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Vaccinations: A Jewish plot?

Those who picked up a booklet entitled “Vaccination: The Devil’s Medicine” in the Oriental Plaza recently will have read the following in the introductory section:

”The two fundamental components of vaccination are Filth and Poison. Vaccination is part of a massive conspiracy of the Yahood [Jews] to incapacitate and decimate the populations of Africa and Asia. It is a satanic tool employed by the Satanist conspirators of the Western World in their long-term devilish plot to exterminate a huge segment of mankind in their pursuit of attaining global domination and laying their evil clutches on the wealth and natural resources of the stupid peoples of the so-called Third World countries — Arabs, Africans and Asians.”

The booklet was published by the Mujlisul Ulama of South Africa, a Port Elizabeth-based Islamic think-tank. Looking at other articles published on its website (few of which, incidentally, make disparaging references to Jews or other faith groups), the organisation can be characterised — very euphemistically — as ”ultra-conservative”. Among many the other things its contributors deem to be ”haraam” — taboo — wedding dresses, nursery schools, chess, being photographed, soft drinks, singing, musical instruments radio and street marches.

Perhaps, then, the above assertion that vaccinations are part of an evil Jewish plot to enslave the world might simply be dismissed as the ravings of a radical fringe group. Unfortunately, this is neither a rare nor isolated case of rabid anti-Jewish conspiracy theorising emerging from within the organised Muslim community. Why, for example, has the Jamiatul Ulama — Council of Muslim Theologians (KwaZulu-Natal) — posted the article “Why are Jews persecuted?” by Jayne Gardener on its website? Must we assume from this that the organisation endorses Gardener when she writes: “I found out about the Jewish history of avariciousness, larceny, lying, manipulation and their questionable and usurious business practices … if everyone who sees this information passes it on to at least one other person, the crimes and misdeeds of the Jewish supremacists and Zionists will be exposed”?

Just a few days ago, Channel Islam International once again hosted the ultra-right wing conspiracy theorist Daryl Bradford-Smith on one of its programmes. It was the usual farrago of charges against the world Jewish criminal mafia, encouraged and endorsed by the show’s host. How was it possible, a caller asked, that the world allowed ”murdering butchers to get away with killing innocent people with their bombings” and how long would this go on before they were charged and brought to justice? Bradford-Smith had the answer, of course: “It will go on as long as people don’t realise how the world works, how there’s an overriding control by international bankers and corporate fascists and the Jewish community around the world that is in charge of media and the rest, employing their resources to run the world. They run the judiciary, they run the court in the Hague.”

It is one thing for this kind of stuff to be put out by nut-ball individuals, who one finds in every racial, religious or ethnic group. It is much more concerning, however, when it has behind it the imprimatur of an actual institution, be they theological councils, radio stations or think-tanks.

Speaking at an event to mark the International Day of Commemoration in memory of Holocaust victims last month, SA Human Rights Commission chief executive Kayum Ahmed acknowledged the extent to which anti-Semitic discourse had become mainstream within the Muslim community: “My understanding of the (Middle-East) region was from what I’d learned from the imams and sheikhs in Mosque — there was a simple message; all Jews are bad and evil and they were killing our Muslim brothers in Palestine. And on occasion when the imam got particularly worked up he’d say ‘more Jews should have been killed in the Holocaust.’ ”

All this being said, that Muslims themselves are often subjected to revolting libels can hardly be denied, as I can attest merely from the kind of things that arrive in my inbox from time to time. One of these claimed that certain Muslim theologians now permitted sodomy in cases where it was necessary to widen the anus of a suicide terrorist to allow for the concealment of explosives. Another asserted that according to a new ruling, a Muslim man was allowed to have sexual intercourse with his dead wife, so long as it was only a few hours after her death. No doubt, others would be able to cite numerous other examples.

In my very first Thought Leader post, I focused on the very remarkable fact that in comparison with even Western democratic countries like Australia, the UK, France and Canada, levels of anti-Semitism in South Africa were extraordinarily low. Over the past 20 years and more, the number of anti-Jewish acts in such countries had consistently been anything from 10 to more than 20 times higher than in South Africa. Happily, and despite the depths of anti-Jewish sentiment within certain sectors of their population, this remains the case. It surely says something about the society we still are, even today, when the over-optimistic (if somewhat cloying) ”Rainbow Nation” culture has long since dissipated and racial suspicion and mutual resentment seems to be re-emerging from all sides.


  • David Saks has worked for the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) since April 1997, and is currently its associate director. Over the years, he has written extensively on aspects of South African history, Judaism and the Middle East for local and international newspapers and journals. David has an MA in history from Rhodes University. Prior to joining the SAJBD, he was curator -- history at MuseumAfrica in Johannesburg. He is editor of the journal Jewish Affairs, appears regularly on local radio discussing Jewish and Middle East subjects and is a contributor to various Jewish publications.


  1. The Creator The Creator 7 February 2013

    Well, that is indeed a pamphlet to spoil one’s lunch!

    But, interestingly, it seems to be predominantly a load of loony Western right-wing balderdash (kind of like anti-fluoridation stuff mingled with black helicopters) which has had a couple of pages of wacko anti-Semitic Islam stuck to the front.

  2. bernpm bernpm 7 February 2013

    The permanent stalemate between Israel, supported by the US, and Palestinians reflects on the global attitude towards the Jews.
    The same is happening towards the Muslims.
    While people know that not all of these people support the fundamentalist or hostile attitudes of their fundamentalist brothers, the general feeling has become one of unease with all Muslims and all Jews.

