Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Why Kanye West spoke of "300 Zionists"

Should I revive this blog? Doing so requires following the news closely -- a depressing prospect. Whenever I read the news, I lapse into a Prussian Blue funk which impacts both my work and my relationships with others. 

Nevertheless, I want to get the following on the record somewhere

A hip-hop website tells us that Kanye West (since I do not like the man, I will not use his currently preferred nomenclature) has latched onto an anti-Semitic myth -- a myth which has been exploded many times yet which refuses to die. Most people don't know how this myth began. 

As it happens, I am writing a book which will devote a chapter to this delusion. 

Here's what Kanye said: 

“Somehow, our country has been taken over by about 300 Zionists.”

For a little more than a century, the number 300 has shown up in far-right discourse. Why? Why that number?

If you immerse yourself in the literature produced by believers in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, you will encounter the allegation that those Elders numbered 300. We are told that the cabal is always kept to that number -- no more, no less. Yet the text of the Protocols does not mention the number 300. That detail came later.

(I trust that my readers need not be reminded that the Protocols are, in fact, a massive hoax.)

To understand how this perception took hold, chronology is important. Though written earlier, the Protocols did not enter the public's consciousness until 1920, when White Russian agents circulated the document widely throughout Europe and the United States.

At the same time, another anti-Semitic "mystification" (to use an old-fashioned term) gained prominence in Germany. This grand lie concerned an important German statesman and business leader named Walther Rathenau. 

In 1911, he wrote an article on modern business. His opening words: 

Three hundred men, who all know each other, hold in their hands the economic fortunes of the continent and seek their successors from their own milieu.
He didn’t say that he approved of this situation. In fact, the point of his article -- which went mostly unread, aside from that endlessly-republished first sentence -- was that the German business world was ill-equipped for the challenges of the modern world. A new capitalism, he argued, required new leaders. 

He did not intend three hundred to be taken as an exact number, as if he had personally counted heads. He didn’t say that a secret cabal had decreed that the number be kept at 300 perpetually.

And he certainly did not say that the three hundred were Jews

Quite the opposite, in fact. He directed his remarks at the old Junker aristocracy -- at the land-owning nobility in Prussia, a class traditionally concerned with farming, not factories. When Rathenau spoke of "three hundred," he was talking about the German equivalent of the folks who run Downtown Abbey. Protestants all. 

The public understood none of this. They did not read the whole article -- just Rathenau's first sentence, which anti-Semites presented as proof of a Jewish conspiracy. After the war, after the publication of the Protocols, many Germans presumed that Rathenau’s 300 and the Elders of Zion were one and the same. 

What made the conspiracy theorists so certain? One simple fact: Rathenau himself was Jewish. In their eyes, he was an insider who had inadvertently let the truth slip out. For the rest of his life -- which was cruelly abbreviated -- they would never let him forget it.

Ironically, Rathenau was irreligious and anti-Zionist. He always identified as a German nationalist, not as a Jew. Time and again, he strove to prove his patriotism. 

Walther Rathenau and his father Emil had, quite literally, electrified the country. The family built up a massive electronics conglomerate called AEG (Allgemeine Elektricit√§ts-Gesellschaft, German Electricity Company), which set up the nation’s AC transmission systems. AEG, like all other major German concerns, would later support the Nazi party.

Walther oversaw the German economy during the First World War, constantly finding ways to route much-needed raw materials around the Allied naval blockade. Without his efforts, the war effort would have collapsed far earlier.

After the war, Rathenau kick-started the Treaty of Rapallo, which renewed trade with Russia, another pariah state. This agreement meant that Germany could buy raw materials for its covert rearmament program, and could even rebuild the German armed forces on Russian soil. In essence, Walther Rathenau had found a secret way to negate the Treaty of Versailles, which all of his countrymen (left and right) detested.

And yet, no matter what he did or why he did it, the German right – especially the paramilitary Freikorps units – portrayed him as a backstabbing manipulator. Time and again, his critics insisted that Walther Rathenau was himself one of the 300 Elders of Zion. 

He had to be. How else would he know the exact number? 

(Such was the "logic" which prevailed at the time.)

Some contended that Rathenau was the secret ruler of Germany, perhaps of all Europe. In beer halls across the country, fascists chanted: “Death to Walther Rathenau, godforsaken Jewish sow!”

Beginning in 1921, an underground terror group called the O.C. (Organisation Consul) assassinated hundreds of Germans considered traitors by the far right. Often, the killers were unidentified. Even when the killers were caught, police officers and judges tended to look the other way. 

