The "they are omnipotent, omnipresent" mentality
You cannot understand Muslims' animosity towards the United States and Israel without taking into account the power of conspiracy theories. Neither innocuous nor inconsequential, they constitute a major obstacle to conflict resolution in the Middle East. They provide believers with a key to understanding reality and provide scapegoats for people's own problems.
Such theories are predicated on the alleged “bad faith” of an enemy who is clever, remorseless, merciless, and aiming at nothing less than the “enslavement” or “annihilation” of others. Believers get a “free pass” on their own motives and contributions to problems As the conspirators are, by definition, evil, their victims can do anything and everything to protect themselves People who readily believe in any conspiracy theory that absolves them and demonizes their enemies have no empathy for the "other," and no capacity for self-criticism. Believers in Conspiracies believe in levels of competence of which human institutions or organizations are rarely capable of, leaving nothing to chance. Conspiracy theories work according to the principle of Cui bono (Who benefits)? They leave no room for mistakes or self-destructive behavior of the alleged “victims”. Thus if one party does something that backfires and benefits the other side, conspiracists accuse the side that benefited of having planned it from the start.
The conspiratorial dynamic accelerated after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The Muslim mainstream and left-wing Anti-Semites in the West accused both Israeli intelligence services and the Western fringe with increasing penetration of the mainstream, accused the US administration. Over the past decade, the internet has become the major vehicle for conspiracy theories, a Petri dish for "cooking" theories. Conspiracies that in the past were restricted to specific groups or individuals limited to a local impact now have the potential of reaching millions. The internet collapses the distinction between “fringe” and “mainstream,” both seriously distorting public opinion and framing debate on such issues as the war on terror and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The authors of this study propose to document some of the most widely believed conspiracies both in the western world and in the Muslim world that influence people's attitudes even when they don't necessarily believe them fully. Links are provided to sites or to articles that analyze conspiracy theories and supply a bibliography to those who want a better understanding of why the "hidden hand" mentality is not the best way to capture a complex and fluid reality. The primary goal is to identify and analyze conspiracy theories that emerged after the events of September 11; yet the authors also pay attention to those conspiracies, connected to plots about “Jewish” or “American” world domination, which emerged earlier. Welcome are comments, articles, and suggestions of leads on new schemes by the "hidden hand" that somehow have escaped our "conspiracy radar Welcome to the world of post-Nine- conspiracy.
EXAMPLES OF CONSPIRACY THEORIES:
The attacks of September 11 were orchestrated by Jews (Zionists, Mossad, etc). Jews were told to stay at home, and those that were killed served as a cover to shake off the conspiracy theorists.
Zionists control the US Government
American neo-conservatives are pawns of Israel. Their goal is to advance Israeli interests.
The attacks of September 11 were orchestrated by the US government. There was no "attack" on the Pentagon. Why was it orchestrated? To facilitate the goals of world domination, imperialism. In short, "The New World Order".
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are true. They are the proof of "New World Order" designs.
EXAMPLES OF ANTI-CONSPIRACY ARGUMENTS
- Michael Barkun. 2003. A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America. Berkeley: Univ. of California.
- Daniel Pipes, 1999. Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From, Touchstone.- Daniel Pipes. 1998 The Hidden Hand: Middle East Fears of Conspiracy, Palgrave