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His Anti-Semitic Sources

On March 4 and March 5, 1995, Reverend Marion Gordon “Pat” Robertson sent separate letters to The New York Times defending his 1991 book, The New World Order, against charges of anti-Semitism. In both statements, Robertson placed particular emphasis on his book’s scholarship. In his March 4 statement, Robertson wrote: “The book ‘The New World Order,’ was carefully researched and contains seven single-spaced pages of bibliography from original historical sources.” On March 5, Robertson said:

There is nothing new about the observation that there is a connection between the world of high finance and the United States foreign policy establishment. In my book, I rely heavily on the pioneering work of Carroll Quigley, Bill Clinton’s professor and mentor at Georgetown. Mr. Quigley argued in “Tragedy and Hope” (1966) that “energetic left-wingers” exercised influence over United States foreign policy that was “ultimately the power of the international financial coterie.”

Robertson and his defenders are using Quigley as a smoke screen to divert attention from the much nastier works he also relies on. Two of them—World Revolution: The Plot Against Civilization and Secret Societies and Subversive Movements—are by Nesta H. Webster, an English historian of the 1920s who wrote several books on the French Revolution. The third, Secrets of the Federal Reserve: The London Connection, is by the American conservative writer Eustace Mullins.1 They supply the basis for Robertson’s three-tiered argument that 1) a group he calls the Bavarian Illuminati merged with European Jewish bankers to 2) finance the Bolshevik revolution and create the Federal Reserve system and 3) form, among other coteries, the Council on Foreign Relations. Robertson cites both books by Webster in his own book but does not allude to them in his letters to the Times. A look at them suggests why.

Webster’s World Revolution and Secret Societies both portray Jews as sinister, conspiratorial forces. Secret Societies includes chapter titles such as “The Jewish Cabalists” and “The Real Jewish Peril.” The appendix consists of “Jewish Evidence on the Talmud” and “The ‘Protocols’ of the Elders of Zion.”2

Both books are devoted to exposing a powerful conspiracy that began in the eighteenth century with the Bavarian occult group called the Illuminati and continued through the Bolshevik revolution. According to Webster, the Illuminati were founded by the Bavarian professor of canon law Adam Weishaupt in 1776. Both Webster and Robertson see Weishaupt as Satan’s apprentice. Webster states that Weishaupt was

indoctrinated into Egyptian occultism by a certain merchant of unknown origin from Jutland, named Kölmer, who was travelling about Europe during the year 1771 in search of adepts. Weishaupt…spent no less than five years thinking out a plan by which all these ideas could be reduced to a system…3

Robertson echoes Webster:

Weishaupt had been indoctrinated into Egyptian occultism in 1771 by a merchant of unknown origin named Kolmer, who had been seeking European converts. It was said that for five years Weishaupt formulated a plan by which all occultic systems could be reduced to a single powerful organization.

Webster writes that “I do not so far see in Illuminism a Jewish conspiracy to destroy Christianity, but rather a movement finding its principal dynamic force in the ancient spirit of revolt against the existing social and moral order, aided and abetted perhaps by Jews who saw in it a system that might be turned to their advantage.”4 But Weishaupt himself, she writes, may well have been a dupe of the Jews. According to Webster, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, who admired Moses Mendelssohn, may have infected Weishaupt with Mendelssohn’s ideas:

It will be objected that the patriarchal system as conceived by orthodox Jews could by no means include the religion of Reason as advocated by Weishaupt. It must not, however, be forgotten that to the Jewish mind the human race presents a dual aspect, being divided into two distinct categories—the privileged race to whom the promises of God were made, and the great mass of humanity which remain outside the pale.”5

By 1782 Illuminism, says Webster, was covertly taking over German Freemasonry: “It was not until the Congrès de Wilhelmsbad that the alliance between Illuminism and Free-masonry was sealed.”6 Robertson follows this account faithfully:

Weishaupt chose as his vehicle for infiltration and takeover the established Continental Order of Freemasons…. In 1782, Weishaupt succeeded at the international convention of Freemasons held in Wilhelmsbad, Germany, with his planned infiltration of the Continental Masonic Order and the creation of what he termed “Illuminated Freemasonry.”

He continues:

That same year, 1782, the headquarters of Illuminated Freemasonry moved to Frankfurt, a center controlled by the Rothschild family. It is reported that in Frankfurt, Jews for the first time were admitted to the order of Freemasons…

New money suddenly poured into the Frankfurt lodge, and from there a well-funded plan for world revolution was carried forth. During a Masonic congress in 1786, the deaths of both Louis XVI and Gustavus III of Sweden were decreed.

