No region of the world is immune to buying into outrageous conspiracy theories. But the Arab world is a conspiracy theory mecca (pun definitely intended). Maybe as a result of Arab states’ powerlessness at home and collectively on the world stage, perhaps as a result of their embarrassingly primitive societies, their failure to modernize and the lies passed on as truth on government run media, conspiracy theories thrive.
Invariably loony and almost always transparently anti-Semitic, the Arab world’s conspiracy theories are also sometimes entertaining in their absurdity — especially when you forget for a moment that some Middle Eastern media outlets use them to inspire hatred and violence.
The Daily Caller has put together for your enjoyment the five nuttiest conspiracy theories circulating in the Arab world.
5. Mossad’s shark missiles
Shortly before Egypt was consumed by revolution, it was consumed by the threat of sharks — and it wasn’t even Shark Week. After shark attacks in Egypt’s top resort destination of Sharm el Sheikh killed a German tourist and injured several others, Egyptian officials speculated that the sharks could have been sent by the Mossad, Israel’s CIA.
“What is being said about the Mossad throwing the deadly shark in the sea to hit tourism in Egypt is not out of the question,” the regional governor of Sharm el Sheikh, Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha, said to the press, adding that Egypt “needs time to confirm” this blockbuster of a theory. (‘The Boners’ offered tortured defenses of Anthony Weiner)
Egyptian state TV helped propagate the conspiracy theory further when it brought on “Captain Mustafa Ismail,” who was described as “a famous diver in Sharm el Sheikh.”
Ahramonline described what the good captain had to say on the matter:
When asked by the anchor how the shark entered Sharm El Sheikh waters, he burst out, “No, it’s who let them in?”
Urged to elaborate, Ismail said that he recently got a call from an Israeli diver in Eilat telling him that they captured a small shark with a GPS planted in its back, implying that the sharks were monitored to attack in Egypt’s waters only.
“Why would these sharks travel 4000 km and not have any accidents until they entered Sinai waters?” asked Ismail.
The same Ahramonline article quoted an Egyptian marine biologist refuting the absurd conspiracy and stating it was “sad” that Egyptian television decided to help spread it.
But why quibble with reality when fantasy is so much more interesting?
4. The mythical Zionist-Christian-Hindu alliance nuclear tests of 2004 caused the Asian Tsunami
The devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 killed hundreds of thousands of people in 14 countries. While most of the world recognized this was a natural disaster of epic proportions, some in the Arab world thought otherwise.
“Was [the earthquake] caused by American, Israeli and Indian nuclear testing on ‘the day of horror?’ Why did the ‘Ring of Fire’ explode?,” an Egyptian columnist asked (translation provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI).
After discussing how America, Israel and India have teamed up “to test a way to liquidate humanity,” the columnist went on to write that, while the evidence isn’t yet in, it seemed a very likely conclusion that the triumvirate of evil was responsible for creating the tsunami.
“Nevertheless, although so far it has not been proven that secret Indian-Israeli nuclear testing is what caused the destructive earthquake, there is evidence that the recent nuclear tests, the exchange of nuclear experts between India and Israel, and the American pressure on Pakistan regarding its nuclear cooperation with Asian and Islamic countries [by providing India with advanced nuclear technology in an attempt to stop Pakistani activity], all these pose a big question mark regarding the causes of the severe earthquake in Asia,” the columnist wrote.
And rain occurs because God cries.
3. The Jews/Israelis/Zionist Lobby killed JFK
What did John F. Kennedy ever do to the Jews?
Apparently enough for them to have him killed, according to another conspiracy propagated by some in the Arab world.
Perhaps the most famous proponent of this theory is the “Mad Dog” of the Middle East himself, Libyan “Brother Leader” and self-proclaimed “King of Kings of Africa” Muammar Gaddafi. In a brief 100-minute speech (we measure these things in Fidel Castro time at TheDC) in front of the United Nations General Assembly in 2009, Gaddafi imparted the little-known wisdom that the Israelis were involved in killing Kennedy. In previous statements on the matter, the Libyan leader said it was the late Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion who actually “gave the green light” to have Kennedy killed for supposedly wanting to monitor Israel’s nuclear program.
