This article is from the Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Tuesday, November 19, 1996

Antisemites in cyberspace


(October 30) 'Welcome to the Alpha web site. The primary purpose for this site is to provide Aryans world wide with an on-line database of information on issues that concern our people. Everything from general racial issues and religion to survival are covered... "America has been overrun with a non-White invasion, bringing to a spearhead the ever growing White Nationalist movement.... "We at Alpha seek radical change in the present system and the ultimate establishment of a racial homeland for our people."

WELCOME to the Internet, where a computer rookie can access hate networks in mere seconds. This month at the Hebrew University, scholars from around the world discussed modern antisemitism and how technology such as the World Wide Web abets its perpetuation. The conference was titled "Paganism, 'Volk Religion,' and Antisemitism, 19th--20th Centuries." One participant, Dr. Steven Wasserstrom, associate professor of Judaic studies and chair of the religion department at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, spoke of the problem in terms of "Satanic myth."

Many hate groups reject the current world, he said, and create negative images of Jews as world enemies - often as monsters or devils. For instance, a new group in North America, known as Christian Identity, says Eve brought to fruition two seeds. She and Adam gave birth to the race of Abel, but she and the serpent created the race of Cain. Modern Jews descend from Cain, the spawn of Satan, claims Christian Identity, which some experts now regard as the dominant religiously-oriented group of the extreme right in North America.

"Social scientists have had a precious opportunity to observe this Satanic myth grow," Wasserstrom said. "First, observers have been able to watch it evolve in action on the World Wide Web. This new form of research has proved that it can also serve a serious purpose for the history of religions." Wasserstrom is among 20 scholars who dissected the faces of 19th- and 20th-century antisemitism at the conference, , which was jointly sponsored by the HU and the Eberhard-Karls-Universitat Tubingen of Germany. According to Dr. Leon Volovici, of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University, the intent was to foster joint research between the two universities. Scholars of Jewish and German history, philosophy and literature, as well as organizations devoted to Holocaust memorial, were invited.

This is the first time the Vidal Sassoon Center had collaborated with the German university. Wasserstrom's lecture was on "From Ahriman to ZOG: the Jews as Planetary Antagonist in Archetype and Stereotype." ZOG, an acronym for the Zionist Occupation Government, was coined in the mid-1980s.

"ZOG provided a brilliant rhyme on the apocalyptic Gog and Magog, while simultaneously sounding, to the American ear, like some dumb but nonetheless intimidating kind of lumbering beast," Wasserstrom said. ZOG is the latest version of an old conspiracy theory in which Jews are said to run the American government and are blamed for every disaster. It's also evidence of a revival of Nazism and fascism in America and Europe, said Wasserstrom.

He calls the myth of "world-monster Jew" a collectively fabricated weapon in a cultural war. "If they can wipe away journalism, Hollywood, the intellectualism they associate with Jews, they can get back to a pure state," he said of the hate groups' mentality. With the approach of the millennium, many groups are stirring up images of the Antichrist, the world leader they believe must be defeated at the end of civilization. They see the Jew as the Antichrist and modern times as the end of history.

For Nazis, the Jew was and is the classic version of this ultimate enemy, Wasserstrom said, explaining the timeliness of the antisemitism conference in Israel. With a few pecks of their fingertips, leaders of Christian Identity and other hate groups are calling for war on ZOG. Wasserstrom found this cry on the Internet recently: "Volksfront is dedicated to the preservation and advancement of Aryan heritage in North America... The Volksfront would like to dedicate our first page to all the soldiers who are sitting within the walls and cages of ZOG. To all who fight for our righteous cause we salute you!"

Wasserstrom reports that such propaganda flourishes on the Internet. He sees it as dangerous, but doesn't fear it.

"Many people can become far more easily educated in hate propaganda than they ever could before," he admitted. "However, all other points of view also are better represented, so in the end it may be a wash."