When Robertson writes that “it is reported,” the report comes from Nesta Webster. He clearly has based this passage on her text, while dropping its most odious references to Jews. After noting that “the years of 1781 and 1782 were remarkable for the growth of another movement which found expression at the Congrès de Wilhelmsbad, namely, the emancipation of the Jews,” Webster concludes:

A more immediate effect, however, was the resolution taken at the masonic congress of Wilhelmsbad—which was attended by Lessing and a company of Jews—that henceforth Jews should no longer be excluded from the lodges. At the same time it was decided to remove the headquarters of illuminized Freemasonry to Frankfurt, which incidentally was the stronghold of Jewish finance, controlled at this date by such leading members of the race as Rothschild, Mayer Amschel—later to become Rothschild also—Oppenheimer, Wertheimer, Schuster, Speyer, Stern, and others. At this head lodge of Frankfurt the gigantic plan of world revolution was carried forward, and it was there that at a large masonic congress in 1786 two French Freemasons afterwards declared the deaths of Louis XVI and Gustavus III of Sweden were definitely decreed.7

According to Webster, “Either Freemasonry is the cover under which the Jews, like the Illuminati, prefer to work, so that where cover is not available they are obliged to come out more into the open, or that Grand Orient Masonry is the directing power which employs Jews as agents in those countries where it cannot work on its own account.” 8 In her view,

Two years before the suppression of Illuminism in Bavaria its adepts had begun their work in France. The “magician” Cagliostro, generally reputed to be a Jew from Sicily, had been enrolled as an Illuminatus in Germany…. At the lodge of the “Amis Réunis,” where the members of the masonic lodges from all over France congregated, the mysteries of Illuminism were unveiled…and the code of Weishaupt was formally placed on the table….

In the following month the Revolution broke out.9

Robertson takes over this argument in a simplified form:

[Weishaupt’s] conspiracy was sufficiently successful from that point on to use French Freemasonry as a vehicle for placing members of the French Illuminati into key governmental positions. Once installed, these members set about to undermine the Bourbon dynasty of France and to prepare the way for the French revolution.

For Webster one of the chief evils of the French Revolution was the emancipation of the Jews: “Without going so far as M. Drumont in saying that the Revolution delivered the people from the aristocrats in order to hand them over to the Jews, it cannot be denied that the power of the Jews over the people was immensely increased by the overthrow of the monarchy and aristocracy.”10 The man who carried forward this project was Karl Marx. Webster sees Marx as cobbling together Weishauptian beliefs with other Utopian schemes:

Can we not see him, like some veteran Jewish rag-and-bone merchant, going over the accumulated débris of past social schemes, passing through his fingers the dry bones of dead philosophies, the shreds and tatters of worn-out doctrines, the dust and ashes of exploded theories, and with the practical cunning of the German and the Hebrew brain shrewdly recognizing the use that might be made of all this lumber by skilfully welding it into one subversive whole?11

Robertson, for his part, argues that “the Illuminist streams clearly flowed in Marxist communism in the 1840s” and that there is a “link between the communists, the French Revolution, and the Illuminati….” This argument again reflects Webster’s:

So just as the Jacobin Club had openly executed the hidden plan of the Illuminati, the Internationale, holding within it the same terrible secrets, carried on the work of World Revolution in the full light of day.12

And again:

Internationalism as devised by Weishaupt, interpreted by Clootz, and carried out by Marx and Engels, and in our own day by the agent of Germany, Nicholas [sic] Lenin, has served two causes only—German Imperialism and Jewish Intrigue.13

Robertson relies on Webster for his analysis both of the Bolshevik revolution and its consequences. He uses her to support his contention that “until we understand this commonality of interest between left-wing Bolsheviks and right-wing monopolistic capitalists, we cannot fully comprehend the last seventy years of world history…” Robertson then writes that “British author Nesta Webster researched and wrote extensively on subversive movements. She described a group in Switzerland claiming direct descent from the founder of the Illuminati, Adam Weishaupt. She says,” Robertson continues, quoting Webster, that

the same secret ring of Illuminati is believed to have been intimately connected with the organization of the Bolshevist revolution…None of the leading Bolsheviks are said to have been members of the innermost circle, which is understood to consist of men belonging to the highest intellectual and financial classes, whose names remain absolutely unknown. Outside this absolutely secret ring there existed, however, a semi-secret circle of high initiates of subversive societies drawn from all over the world and belonging to various nationalities.