On June 24, 1922, two O.C. assassins, Hermann Fischer and Erwin Kern, ambushed Walther Rathenau’s car, spraying him with bullets and even tossing in a grenade.

German opinion finally turned against the O.C. The police soon found and shot the two killers, who were holed up in an ancient castle. The young man who drove the assassins’ car, Ernst Techow, was tried and convicted. At his trial, Techow stated that he truly believed that Rathenau was one of the 300.

To this day, neo-Nazis continue to demonize Walther Rathenau. They never forget. They absolutely will not rest until they rewrite the history books to conform with their hallucinations.

The myth was resurrected in a book by John Coleman called Conspirators' Hierarchy: The Story of the Committee of 300. Following standard protocol for post-war far rightists, Coleman (who claimed to be a former MI6 agent) tried to avoid mention of the J-word. Modern anti-Semitic myth-makers have found that they make greater inroads with the public when they employ euphemisms. Instead of castigating Jews, they will denounce "international bankers" or "Khazarians" or "globalists." Even "aliens."

That's why Coleman's text blathers on about the Tavistock Institute, the Club of Rome and other right-wing scarecrows. Don't be fooled: He's really just repackaging the old "Elders of Zion" mythos.

Even close students of the far right do not know that Coleman was funded by EJ and Doris Ekker, a remarkable couple who will play a major role in my upcoming book. In the late 1980s, when ufology was all the rage, Doris founded a UFO cult based on her putative channeled messages from an alleged starship commander named Hatonn. Within a short time, Hatonn instructed Doris to republish The Protocols and Henry Ford's equally-infamous volume, The International Jew

The Ekkers were devotees of the fascist mystic William Dudley Pelley. When Doris began to channel, her mentor was one of Pelley's close students. Later, the Ekkers formed an association with the anti-Semitic publishing magnate Willis Carto.

The Hatonn volumes were, of course, ignored by academics and journalists. Nevertheless, within the far right underground, these mad texts became surprisingly influential.

In the late 1990s, Doris and EJ saw fit to move to the Philippines, mostly to escape the legal wrath of people who had "lent" large sums to the cult. I have reason to believe -- but as yet, cannot prove definitively -- that, in their new home, the Ekkers linked up with another expatriate American: Jim Watkins.

Yes, the same guy who is now everyone's favorite candidate for Q.  

But that's a tale for another time. My purpose today has been to tell you why Kanye West focused on the number 300. 

Now you know: He has been reading a bunch of neo-Nazi bullshit. Unfortunately, he's not the only one motivated by hate literature. The same can be said of his dinner partner.


Gus said...

Thanks for the lesson Joseph, I wasn't really familiar with the 300. Which is odd, since I am very familiar with the Protocols and was deep into conspiracy stuff back in the early 2000's (still am, though not nearly as deeply now that it's become a great American past time).

I would love for you to keep the blog going, but you have to do what's best for you. You were always a good counterpoint to the conspiracy stuff I was reading back around 2001 - 2014 or so, and I still find your analysis of various topics very informative and interesting reading.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. Even the irregular post is much appreciated!

As usual, informative and filling in the type of gap that I didn’t know about.

In re K West. What a sad character. On his own terms, his business plan makes no sense. How can he expect success when he goes after the people who he thinks control all the money and power?

Also, doesn’t he know that that name is already taken, though spelled differently?

Those interested in food know that ownage has been established by Molly Yeh.

“She lives...on a farm?” “In North Dakota or something?” “It’s pronounced, Yay.”


Though on hold since 2021, her blog is My Name Is Yeh:


And Joseph, I’m looking forward to your next book.

Anonymous said...

Mustn't forget Count Arthur Cherep-Spiridovich's The Secret World Government, or, "The Hidden Hand" (1926). The book is full of references to 300 Judeo-Mongols controlling the world; 63 instances to be exact.


Kanye's been "radicalized" by the Black Hebrew Israelites.

Joseph Cannon said...

Thanks for the link. Been ages since I saw the Count's book. I noted that he plays a large role in Kevin Coogan's posthumously-published work on Mikhail Goliniewski.

I don't think any student of anti-Semitism has quite doped out whether the Germans had a greater impact on the Russians or vice-versa. It is known that they were in close contact, because the White Russians hoped to goad Germany -- or any other western nation -- into an attack on the Bolsheviks.

In this case, I'm pretty certain that Cherep-Spiridovich cribbed this riff from the German commentary arising out of Rathenau's statement.