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September 07, 2006 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-09-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

. Five Years Later

ON THE COVER

9-11 Focus:

Where Are

We Now?

T

he terrorist attacks of Sept.
11, 2001, were seminal events
in modern American his-
tory. We can't forget the images of
jetliners crashing into New York City's
World Trade Center, the Pentagon in
Arlington, Va., and a Pennsylvania
field; nor images of survivors In New
York City's financial district running in
panic from smoke, ash and debris.
The 9-11 attacks united a shocked
nation, as prayers and help came
immediately from all quarters. Grief
and anger mingled as we worked
to heal from such brazen terrorist
aggression.
What lessons have we learned? What
progress have we made? Maybe even
five years later, it's too early to tell.
Here we offer personal remembrances,
updates on families coping after loss
and a reality -check that tells us some
things never change when it comes to
placing blame.

The Lie
That
Won't Die

Conspiracy theories
continue to link the
Jews to 9-11.

12

September 7 * 2006

Richard Greenberg

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

New York

T

he terrorist attacks of Sept. 11,
2001, are synonymous with
wanton destruction. But they
also produced an offshoot that seems
virtually indestructible.
In addition to causing massive loss
of life, the attacks spawned a host of
anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that
implicated the Jews and Israel in the
bloodshed.
As it turns out, those canards were not
fleeting expressions of paranoid fantasy
that dissipated once they were debunked.
On the contrary, five years later, the vari-
ous "Jews-did-it" scenarios emanating
from the wreckage of the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon have proven
stubbornly resilient.
"If anything, they're flourishing," says

Chip Berlet, senior analyst at Political
Research Associates, a liberal think tank
based in Somerville, Mass.
"The idea that Jews were somehow
involved in 9-11 has now become a
permanent feature in the conspiracy
pantheon, like the JFK assassination and
the Oklahoma City bombing," says Mark
Pitcavage, director of fact-finding for the
Anti-Defamation League.
The phenomenon might seem baffling,
if not disturbing, but its practical impact
is unclear.
The Internet is the chief incubator and
disseminator of apocryphal 9-11 story
lines, and cyberspace remains awash
with chatter purporting to link the Jews
with America's worst terrorist attacks,
according to Pitcavage.
But the same message, he added, is
being spread through books, pamphlets,
videos and speakers.
The purveyors are an eclectic aggrega-
tion that spans the geopolitical spec-

trum. They include neo-Nazis and other
white supremacists in the United States
and elsewhere; anti-government zeal-
ots; young anti-war activists; Holocaust
deniers; Lyndon Larouche supporters;
New-Age ideologues; propagandists
and journalists within the Arab and
Muslim world; and assorted devotees
of the early-20th-century forgery, The
Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which
purports to document a Jewish plan to
dominate the world.
Efforts to connect the Jews with 9-11,
however, are not limited to fringe groups
talking with one another.
Contributors to Wikipedia, the popular
and influential online encyclopedia, have
tried repeatedly to insert anti-Jewish
9-11 theories into Wikipedia's pages
and represent them as fact or at least
plausible versions of reality, according to
Berlet. They have been promptly excised
by volunteer editors.

The Lie on page 14

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