, he promised it to Israel, and to be Israel you must before Jesus obey the laws of God and if you did not you were on longer Israel. Jesus showed that the Jews did not follow God's Laws and therefore were not Israel, even if some Jews could trace their roots back to Jacob.

To be a True Israelite one must except and follow Jesus. Jesus was an Israelite and never was a Jew, other wise in Jesus own word his father too would be the Devil, which was not true. This is another Jew and christian conspiracy, to claim subliminal, that Jesus is not the True son of GOD. It was the Jews that committed the Genocide of all children in Israel in their attempt to Kill Jesus as a baby.

Zionism is not to promote Israel, as God's people following Jesus as God intended, but to promote Jewisim, (Jesus is not GOD and is a Lear). So who ever supports the Jew cause, is DENYING Jesus as GOD and the WORD OF GOD.

Since the Devil is the Deceiver, would it not be so that his followers, the Jews would also be the deceivers? So even if the Jews never sent armies against the Christian they do spread deceit, claiming Jesus was a Jew and God gave Israel to Jews and Not to God's people.

I am not an antisemitic, I am anti DEVIL.

Steve True Israelite, Cape Cod
January 16, 2015 9:10am

Recent scientific studies by top j-w scientists at Johns Hopkins Med Cent. has discovered that the so called j-ws in Israel are in FACT Not the seed of Abraham! They are in FACT FAKE j-ws! They are Khazar Zionists for the Caucus mnts. They have ZERO DNA rights to ANY Palestinian land! Khazar Zionists are from Babylon! Babylon was S.E. Persia, hence their evil Babylonian t@lmud! This makes sense of the Flase claim that any Hebrews/j-ws were ever in Egypt slaving over any Pyramids! Herodotus was a LIAR! I refuse to believe that GOD gave Mosses the 10 commandments, "Thou shall not kill" and then instructed him to direct his brother Joshua to Genocide the land of Canaan for his own j-w land!!! The TRUTH is being revealed and their ARE a lot of FAKE j-ws suffering from Ostricht Syndrome and red faces!!!+

Zio, Dark Side of The Moon
February 20, 2015 9:39pm

Sorry - you can't refer to good studies, but I can:

Genetic studies

The hypothesis of Khazarian ancestry in Ashkenazi has also been a subject of discussion in the new field of population genetics, wherein claims have been made concerning evidence both for and against it. The general conclusion is that, if traces of descent from Khazars exist in the Ashkenazi gene pool, the contribution would be quite minor,[288][289][290][291][292] or insignificant.[293]

JG, Scandinavia
March 1, 2015 2:21am

"So far, not a single one of any of the myriad Zionist conspiracies has ever come true or been evidenced to exist. The only foundations supporting the current Zionist conspiracies are profound, historically-rooted antisemitism, and hoaxed or nonexistent evidence."

Did you really type this with a straight face?

How about if you entertain us by picking a protocol and tell how it's not in play today?

Lou Ciphers, Sin City
April 22, 2015 11:02am

It's an interesting subject, and the amount of seemingly reputable people throughout history who (even if they had agendas we today believe were barbaric) were not uneducated racists that believed this conspiracy whole heartedly is enough to make me wonder about it. While i'm not one to hate any people of any race or religion, and would love to believe that the conspiracies suggested aren't true, there's some interesting aspects of these conspiracy theories that are more true than not true.

The whole 'jewish people control economy and media' aspect is somewhat true. If it's for a legitimate goal, or just because they were industries that jewish people largely founded themselves, i cannot say. I was once arguing with a blatantly neo nationalist individual who was claiming this same theory (although with a differing tone about their legitimacy) and i said what any logical person would, show me factual evidence and cite your findings. I didn't expect him to be able to turn up any valid information, but almost every popular movie producing company in hollywood has a jewish CEO. The vast majority of banks in the united states are also jewish owned.

This surprised me to say the least. There was also another person i spoke to on the subject who claimed israel's interest in the middle east was not for a holy land or to stop islamic hate of jews, but to preserve an oil pipeline monopoly in china and prevent muslim countries from challenging this monopoly. true or not, interesting.

Josh, New York
April 23, 2015 7:51pm

While it is undeniable that they suffered terribly in the western world at the hands of "Christians," foreign Jews had no right whatsoever to take over historic Palestine through force of arms, several massacres and intimidation and as proposed by Herzl, et al during the first Zionist Congress held in Basel Switzerland in 1897 (decades before the Holocaust), dispossess and expel the native Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians (descendants of the Canaanites) in order to create an expansionary, exclusionary "Jewish state."

Senator Henry Morgenthau Sr., renowned Jewish American and U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, 1919: "Zionism is the most stupendous fallacy in Jewish history....The very fervour of my feeling for the oppressed of every race and every land, especially for the Jews, those of my own blood and faith, to whom I am bound by every tender tie, impels me to fight with all the greater force against this scheme, which my intelligence tells me can only lead them deeper into the mire of the past, while it professes to be leading them to the heights. Zionism is... a retrogression into the blackest error, and not progress toward the light."

Albert Einstein, 1939: "There could be no greater calamity than a permanent discord between us and the Arab people.... Let us recall that in former times no people lived in greater friendship with us than the ancestors of these Arabs."

David, Canada
June 16, 2015 1:26pm

JG, Scandinavia

Haaretz Sep. 10/14

Ashkenazi Jews descend from 350 people, scientists say

Geneticists have found serial bottlenecks in European Jews' history and postulate that today's community is just 600 to 800 years old.

By Ruth Schuster

"There may be no such thing as a Jewish gene, but communities can definitely have defining characteristics, and one such community is Jews with roots in central and eastern Europe.

"A model based on the genetic sequencing of 128 Ashkenazi Jews concludes that today's Ashkenazim descend from the fusion of European and Middle-Eastern Jews during the medieval era, between 600 to 800 years ago.

"The math also indicates that today's sprawling community of Ashkenazi Jews -- there are more than 10 million around the world -- derived from just 350 people or so. That previously postulated population bottleneck -- a drastic reduction in population size -- occurred between 25 to 32 generations ago, the scientists say.

"The study was published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications by a team headed by Columbia University's Shai Carmi."

"A number of genetic characteristics are associated with Ashkenazi groups, as opposed to other Jewish populations and other contemporary Middle-Eastern and European peoples. Certainly they are genetically distinguishable. 'Compared with European samples, our Ashkenazi Jewish panel has 47 percent more novel variants per genome,'..."

David, Canada
June 16, 2015 4:13pm

The conspiracy theory that Jews control the media/Hollywood and the banking industry has always struck me as amusing. Could it not be that Jews are simply above-average entertainers, jewelers, lawyers, and businessmen? Any group of people, analyzed collectively, will be found to be better at some activities/professions and worse at others. I've never heard of a conspiracy theory claiming that Jewish athletes are attempting to take over the world of sports. Why's that? Because a disproportionately small number of Jews are/have been world class athletes, whereas Jews represent a disproportionately high number of successful, influential comedians, for example. On the flip side, blacks are/have been disproportionately good athletes, yet have little financial influence considering the size of their population.

As an anti-theist, there are many aspects of Judaism that I dislike and, ideally, I'd like to see Judaism disappear, the same way I'd like to see Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam especially, relegated to the trash bin of history. The notion that Jews are somehow responsible for all the World's ills is utter nonsense. They have always been convenient scapegoats and likely always will be.

Mark, New Zealand
June 16, 2015 6:17pm

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