  3. bernpm bernpm 7 February 2013

    The permanent stalemate between Israel, supported by the US, and Palestinians reflects on the global attitude towards the Jews.
    The same is happening towards the Muslims.
    While people know that not all of these people support the fundamentalist or hostile attitudes of their fundamentalist brothers, the general feeling has become one of unease with all Muslims and all Jews.
    Some are more outspoken than others.
    A little positive marketing by the suffering brothers could help. Accusing the rest of the world of not liking you, does not.

  4. The Creator The Creator 7 February 2013

    Although a quick Google shows that there are indeed some Muslims opposed to vaccination, declaring it to be Western and therefore haram. Sigh. I can’t tell whether it’s actually based in anything from Islam or whether it’s Muslims jumping on the Western right-wing bandwagon, though. (I suppose you can find just about anything in the Quran if you look.)

  5. Lennon Lennon 7 February 2013

    Eugenics? I thought this was being spearheaded by Bill Gates:

    Although… this was the explanation for that little clip:

    Mind you, it appears to be happening in Brazil (not vaccines, mind you):

    … and just up the road in Namibia if this is to be believed:

    … plus Kenya:

    No mention of Jews anywhere.

  6. Prinz Prinz 7 February 2013

    “The study of allergology and immunology originate from the Islamic world. Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi (Rhazes) was responsible for discovering “allergic asthma”, and was the first physician known to have written articles on allergy and the immune system. In the Sense of Smelling, he explains the occurrence of rhinitis after smelling a rose during the Spring. In the Article on the Reason Why Abou Zayd Balkhi Suffers from Rhinitis When Smelling Roses in Spring, he dicusses seasonal rhinitis, which is the same as allergic asthma or hay fever. Al-Razi was the first to realize that fever is a natural defense mechanism, the body’s way of fighting disease. The distinction between smallpox and measles also dates back to al-Razi. The medical procedure of inoculation was practiced in the medieval Islamic world in order to treat smallpox. This was later followed by the first smallpox vaccine in the form of cowpox, invented in Turkey in the early 18th century”

  7. Ann Ann 8 February 2013

    I was vaccinated as a child and is now 71 years of age, never contracted polio, or smallpox as those that did not have the vaccinations.
    There were a few we knew that were not vaccinated, some were crippled by polio and some died of smallpox.

  8. Mr. Direct Mr. Direct 8 February 2013

    Everybody knows how to make giant leaps in the fight against anti-Semitism in the modern world: Isreal pulls out of the occupied territories.

    Give it a try and see…

  9. BillyC BillyC 8 February 2013

    The tragedy of the Islamic anti-vaccination campaign is that polio has almpost been eradicated in every country except Northern Nigeria, Pakistan and Afganistan.

  10. Shaheed Shaheed 8 February 2013

    The last comment sneaked in by Creator shows his true agenda. Shame on you…

  11. Cde Fanny Mabuso Cde Fanny Mabuso 8 February 2013

    Vaccinate Israel against rockets. Just stop spreading the virus of worse-than-apartheid-type-terrorism and Palestinian oppression.

  12. Momma Cyndi Momma Cyndi 9 February 2013

    Darwin would be impressed.

    For a bunch of people who claim to follow such loving deities, the worlds religions are very un-loving. I wonder what their various gods think of all this nonsense?

  13. Lennon Lennon 9 February 2013

    @ The Creator: Oddly enough, the Qur’an states that Muslims should seek knowledge… something that the radicals (going back to the final years of Al Andalus) seem to conveniently ignore.

  14. Mo Mo 10 February 2013


    Do your research chap!

    That PE based group is considered a LOONEY institute by most SA muslims. In fact, the Islamic Medical Association ( IMA) regularly hosts community meetings encouraging vaccination. But you would ignore that because you have an agenda.

    You also ignore the fact that the pamphlet must be many many years old. It has been a battle in the Muslim community for as long as I can remember, but it is no longer much an issue in SA thankfully……unless some guy with an axe to grind wants to use it.

    PS: what are the state of Palestinian hospitals? Perhaps, you should tell your readers about the massive mobile hospital that South Africans have set up in Palestine. With vaccines nogal!

  15. david saks david saks 11 February 2013

    With a few exceptions, the responses to this post have really missed the point, which was not to comment on attitudes towards vaccination within the Islamic tradition (a subject I have no interest in) but on how this was recently used to propagate a nasty anti-Jewish conspiracy theory. In turn, this was shown to be part of a broader trend of local Islamic organisations disseminating anti-Jewish propaganda. My ‘agenda’ is simply to expose this unsettling phenomenon in the hope that something will be done about it by those concerned. As I wrote, there will always be wacko individuals who put out crazy racist theories, but it is another matter when actual organisations do so.

  16. Lennon Lennon 12 February 2013

    @ David: I think some of it stems from perceptions of the powers-that-be within the banking cartel. There is a “school” of thought which claims that Jews run all of the banks and they are attempting to control the world via George H. W. Bush’s “New World Order”.

    While I have no doubt that international groups led by the likes of the IMF, Word Bank etc etc really do call the shots in international politics (along with mega corporations like Monsanto), I very much doubt that it’s a Jewish conspiracy (as per my Bill Gates comment). However, there is this idiotic notion that all Jews are somehow in on this deal which makes me laugh because some of the Jewish people that I’ve personally met are not what one would call well-connected with big finance.

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