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January 21, 2014 8:08 am

Do ‘Sophisticated’ Brits at the Economist Believe Jews Control Washington?

avatar by Adam Levick

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The Economist’s goal is to take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress.” (Economist mission statement)

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the czarist forgery purporting to reveal a Jewish conspiracy to control the world, may not, argued Andrew Baker of the American Jewish Committee, “be acceptable dinner conversation any more”.  However, he added, “repackage the sentiment as criticism of Israel, and say that the Jewish lobby controls U.S. foreign policy against ‘true’ American interests, and voilà, you are no longer dabbling in nasty old tropes about sinister Jewish power, but in bold political analysis.” 

As we’ve documented previously at this blog, the argument that the power, money and influence of Jewish or pro-Israel groups undermine peace in the Middle East (or even erodes US democracy) is something akin to conventional wisdom within a segment of the British and European Left.

Political cartoons represent an efficient way to transmit such prejudices, and often have a more immediate impact in reinforcing negative stereotypes about Jews than lengthy essays.  And, though the largest output of antisemitic cartoons nowadays come from the Arab and Muslim world, antisemitic motifs advancing canards about Jewish power also appear in Western, putatively liberal, publications.

Interestingly, the Economist article in question (A big gap to close, Jan 18), which provides analysis on the “joint plan of action” negotiated recently between Iran and six world powers “to temporarily freeze Iran’s nuclear programme” doesn’t use the words “Jew”, “lobby”, or “AIPAC”, and the only allusion to the Peter Schrank cartoon editors chose to use in the article can be found in the text we highlighted in the opening passages:

AFTER several weeks of unexpectedly hard and often tetchy bargaining, six world powers and Iran reached an agreement on January 12th that sets out the details of a “joint plan of action” (JPA) to freeze Iran’s nuclear programme for six months. The implementation of the JPA, originally negotiated in November, will begin on January 20th…

However, the clock is now ticking on efforts to achieve a comprehensive long-term pact. Even supporters of the interim deal rate the chances of success as low.

Though hailed as an historic breakthrough by some and a terrible blunder by others (notably Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister), the November deal may be best seen as a six-month truce to buy time. Gary Samore, who was Barack Obama’s adviser on arms control until last year and is now at Harvard’s Belfer Centre, points out that neither side has given away any of its big bargaining chips. Most actions being taken are reversible; the trickiest issues have been kicked down the road.

Their reference to the Israeli prime minister takes on relevance further in the piece:

A series of extensions will happen only if those hostile to the interim deal on both sides hold their fire. Yet support has grown in Congress for legislation to bring in new sanctions against Iran. With support in the Senate getting close to the 67 votes needed to override a presidential veto (which would otherwise be exercised), they remain distinctly possible, though the White House doubts that Democratic senators would go so far while an accord was still in place. Mr Samore reckons that Congress, having a version of the “Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act” ready as a threat, might put useful extra pressure on Iran. But were the sanctions now to become law, “it would just kill the interim agreement”.

Schrank’s cartoon then is arguably designed to illustrate the forces – on both the US and Iranian sides – who are conspiring to “kill the interim agreement’.


Schrank, a cartoonist with The Independent and Economist, by use of the Star of David on the left, is suggesting that Israel, the pro-Israel lobby, or Jews are controlling Congress and working against a peace agreement between the U.S. and Iran – echoing a disturbing, if familiar, tradition of antisemitic imagery:

Cartoonist, Zapiro, (South African) Mail & Guardian, Nov. 2012 Cartoonist: Zapiro. (South African) Mail & Guardian, Nov. 2012.Muslim Observer, Oct. 27 Cartoonist: Muslim Observer. jewlobby_carsale Cartoonist: Bendib. Posted at website of David Duke. Cartoonist: Carlos Latuff.
salami20121222174716670 Used to illustrate article at PressTV: Dec. 23, 2012.Ad-Dustur, January 30, 2012  Headline: "Obama emphasizes  ironclad commitment to Israel's  security". Written on the iron  ball: "Zionist Lobby in America".  Ad-Dustur (Jordan), January 30, 2012.
Headline: “Obama emphasizes
ironclad commitment to Israel’s
security”. Written on the iron
ball: “Zionist Lobby in America”.Ar-Rai, January 14, 2012  The American is holding a  document titled: Ar-Rai (Jordan), January 14, 2012.
The American is holding a
document titled: “Israeli terror.”
On the iron ball: “The Zionist
Lobby.”arab cartoon 3 Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), March 7, 2012.
Headline: “Netanyahu in the

Whilst Schrank’s imagery may not be as explicit as the other examples we’ve cited, all (to varying degrees) convey to readers the unmistakable message that Jewish elements are dictating and shaping American foreign policy for their own malevolent ends.  Such a world view echoes well-established Judeophobic calumnies, and we would hope that evoking such crude stereotypes would be considered a liability by any serious mainstream media outlet – especially one which fancies itself a sophisticated, enlightened force battling the “timid ignorance” which “obstructs our progress”.

