Antisemitic myths are deeply-rooted and endure from one century to the next, causing verbal abuse and outright violence.
This came to mind in the wake of comments made recently by Trayon White, a member of City Council in Washington, D.C. In an inane video he posted on Facebook, he aligned himself to a well-worn conspiracy theory to explain what is going on in the world.
Claiming that the famous Rothschild banking family lurks menacingly behind plots to manipulate the U.S. government for its own nefarious ends, White — an African American — went on to add that the Rothschilds were also to blame for a snowstorm that blanketed the nation’s capital.
“You better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation,” he said, launching into an ungrammatical and nearly incoherent rant that exposed his lack of education. Speaking in patois, he added, “And D.C. keep talking about, ‘We a resilient city.’ And that’s a model based of the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful.”
Conspiracy theories about the Rothschilds have abounded since the mid-19th century, but White’s claim that they manipulate weather patterns to suit their selfish needs is something entirely new and, really, surprising.
For good reason, White’s asinine assertion went viral and elicited a wave of condemnation, prompting him to issue an apology.
Admitting his remarks were based on misinformation, White acknowledged he had no idea they were antisemitic. “I have hurt and disappointed many, including myself, my Council colleagues, constituents and countless members of the Jewish community here and abroad,” he wrote in a contrite letter. “In all honesty, if I were of Jewish descent, I would also feel disrespected and offended by such comments.”
And in addressing his most absurd accusation, he wrote, “Honestly, I do not at all believe the Jewish community controls the weather.”
What a relief!
It goes without saying that neither the Rothschilds nor their Jewish compatriots around the world exert influence on the weather. If I possessed this awesome power, I would wave a magic wand and banish one of the banes of my life — the long Canadian winter, which all too often keeps me housebound.
Say what you will about White, but at least he faced up to his ignorance. Previous conspiracy theorists who’ve excoriated the Rothschilds have had absolutely no regrets.
The Rothschild dynasty, founded by patriarch Mayer Amschel in a German ghetto, flourished in the 19th century. After he bequeathed his fortune to his five sons, they established branches in Frankfurt, London, Paris, Vienna and Milan.
Nathan, the son who settled in London, was the subject of the first Rothjschild conspiracy theory. He was falsely accused of making a killing on the London stock market after obtaining exclusive information about Napoleon’s defeat at the battle of Waterloo in 1815. In all probability, his jealous Christian rivals spread this malicious lie.
In 1940, the Nazi regime in Germany released an antisemitic feature film demonizing the Rothschilds. Produced under the auspices of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, Die Rothschilds Aktien auk Waterloo (The Rothschild, Shares in Waterloo) was directed by Erich Waschneck, and was part of a trilogy of antisemitic movies distributed in that year.
The pivotal figure in the film, Nathan, is portrayed as a dandy who grows his wealth by means of ruthless maneuvering and with the assistance of cunning Jewish associates. His unethical behavior plunges the stock market into chaos, ruins his honest competitors and earns him a handsome profit. In the last frame of the film, a gleaming Star of Davis is superimposed upon a map of Britain. The message is clear: the Rothschilds have triumphed. The storyline is consistent with the Nazi narrative that Jews are inveterate manipulators.
Since then, antisemitic agitators and organizations have seized upon this theme to defame the Rothschilds in particular and Jews in general. One can safely assume that we have not heard the last of this recurring myth, White’s apology notwithstanding.