Robertson does not refer to the paragraph preceding the one he quotes, in which Webster observes,

This alliance between the two extremes of ardent Monarchism and revolutionary Socialism existed at the beginning of the war or even earlier, and, as is now well known, it was the Jewish Social Democrat, Israel Lazarewitch, alias Helphandt alias Parvus, who arranged with the German General Staff for the passage of Lenin from Switzerland to Russia, accompanied by Karl Radek, the Austrian Jew deserter, and a number of other Jews.14

It is at the conclusion of this chapter that Webster declares, “There is another power at work, a power far older, that seeks to destroy all national spirit, all ordered government in every country, Germany included. What is this power? A large body of opinion replies: the Jewish power.”15

Webster finds that an alliance existed between international Jewish financiers, the Bolsheviks, and Germany.16 “The Jewish agitator is the tsetse fly carrying the poison germ of Bolshevism from the breeding-ground of Germany.”17 She examines the Protocols of the Elders of Zion for clues to the Jewish-Masonic conspiracy. “If, then, the Protocols are genuine,” writes Webster, “they are the revised programme of illuminized Freemasonry formulated by a Jewish lodge of the Order18 [emphasis in original].

Robertson clearly relies on Webster to furnish him with an explanation why Jewish financiers, left-wing revolutionaries, and conservative governments would make common cause. But to complete his conspiracy theory he turns to the American Eustace Mullins to explain the pact between Jewish Bankers and the Federal Reserve. Like Webster, Mullins leaves little to the imagination. The cover of his book reproduces the outline of the Rothschilds’ eagle, whose talons hold five golden arrows to represent the five sons of Mayer Rothschild, who operated banking houses in Frankfurt, London, Paris, Vienna, and Naples. Robertson quotes Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope to support his theory of a bankers’ conspiracy. But Mullins’s book provides a basic source for Robertson’s claims. A publisher’s note in the book states that it was originally commissioned by Ezra Pound in 1949 and published in 1952, and that it contained the “first nationally-circulated revelation of the secret meetings of the international bankers at Jekyll Island, Georgia, 1907–1910, at which place the draft of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was written.” In his foreword, Mullins also informs us that his book was banned and burned in West Germany in 1955.

Mullins traces the conspiracy to create a Federal Reserve system to the German Jew Paul Warburg after he became an American citizen. In 1910 at a meeting at Jekyll Island with Senator Nelson Aldrich and other government officials and various Wall Street financiers, Warburg is said by both Mullins and Robertson to have imposed a Federal Reserve system on the United States: “Warburg’s thick alien accent grated on them,” writes Mullins, “and constantly reminded them that they had to accept his presence if a central bank plan was to be devised which would guarantee them their future profits.”19 Mullins relies on Lyndon H. LaRouche’s Dope, Inc. to trace back to the nineteenth century the involvement of the Rothschilds in the London Round Table Group—a secret association formed on February 5, 1891, by “Cecil Rhodes, his banker, Lord Rothschild, the Rothschild in-law, Lord Rosebery, and Lord Curzon.”20

Robertson uses Mullins to show that close ties existed between paul Warburg and Woodrow Wilson’s closest adviser, Colonel Edward House. Robertson writes that “Colonel House was the key figure in the passage of this legislation [the Federal Reserve Act], and he was in constant contact with Warburg about it.” Robertson then sketches the plan for a Socialist world order that House allegedly conceived in his anonymous 1912 novel Phillip Dru, Administrator: A Story of Tomorrow. According to this plan, House had drafted a blueprint for, in Robertson’s words, a “one-world government, a one-world economy under an Anglo-Saxon financial oligarchy, and a world dictator served by a council of twelve faithful men.” In truth, House’s novel presents a benevolent-sounding fantasy of how a progressive military hero could reinvent the American government. But Robertson’s argument echoes Mullins, who declared that Phillip Dru contained an authoritarian “blueprint which was later followed by the Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt administrations.”21 Robertson also resurrects Mullins’s false claim that Jacob Schiff lent the Bolsheviks “$20 million in gold….”22

Pursuing his case against Colonel House, Robertson writes as follows:

George Sylvester Viereck wrote in The Strangest Friendship in History: Woodrow Wilson and Colonel House, “The Schiffs, the Warburgs, the Kahns, the Rockefellers, the Morgans put their faith in House. When the Federal Reserve legislation at last assumed definite shape, House was the intermediary between the White House and the financiers.”

