Social media used to spread antisemitic 9/11 theories

Social media has been used to promote antisemitic 9/11 conspiracy theories, a report from the human rights organization the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) noted. The report, entitled “September 11 Conspiracies: 20 Years Later,” which compiles various debunked conspiracy theories regarding the 2001 attacks, highlighted how social media platforms such as Facebook, TikTok and Telegram have been used to disseminate misinformation, especially 9/11 theories tinged with antisemitism.

One discredited theory that was listed is the idea that 4,000 Jewish employees did not go to work at the World Trade Center on September 11 because they had foreknowledge about the attacks and that they exploited the attacks for financial gain. Another is the notion that the attacks were orchestrated by the Israeli government on behalf of the US in order to gain access to Gulf countries’ oil supplies.

Various other theories claim the attacks were planned by Israeli students, the Mossad or former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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The report also described a frequently cited conspiracy theory that Jewish businessman Larry Silverstein, who bought the World Trade Center several months before 9/11, planned the attacks in order to claim insurance benefits.

“These so-called theories are also marketed through a multitude of formats including videos, articles, podcasts, websites, books and t-shirts,” The Simon Wiesenthal Center added.

Second tower of the World Trade Center bursting into flames after being hit by an airplane in New York on September 11, 2001 (credit: STR NEW/REUTERS)

“Just as antisemitism and Jew-hatred have been around for thousands of years, this report highlights the staying power of pernicious and lurid conspiracy theories spawned by fertile imaginations and nurtured by people’s fears,” SWC noted.

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