The Myth of a Jewish World Conspiracy

  • Gisela C. Lebzelter
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series (STANTS)


The theme which figures most prominently in anti-Semitic propaganda is the persistent myth of a world-wide Jewish conspiracy. Even if individual Jews identified wholeheartedly with their respective countries of residence, anti-Semites argued, ultimately they constituted states within the states, chains of an international unit held together by a double bond of religion and blood.1 In England, this argument was extensively exploited in the debates on immigration and the Aliens Bill of 1905. In the parliamentary debate of 10 July 1905, A. J. Balfour for example, observed that

a state of things could easily be imagined in which it would not be to the advantage of the civilization of the country that there should be an immense body of persons who, however patriotic, able, and industrious, however much they threw themselves into the national life, still, by their own action, remained a people apart, and not merely held a religion differing from the vast majority of their fellow-countrymen, but only inter-married among themselves.2


Eager Reception Russian Revolution Jewish Question Hide Hand Jewish Vote 
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  1. 1.
    The concept of a ‘state within the state’ was brought up against Huguenots in France around 1600 and transferred to Jesuits, Freemasons and Jews in the 18th century. The latter became a target when the question of Jewish identity and loyalty was raised in the context of Jewish emancipation. For a history of the slogan see J. Katz, ‘A State Within A State’, repr., in J. Katz, Emancipation and Assimilation (Westmead, 1972) pp. 47–76.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    For precursors and a history of the Protocols see N. Cohn, Warrant for Genocide (London, 1967)Google Scholar
  3. J. Gwyer, Portraits of Mean Men: A Short History of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (London, 1938)Google Scholar
  4. L. Wolf, The Jewish Bogey and the Forged Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (London, 1920).Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    A. White, The Hidden Hand (London, 1917).Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    CAB 24/78: Political Intelligence Department Foreign Office, The Aims and Strategy of Bolshevism (Russia/023), 12 April 1919. Cf. R. H. Ullman, Intervention and the War (Princeton, 1961) and Britain and the Russian Civil War (Princeton, 1968).Google Scholar
  7. 15.
    G. Pitt-Rivers, The World Significance of the Russian Revolution (Oxford, 1920) p. 29.Google Scholar
  8. C. Abramsky, War, Revolution and the Jewish Dilemma (London, 1975).Google Scholar
  9. 25.
    L. J. Maxse, ‘The Key to the Mystery’, National Review XXXII (October 1898) pp. 277, 283. For his uncompromising attitude he was complimented upon as an ‘able champion for the persecuted’ in private letters of approval. MS 446.790, 293, 514, 797, 863 (Maxse Papers).Google Scholar
  10. 26.
    L. J. Maxse, ‘The Second Treaty of Versailles’, National Review, LXXIII (August 1919) p. 819. Similarly ibid. (May 1919) pp. 365–6.Google Scholar
  11. 29.
    MS WHI 112 (White Papers): A. White, ‘The Jews in India’ (n.d.). Similarly Lord Winterton, Orders of the Day: Memoirs of Fifty Years in the House of Commons (London, 1953) p. 112.Google Scholar
  12. 31.
    According to I. Sieff, Memoirs (London, 1970) p. 105, the Protocols were better known than the Balfour declaration among officers in the Middle East.Google Scholar
  13. Cf. also C. Weizmann, Trial and Error, 1 (Philadelphia, 1949) p. 218.Google Scholar
  14. 48.
    Anon., The Cause of the World Unrest (London, 1920) pp. 251–2. The notion of a ‘formidable sect’ was a familiar catchword at the time, used by Churchill in the parliamentary debate on 6 November 1919 to describe Lenin’s international allies.Google Scholar
  15. 49.
    The Times 8 May 1920. W. Laqueur, ‘The Hidden Hand —A British contribution’, appendix to W. Laqueur, Russia and Germany (London, 1965) pp. 311–14, attributes this article to Robert Wilton, The Times correspondent in Russia, who vigorously opposed democratic and revolutionary movements. Wilton’s sister was married to one General Fanshawe, grandfather of M. Raslovleff, who passed Joly’s Dialogues to P. Graves.Google Scholar
  16. 50.
    L. Wolf, The Jewish Bogey, repr. The Myth of the Jewish Menace in World Affairs (New York, 1921).Google Scholar
  17. 56.
    Lord Alfred Douglas, Complete Poems (London, 1928) p. 131.Google Scholar
  18. 58.
    The Times 27 October 1924. The Board of Deputies approached Curzon supplying detailed information on the inaccuracy of his statement, but Curzon died before a reply was received. Board of Deputies, Annual Report 1925 (London, 1926) pp. 32–4.Google Scholar
  19. 59.
    Board of Deputies, Annual Report 1926 (London, 1927) p. 40.Google Scholar

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© Gisela C. Lebzelter 1978

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  • Gisela C. Lebzelter

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