Robertson characteristically fails to say that George Sylvester Viereck (1884–1963) was an outspoken Nazi apologist who was indicted in 1941 as a German agent and spent four years in prison.

Robertson’s contribution is to put these conspiracy theories together. This he does by insinuating that the real power behind Wall Street, the French Revolution, the Bolshevik revolution, and the present-day Council on Foreign Relations can be traced back to the Jewish takeover of the Bavarian Illuminati. Indeed, the Council on Foreign Relations is Robertson’s current bête noire. He claims,

It has controlled the economic and foreign policy objectives of the United States for the past seventy years…. This power is above elections, but it has been able to control the results of elections. Beyond the control of wealth, its principal goal is the establishment of a one-world government where the control of money is in the hands of one or more privately owned but government-chartered central banks.

In his chapter “The Establishment” Robertson begins his attack on the council with a favorite line of anti-Semites, namely, a quotation from Benjamin Disraeli’s Jewish hero, Sidonia, in Coningsby: “The world is governed by very different personages than what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.” After claiming that there are links between the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Marxist movements around the globe, Robertson closes the chapter by coming back to the implication that the real power—“the Driving Force”—behind the CFR somehow derives from the Jewish-controlled Bavarian Illuminati.

Before Robertson first wrote to The New York Times to deny he was anti-Semitic, he had received a letter from Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, saying, “It seems to me that it would serve all sides” if he clarified the views expressed in The New World Order. But if he were honestly to clarify his views Robertson would have to acknowledge that his book amounts to a new version of the bizarre conspiracy theories of Nesta Webster and Eustace Mullins. Robertson avoids the word “Jew” in his book, but he has exhumed and embellished some of the most poisonous anti-Semitic canards in European history.

  1. 1

    Nesta H. Webster, World Revolution: the Plot Against Civilization (London: Constable, 1922, second edition); Nesta H. Webster, Secret Societies and Subversive Movements (Dutton, 1924); Eustace Mullins, Secrets of the Federal Reserve (Staunton, Virginia: Bankers Research Institute, 1954; second edition, 1984). In “The Jew World Order,” Frank Rich refers to one of Robertson’s sources, but mistakenly says that Paul Warburg is attacked in Nesta H. Webster’s Secret Societies, which never refers to Warburg (The New York Times, March 9, 1995, p. A25). Unless otherwise specified, quotations from Pat Robertson in this article are from his The New World Order (Word Publishing, 1991).

  2. 2

    Like Robertson, Webster denies that she is an anti-Semite. In her preface she writes: “it will be noticed that anyone who attempts to expose the secret forces behind the revolutionary movement, whether he mentions Jews in this connexion or even if he goes out of his way to exonerate them, will incur the hostility of the Jews and their friends and will still be described as ‘anti-Semite.’ The realization of this fact has led me particularly to include the Jews in the study of secret societies.” Secret Societies, p. xii.

  3. 3

    Webster, World Revolution, p. 8. On page 306 she states that Kölmer “may have been a Jew ….”

  4. 4

    Webster, Secret Societies, pp. 230–231.

  5. 5

    Webster, Secret Societies, p. 229.

  6. 6

    Webster, World Revolution, p. 18.

  7. 7

    Webster, World Revolution, pp. 19–20.

  8. 8

    Webster, Secret Societies, p. 383.

  9. 9

    Webster, World Revolution, pp. 26, 28.

  10. 10

    Webster, World Revolution, pp. 91–92.

  11. 11

    Webster, World Revolution, p. 169.

  12. 12

    Webster, World Revolution , p. 195.

  13. 13

    Webster, World Revolution, p. 203.

  14. 14

    Webster, Secret Societies, pp. 362–363.

  15. 15

    Webster, Secret Societies, p. 368.

  16. 16

    Webster, World Revolution, pp. 314–315.

  17. 17

    Webster, World Revolution, p. 309.

  18. 18

    Webster, World Revolution, p. 307.

  19. 19

    Mullins, Secrets of the Federal Reserve, pp. 4–5.

  20. 20

    Mullins, Secrets of the Federal Reserve, p. 53.

  21. 21

    Mullins, Secrets of the Federal Reserve, p. 23.

  22. 22

    As Ron Chernow notes, “Schiff advanced one million rubles to Alexander Kerensky’s government—a loan he lost six months later when the Bolsheviks came to power.” The Warburgs: the Twentieth Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family (Random House, 1993), p. 181.

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