A different version of this “brilliant” alternative historic interpretation was provided by Muhammad Sharif Mazloum, allegedly a Syrian economist, on Al-Kawthar TV in 2008, as translated by MEMRI. While Mazloum basically agreed with Africa’s king of kings on who killed Kennedy, he differed with Gaddafi over the motive.
JFK “was killed by the Zionist Lobby,” according to Mazloum, because he “decided to establish governmental banks to protect the dollar.”
Mazloum explained that, as a result of the Bretton Woods agreement “the dollar severed from gold and became subject to whims and schemes of the Zionist Lobby, whose goal was, and still is, to take control of the world’s gold … to enslave the peoples and then to impoverish them.”
Well, that explains it!
Allowing someone like Mazloum on television is like an American station giving Jesse Ventura a TV show to talk about what the voices in his head are speaking to him about on a daily basis. Oh, wait …
2. The blood libel lives on
Sarah Palin got in trouble after the Tucson shooting because she suggested she had been subjected to a blood libel. When she made the statement, many unhinged liberal commentators were blaming her and her supposed inflammatory rhetoric for a deranged psychopath’s murderous rampage.
But the term blood libel does have an historical meaning.
The blood libel refers to the anti-Semitic fairytale that Jews murder gentile babies and use their blood during religious rituals. The falsehood has inspired Jewish massacres throughout the centuries. While the blood libel conspiracy first appeared in Europe, it is now chiefly propagated in the Arab world. Last year, for instance, a Syrian official even brought it up as if an obvious truth at a United Nations meeting.
Israel “is a state that is built on hatred discrimination, oppression and a paranoid feeling of superiority … Let me quote a song that a group of children on a school bus in Israel sing merrily as they go to school. And I quote, ‘With my teeth I will rip your flesh. With my mouth I will suck your blood,’” the Syrian official said, at a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the UN body that pretends to care about human rights (Translation provided by UN Watch).
On Hamas television in 2009, a Palestinian skit depicted two actors playing Jews in Hasidic clothing. Here is part of the dialogue:
Father: We Jews hate the Muslims, we want to kill the Muslims, we Jews want to drink the blood of Muslims and Arabs.
[Turns to the audience:] Are you Muslims and Arabs?
[The audience responds in the affirmative.]
I hate you, to please God.
In another scene:
Father: I spoke with God, so that you will hate the Muslims, so that you will please God.
Son: Don’t worry, father.
Father: Very well, my son. I repeat: You have to hate the Muslims.
Son: But I [do] hate them.
Father: You have to drink the blood of the Muslims.
I know what you’re thinking — you can almost excuse the hatred because of the phenomenal writing.
Watch the parts of the play here, courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch:
1. Israel and/or America with or without Ben Franklin were behind 9/11
Many in the Arab world still refuse to believe that al-Qaeda was responsible for bringing down the Twin Towers.
The attacks of 9/11 were “dictated by stakeholders, by Jewish and Zionist owners of capital, by the weapons industry and by the big oil companies,” one alternative version of who is responsible for the 9/11 attacks goes, as written in the Syrian government daily Al-Thawra in 2009. “[All these] agreed with the views of George Bush’s grandfather, which is connected to advice from Benjamin Franklin — who published a book on September 11, 1973 … in which he recommended always acting to expand [American] empire, to plunder the wealth of other countries and to kill the peoples, so that the empire would preserve the power” (Translation by MEMRI).
In another 9/11 conspiracy column in the same newspaper, Hassan Hassan wrote, “Today in the U.S. there are those who present the ‘other version’ [of events] aloud; they include thinkers, scientists and politicians well-known in the U.S. and outside it.”
Also, mental patients and Alex Jones (sorry, that may be redundant).
According to a World Opinion Poll released in 2009, this conspiracy is believed by more than just a few in the Arab world.
The poll found that 30 percent of Egyptian Muslims, 31 percent of Moroccan Muslims, 46 percent of Palestinian Muslims in the West Bank and Gaza, and 48 percent of Jordanian Muslims believed just two years ago that either Israel or the U.S. was behind the 9/11 attacks.
To be fair, polling in closed societies is notoriously difficult and often inaccurate. Let’s hope the number of people in the Arab world who actually believe this is much lower — and certainly not substantially higher.