The Anti-Defamation League has been following the numerous conspiracy theories blaming Jews for the Columbia space shuttle disaster that have been floating around the Internet. And it’s not a pretty picture:
The online hate speech, tracked by the ADL on Web sites, chat rooms, bulletin boards and e-mails, includes allegations the US and Israel destroyed the Columbia to divert attention from the Iraq conflict, that Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon was a spy, and that Jews and Israelis were complicit in the shuttle’s downing in order to gain sympathy for Israel.
The extensive report includes examples of hate speech and conspiracy theories posted by Holocaust deniers, far-right-wing mailing list subscribers, terrorist groups, journalists from Arabic-language newspapers in the Mideast and in Europe, and even from journalists in Tokyo!
This stuff is disgusting but, unfortunately, not all that surprising. These nutcases, and the ones circulating conspiracy theories after September 11th, have been around for a long time. The only difference between today and 50 years ago is that the Internet gives them a forum and an audience for their views.