Regardless of the Economist’s intent, it’s difficult not to be dispirited by the fact that less than 70 years after the Holocaust, with Jews representing less than 2% of the U.S. population, tropes and graphic representations warning that Jewish ‘pressure groups’ are too powerful are once again becoming fashionable amongst the opinion elite – the herd of ‘independent minds’ who carelessly reinforce the idea, without being haunted by its lethal history, that Jews control Washington.

    Adam Levick is the managing editor of CiF Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

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  • NewJewHater

    That the Jew controls Washington, as well as most other significant American institutions, is old news. What is new, however, is the increasing amount of Americans and world citizens who have discovered this alarming fact. The internet is like a series of synapses within a developing brain and each internet user who learns the truth about the aggressive duplicitous ethnocentric Jew is like a neurotransmitter facilitating knowledge. Soon the lesson will be entrenched and all will know the truth.

  • TJ Atwood

    Methinks thou doest protest too much.

    • SK

      Methinks thou turnest a blind eye!

    • Ron Blower

      Actually, you mean “protest” AT ALL, don’t you?

  • Eric R

    The problem is not that Jews control America.

    The problem is that the Jew haters control Europe.

  • BH in Iowa

    Either the “Sophisticated” Brits at the Economist sincerely believe Jews control Washington, or someone else is pulling their strings….. and it’s certainly not us.

  • Esther Sarah Evans

    So off-centre – I can’t believe the Iranians haven’t caught it. Obama’s strings are pulled by extremist Muslim terrorist bosses (the same ones behind the thirty-some terrorist training camps there), and the bit of Jew tolerance over there is just part of the warming up the frogs in the water, ’til it’s boiling hot treatment, which keeps the lid on the pot there and even in the Near- and Middle East where we all should know better already. I’ve tried to drive this home several times, but it’s like the cries of people who escaped from the death camps during the Shoah. Nobody wants to hear, let alone believe. Jewish Americans here and there are so brain-washed on the US being “good”, that they don’t see what’s unfolding in front of their very eyes. A little bit of secular history might have helped, but I wouldn’t bet on that. There must be something written in the Torah about the duty to inform oneself and not to put on blinkers and remain ignorant, when it is a case of Pekuach Nefesh, as any history student would say.
    In any case, I am saying it now. That the British are blind to all this results from their being taken over at a faster rate by Muslims, many of whom are from the extremist ilk also. There will be very few there with the sense and the ability to jump out now, when it is almost too late.

  • Stephen Green

    I am English and I am ashamed of the ignorance of a generation who believe everything the the gutter press and downright biased Anti-Semetic T.V broadcast daily. You see today the result of an education system which has let the masses down and has led to an uneducated generation as far as History, Political, Geography and World Affairs is concerned. The Government of this once great nation has not helped either with its mixed messages towards Israel and it’s people. We had a bunch of airheads who think they know but actually know nothing and show it in their ignorance regarding the Middle East and the Nation of Israel. Look what this country did after the war, we actually for a time fought against Israel in its war in 1948-1950. Anti-Semetic yes I have to agree that those at the top are and it filters down to the bottom where it becomes part of everyday life.
    I and my family love the Jewish nation and support Israel in any way we can purposely buying anything that has been imported from that God blessed nation.
    We also share the truth regarding the nation of Israel.
    Shalom we love you.

  • Ross Yerkes

    Read Deuteronomy 28:15-68 and here we are !

  • Mike

    Adam…I blog on Solar Plexus which is devoted to defending Israel against everything from vile misrepresentation and lies to plain misunderstanding or ignorance. Cartoonists are chronic offenders since of course the job (and power) of cartoons is to reduce complex reality to a simple moral equation. I’m sure Israeli cartoonists regularly offend Muslims and Arabs. Is there a red line? If so it is a broad one ranging from subtle and sometimes clever suggestion all the way to vicious stereotyping. We will have to learn to laugh off the former and expose the latter. But it is important to alert readers to the power and distorting effects of cartoons – and other audio-visual material.

  • E Pluribus Wombat

    Why do we care how THEY parse their antisemitism?

    • Sonia Willats

      Because lies are designed to trip up the Truth and SUGGESTED LIES are more subtle and poisonous. Zapiro should be ashamed of himself – I guess he is Jewish himself?

  • Eric R.

    Look, the Europeans are incorrigible Jew-haters and are proud of it. It is time for Jews to write them off as the morally depraved, revulsive scum that they are.

    For all the jokes about Jews and their love of things Chinese, the fact (and good thing) is that the Nazi racist scum of Europe are on the decline and the East and South Asian cultures of China, Japan, Korea and India are on the rise. Hindus and Buddhists do not have the Jew-hatred in their genese and in their mother’s milk that the Europeans do.

    Israel must eventually break any and all ties that bind (economic, cultural and tourist) with the vile Europeans. They are largely hopeless Nazi bigots, and evil beyond redemption.

    • If you leave the Nazi or proto-Racist to him or herself then like any contagion it will spread – perhaps metastasize throughout the body politic and the nation – thus fatally corrupting the entire organism of the state it has infected. Israel could lose the Americas as well – because the contagion has already taken root in their university system and amongst Afro-Americans for whom Jews are seen as a ‘white’ but easy target. So NO abandonment is not an option unless one believes in suicide.