For more than 200 years, the name "Rothschild" has been synonymous with two things: great wealth, and conspiracy theories about what they're "really doing" with it. Almost from the moment Mayer Amschel Rothschild and his sons emerged from the Jewish ghetto of Frankfurt to revolutionize the banking world, the Rothschild family has been the target of myths, hoaxes, bizarre accusations, and constant, virulent antisemitism. Over the years, they have been blamed for everything from the sinking of the Titanic, to causing the Great Depression, and even creating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jewish Space Lasers: The Rothschilds and 200 Years of Conspiracy Theoriesis a deeply researched dive into the history of the conspiracy industry around the Rothschild family - from the "pamphlet wars" of Paris in the 1840s to the dankest pits of the internet today.
Journalist and conspiracy theory expert Mike Rothschild, who isn't related to the family, sorts out myth from reality to find the truth about these conspiracy theories and their spreaders. Who were the Rothschilds? Who are they today? Do they really own $500 trillion and every central bank, in addition to “controlling the British money supply?” Is any of this actually true? And why, even as their wealth and influence have waned, do they continue to drive conspiracies and hoaxes?
The writer explains that conspiracy theories about the Rothschild family began in 1846 with a bestselling pamphlet filled with lurid claims, such as that Nathan Rothschild—the most prominent son of the family’s patriarch, Mayer—had known how the battle of Waterloo would end. A further accusation claimed that another Rothschild son, James, failed to maintain his railroad out of greed and cheapness, leading to a fatal accident.
“After that, there is a massive industry of Rothschild conspiracy theories, some of which are just invented on the spot, and others utilize tropes like Jews being cheap, Jews being greedy, Jews being clannish, keeping their money to themselves,” he explained.
In a recent interview to The Times, the author also warned that “antisemitism is very easy to couch in euphemisms. When you hear terms like ‘globalists,’ ‘foreign bankers,’ or ‘London financiers,’ that usually has some reference to the Jews.”
With the current rise of antisemitism, this important book looks at how one Jewish family —the Rothschilds—became a lightning rod for the conspiracy theories of the last two centuries, and how those theories are still very much alive today.
The philanthropic Rothschild family enriched the Jewish world as a whole and even bought the land of the Oporto synagogue.