This is a very simple case to make, so I will keep it brief and to the point. The simple fact is that the “4000 Jews stayed home on 9/11” conspiracy theory is provably connected to the Baathist Syrian government and Ministry of Information, and therefore it is relevant for our discussions on modern Information Warfare.
On September 15 (or 14 depending on source), 2001; a rumor began to circulate that 4000 Jews had been warned to stay home from their work at the World Trade Center complex by Israeli intelligence (Mossad) (1,6). There is no evidence that anything other than a statistically-normal sample of people died on 9/11 (6).
The rumor first seems to have appeared in the Syrian government-owned newspaper Al-Thawra (4,6). From there, it was picked up by the Hezbollah-owned TV station Al-Manar on September 19, 2001 (1). Al-Manar had received its Lebanese media license in 1997 at the request of then-Syrian president Hafez Al-Assad (father of Bashar Al-Assad) (2).
The Al Manar report was cited as the story spread around the world, including where it appeared in the Russia’s Pravda (before it was pulled) (1,6).
As recently as 2005, the conspiracy theory appeared printed as supplementary material in a copy of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” which was claimed by the publisher to be approved with the blessing of the Syrian Ministry of Information (7).
In this sense, there is very strong official evidence of at least one September 11 conspiracy having its root in a state-owned propaganda apparatus (Syria — which is generally considered to be a vassal of Putin’s Russia). (Syria was one of the only Arab nations to support Putin’s 1999 wars in Chechnya and had begun discussions of arms sales in that time (which were not fulfilled until the 2006 timeframe).)
The “Jews stayed home” conspiracy is linked to the conspiracy theories of Alex Jones at InfoWars, who is not overtly anti-Semitic, but advocates for globalist financial conspiracies (a common dog whistle for anti-Semitism) and claims that Mossad was responsible for 9/11 in collaboration with US intelligence and the so-called global financial elite.
Alex Jones, for his part was the progenitor of the “False Flag” (also known as the “Inside Job”) theory of September 11, 2001 (4). Alex Jones claims today that he is the subject of a criminal FBI counterintelligence operation tied to Russian propaganda, which was reported on by conservative news outlets (5). He has posted more than 1000 RT articles without attribution and appeared numerous times on the RT network (3). RT and various other Russian-connected propaganda outlets have amplified and propagated the “False Flag” theory.
Jones vehemently denies that he is a Russian influence agent or that Russia had any role with interference in the 2016 US presidential election, where he was a strong advocate for Donald Trump.
Nonetheless, as at least one of these post-9/11 conspiracies is tied to state-sponsored propaganda it proves we need to be vigilant to examine the root of conspiracy theory for intentionally destabilizing foreign influences; and that conspiracy theory should not simply be dismissed out of hand. (For what it is worth, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” are proven Russian government (Tsarist-era) propaganda too.)
1.) Curtis, Bryan. 4000 Jews, One Lie. (Slate) 10/5/2001
2.) Jorisch, Avi. Al-Manar: Hizbullah TV, 24/7. (Middle East Quarterly) Winter 2004, pp. 17-31
3.) Lytvynenko, Jane. InfoWars Has Republished More Than 1,000 Articles From RT Without Permission. (Buzzfeed News) 11/8/2017
4.) Stahl, Jeremy. Where Did 9/11 Conspiracies Come From? (Slate) 9/6/2011
5.) Stone, Peter and Gordon, Greg. FBI’s Russian-influence probe includes a look at Breitbart, InfoWars news sites. (McClatchy) 3/20/2017
6.) US Dept. of State (USDS 1). Identifying Misinformation: The 4000 Jews Rumor. (USDS ) 1/14/2005
7.) US Dept. of State (USDS 2). Syria: International Religious Freedom Report 2005. Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor. (USDS). 2005