Have you ever shared a long flight with a guy demanding proof that Theresienstadt was not a research center serving Hitler's quest for the Final Cure for Anorexia Nervosa and other ingestion neuroses of the Mittel-Europaisch Jewish bourgeoisie? No?
Then perhaps you've spent a pleasant hour defending your na've belief that Neil Armstrong's moon walk was not an elaborate hoax, broadcast worldwide from Hollywood by the forces of global Zionism? Well, probably not.
But if you absolutely had to refute such delusions, how would you start to unravel the untruths, half-truths, and plain old fantasies that enrich the lives of those who embrace them? Don't bother ' it's impossible.
Why? Because belief in preposterous conspiracies makes folks feel special. Exploding the 'Big Lie' that other suckers believe in is, you might say, a secularized way of becoming part of that exclusive human community of 'the Elect.'
The Elect have special handshakes distinguishing themselves from those consigned to darkness! The Elect share hidden truths ensuring their special destiny! Some of the Elect get the girls! But best of all, the Elect know who the real Big Liars are.
Getting nervous? You should be, because you know the next line: the real Big Liars are: 'the Jews.' If you poke around the Internet for really first-rate theories of cosmic conspiracy, you will soon enough find that 'the Jews' are behind most of them. Take, for example, one that popped up earlier this spring like a toadstool out of a cowpie.
I speak of the paper on the 'Israel Lobby,' written by Profs. Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer for Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. These experts inform us that one of the things Jews control is the foreign policy of every American government since the rise of the Cold War. This part of their paper is hardly news, since most of it reads like a series of edited downloads from Jew-Watch.com, that venerable Internet unmasker of the Big Lies of the Jews.
But the truly astonishing part of their paper is the claim that the 'Israel Lobby' has engineered the Bush administration's bungled war effort in Iraq. A simple-minded observer could object: on the strength of the rescue of New Orleans, might we not suspect that the Bush administration is quite capable of bungling an invasion without Jewish help?
But simple-minded will not do. If a Big Lie must lie somewhere behind the Iraq debacle, where should the discerning eye of the Elect locate it? Permit me, then, to share an analysis of the Big Lie that explains the Bush administration's pursuit of this latest war. Give me a minute. After all, it's a long Friday afternoon and you have time to linger over the Voice of Jewish Washington before you put up the cholent!
Consider this: we now know that virtually everyone in this administration knew the intelligence on WMDs had been cooked, right? So what possible logic explains the use of precisely that as the pretext for the invasion? Obviously, the WMD explanation was a Big Lie. But what was it designed to hide and whose interests did it intend to serve?
Well, friends, I happen to have in my safe deposit box an Eyes Only document titled 'Operation Lost Rivers of Eden,' an extended, unsigned State Department memo calling for the invasion of Iraq. According to the writer of this memo, the real mission in Iraq is neither to eliminate WMDs, accomplish regime change, nor to create an oil farm for Humvee addicts.
The real reason is nothing less than to excavate and re-irrigate the dried-out wadis in which flowed the primeval waters of the rivers Pishon and Gihon when, at the time of Creation, they joined with the Tigris and the Euphrates in making Eden bloom!
OLRE's author explains precisely why President Bush should take possession of these antediluvian riverbeds. It isn't about a worldly commodity like oil. As the Liberator of the Lost Rivers of Eden, Mr. Bush would finally cash in on the promise of the little chat he had with Jesus when he launched his presidential candidacy.
Fulfilling the Prophet's command to 'prepare in the desert a way for the Lord,' our president will preside over the redemptive Nookular Armageddon of Israel and Persia, hastening the day when the Prince of Peace Himself shall float down the Pishon into Eden to usher in the Rapture at the foot of the Tree of Life.
OLRE is complete with elaborate plans for a media blitz to spin the story properly. It includes, for example, director's notes for an 'informational video.' The American President, in Abrahamic garb (a scribbled note in a third-grader's cursive inserts between the printed lines: 'Git me one o' them Ayrab head-diapers and a fringey Jew jacket!'), rolls up his sleeves ('jes' like in Nawlins!' the same scribbler interjects) and pitches in to construct a fence around the Tree of Life, now abloom with dates. In the background, workers in Halliburton hardhats put the finishing touches on an interfaith chapel while Dick Cheney, slightly to the East of Eden, wields his laser sword, the spitting image of John Belushi as the Samurai chef.
This, my fellow Elect, is the secret agenda explaining the invasion of Iraq. Even now, hidden by the clouds of war, the excavation of the wadis proceeds. Meanwhile, the ignorant masses race, unknowing, toward that Day which is all Night; when the living-waters of the Pishon and the Gihon are freed from the sandy bosom of the Whore of Babylon, and the Day of the Lord dawns bright and clear, as the Book of Revelation's prophecies concerning the unrepentant Jews unfold in real time.
But we, my brothers and sisters, we need not fear, for we will be spared all this by our knowledge of the Truth about this final Big Lie!
Martin Jaffee teaches in both the Comparative Religion and Jewish Studies programs at the University of Washington. When not masquerading as a journalist, he writes on the history of Talmudic literature as well as theoretical problems in the study of religion.