Monday, October 27, 2008

Is Blaming the Bankers for the Crisis Like Blaming the Jews?

Ha'aretz carries an important story, one that confirms some of what I feel has been in the air for the last month or so....

A leading German economist said the criticism of bankers about the world financial crisis is similar to Germany's anti-Semitism in the 1930s. Hans-Werner Sinn, president of the Munich-based Ifo economic research institute, told the newspaper Tagesspiegel:
In every crisis, people look for someone to blame, for scapegoats" .... Even in the global economic crisis of 1929, no one wanted to believe in an anonymous system failure. Then it hit Jews in Germany, today it is managers."
Sinn was trying to defend the bankers -- whom I believe actually deserve a big chunk of the responsibility -- by using the Holocaust as a defense. [See my previous post for a different example of trying to get a "free ride" on the back of the Holocaust. This is just as distasteful.]

As the central organization of German Jews pointed out, last time it checked the bankers were not being beaten in the street, placed in camps, or anything else like that. In fact, some of them were getting nice parachutes as they left their firms in shambles.

Ironically, his comments evoked something else in me. Seems to me that for some people "the bankers" is a shorthand for "the Jews" as is use of the term "Wall Street."


Steve said...


Given your absolutely to the point post about scapegoating, I wanted to share something I wrote a couple weeks ago.

I couldn't agree with you more: Fairness is never more important than in those moments when we are most tempted to ignore it.

Prof Steve Gorelick
Hunter College

Epaminondas said...


It's just poisoning the wells, modern style, of course in some places it's more blatant

abravanel said...

Actually some do indeed think that bankers are the Jews ->

(it's in greek but here is a Google Translate: )

Commander Z said...

Jews did 911 and all world wars and depressions.
Oy Vey and have a shot of Mohel wine or is it whine? It has a Heady Boquet. Get it Heady.


I have not picked up on this bankers equals Jews meme you are talking about here, I think you are wrong on this, it is stretching the point. Sometimes people take things too far, even imaging things that were never said.



Epaminondas said...

danny, are you kidding?

1) Lebanese Columnist: The Crisis is a Move Devised by the Jewish Mind and the Zionist Lobby

Lebanese columnist Fuad Matar wrote in the Lebanese daily Al-Liwa and Saudi daily Al-Yawm that the Jews and the global Zionist movement had deliberately instigated the financial crisis in order to prevent Bush from fulfilling his promise to establish a Palestinian state before the end of his presidency.

Matar wrote: "While financial crises are natural, especially in capitalist regimes such as the U.S., the gravity of the [current] crisis, its co-occurrence with the impending end of [Bush's] term in office, and the statements made by [Bush] himself and by his senior aides... who promised that Bush would fulfill his promise before the end of his term as president, and that two coexisting states would emerge [in Palestine] - [all] this compels us to raise the possibility that global Zionism is behind the financial crisis. [Its object is] to prevent President Bush from continuing his efforts to fulfill his promise, especially after he stated - nay, almost swore - before Arab and international leaders that he would not step down before a Palestinian state was established.

"Some might [disagree with me,] saying that Jewish money and the Jewish mind constitute the main nerve of the financial world and of the real estate investment [sector] in the U.S., and that it is therefore hardly likely that Zionism would destroy financial, real estate and investment institutions in which [Zionists] play an active role, whether as shareholders or executives, [merely in order] to embarrass the U.S. president and prevent him from fulfilling his promise to establish a Palestinian state, which... would jeopardize the continued existence of Israel.

"[However,] if the [Palestinian] state is established, it will be entitled to some of the money that has [heretofore] gone directly into Israel's pocket. [Indeed,] a large part of this money would go to Palestine, [both] for the purpose of rebuilding it, and in order to stamp out revolutionary ideas, and any notions the Palestinians might harbor regarding their religious and historical right to Palestine and regarding the right of return.

2) Arab Columnists: The Economic Crisis - A Conspiracy by U.S. Government, American Jews

In recent articles, several Arab columnists wrote that the global economic crisis is the result of a conspiracy by the U.S. government, by American Jews, and/or by the Zionists. They claimed that the conspirators were aiming to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, to seize Arab wealth, and to take over the global economy - all as a means of increasing their influence in the world.

Following are excerpts from the articles:

Egyptian Parliamentary Foreign Liaison Committee Head: Economic Crisis "Part of Global Political Conspiracy"

Egyptian Parliamentary Foreign Liaison Committee head Dr. Mustafa Al-Fiqqi (think Joe Biden here) wrote in the London daily Al-Hayat: "During the summer holidays, I was preoccupied with the global issue of the conspiracy theory. I examined everything that was happening around me in light of this theory, applying historical analysis to gain insight into events and opinions. [I was led to this] after scrutinizing, on a daily basis, the financial crisis that has shaken the American economy, impacting banks and markets, individuals and institutions, salaries and allowances...

"In my opinion, the current economic crisis, which is expected to get worse, is a new

kind of conspiracy. It started in September, only seven years after the first [conspiracy, i.e. the September 11 attacks]. This time, the aim is to take over the property and capital of the Arabs, and to create a new climate of economic plundering in the wake of the political plundering. Such is the Western mentality - it excels at reaping what others have sown and at seizing anything that they have no right [to take]...

"The Bush administration was trained and impelled, by the American conservative right and by Jewish circles, to carry out this mission [in two stages] - at the beginning of [Bush's] first term in office, and at the end of his second term in office. The aim is to achieve two major goals - a global political [goal] in 2001, and a global economic [goal] in 2008. There is no doubt that small nations, poor countries, and areas rich in natural resources - especially oil - are bearing the brunt [of the economic crisis]. I assert that the developments sanctioned by this American administration - which, in my opinion, is the worst in history - is the result of a hidden conspiracy, whose results are now evident and clear to every sensible person...

"There is a close connection between [the events of] September 2001 and [those of] September 2008, which are mutually complementary, in that political influence cannot be achieved without economic control. Accordingly, the current U.S. administration has placed both together in one bag, producing [a single] new phenomenon that has encompassed the entire world and has demonstrated that the end of the political cold war does not [necessarily] mean an end to the economic cold war...

Eric Horne said...

What a ridiculous argument that we aren’t allowed to criticize "Bankers" as we may be being secretly anti-Semitic! What if some of the Bankers happen to be Jewish does that mean they are beyond criticism and therefore allowed to behave without any checks and balances?