Utne Blogs > Politics

Anti-Semitism and the Financial Crisis

Finger PointingA full quarter of Americans are blaming "the Jews" for the financial crisis. That's according to a recent Stanford University study where researchers were explicit in their questioning: “How much to blame were the Jews for the financial crisis?” Possible answers: a great deal, a lot, a moderate amount, a little, not at all.

Neil Malhotra and Yotam Margalit, who conducted the study, wrote about their findings in the Boston Review and placed them in the appropriate (and ominous) historical context:

The findings presented here are troubling. This is not the first instance of an economic downturn sparking anti-Semitic sentiments. Financial scandals are widely regarded as contributors to the rise of anti-Semitism in European history. Famously, the Panama Scandal—often described as the biggest case of monetary corruption of the nineteenth century—led to the downfall of Clemenceau’s government in France and involved bribes to many cabinet members and hundreds of parliament members. Nonetheless, the public’s fury centered on two Jewish men who were in charge of distributing corporate bribe money to the politicians. In her classic The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt described the Panama Scandal as a key event in the development of French anti-Semitism. The Stavisky Affair, in which the Jewish financier Alexandre Stavisky embezzled millions of francs through fraudulent municipal bonds, broke out 40 years later and had a similar effect of nourishing the accusation that the Jews were behind the corruption in financial dealings.

Source: Boston Review 

Image by purpleslog. Licensed under  Creative Commons. 

roger o
6/13/2009 2:08:00 AM

The current financial crisis is generally blamed on feckless bankers, financial deregulation, crony capitalism and the like. While all of these elements may be true, this purely financial explanation of the crisis overlooks its fundamental reasons.The global financial crisis could said to have started in late 2007, or in early 2008 when manufacturing slowed and the first signs of trouble began to emerge. It could also be said that it became a global financial crisis the second any foreign banks started to look as though they weren't doing stable business and didn't have a lot of financial stability, and needed a cash advance from central governments. The key to progress from now on is going to have to be how to avoid extreme boom and bust cycles, and practice fiscal responsibility on the global scale like we would with personal finance issues, so no huge payday loans are needed in the next global financial crisis. http://personalmoneystore.com/Payday-Loans/


roger o
6/13/2009 2:07:24 AM

The current financial crisis is generally blamed on feckless bankers, financial deregulation, crony capitalism and the like. While all of these elements may be true, this purely financial explanation of the crisis overlooks its fundamental reasons.The global financial crisis could said to have started in late 2007, or in early 2008 when manufacturing slowed and the first signs of trouble began to emerge. It could also be said that it became a global financial crisis the second any foreign banks started to look as though they weren't doing stable business and didn't have a lot of financial stability, and needed a cash advance from central governments. The key to progress from now on is going to have to be how to avoid extreme boom and bust cycles, and practice fiscal responsibility on the global scale like we would with personal finance issues, so no huge payday loans are needed in the next global financial crisis. http://personalmoneystore.com/Payday-Loans/


patricia schwarz
5/26/2009 5:18:58 AM

How do you want the result not to show antisemitism when the question clearly asks how much Jews are to be blamed???? This makes no sense and upsets me because it furthers the feeling of injustice. Injustice leads to resentment and resentment leads to nothing positive. Why are we looking for people to blame and victims in this crisis instead of looking for heroes? Let's look for people who make a positive impact in the world.