The Seminar: A Populist Fantasy

They arrived bearing smartphones. Tel Aviv, March 2018.

Good morning.  I know you are all puzzled about why you have been invited here today. All will become clear very soon.

But first of all I must tell you that what you learn today may surprise, shock and even horrify you. I ask only this: listen and try and reserve judgement until you have had a chance to process what you hear. This will not be easy.

What I can say is that you are not the first group to have gone through this ordeal. These seminars have been run, once a year or more, since 1945. They are held across the world, in many tongues, in many societies. And I can tell you that no one who has taken part has refused the commitment we asked of them.

In fact, you already know people who have gone through the seminar. Not only have they never breathed a word about what transpires here, they did not back out afterwards. If you are sitting in this room, you have been chosen by one of our alumni as being worthy of being here. You have also been judged and tested, without your knowledge, for years. You have been marked for future greatness. 

Being here is an honour. Remember that.

So let’s start with who I am. Officially I am a mid-level civil servant, with a job title so vague as to be meaningless. What I really am is a member of a committee. A committee so obscure that it has no name. A committee whose influence is inversely proportional to its visibility.

To be a member of this committee is a privilege and a burden. That burden is one of secrecy. I am confident that you can take on the weight of the secret that I am about to tell you – that is why you have been observed so closely, after all – but what we require of you is more than just being silent. The secret we pass on to you has to be lived, incorporated into your very soul, as though it was not there at all. 

You are all men and women who have chosen to be cogs in the great machine of government. I’m sure you will have observed that when government works well, no one notices it. This isn’t always possible of course. Sometimes we make mistakes or our political masters make unwise choices. When that happens, we have to pick up the pieces in the full glare of public scrutiny. Not pleasant of course, but the scrutiny always dies down eventually and we go on with our efficiently invisible work.

The secret I am revealing to you today is not like any other secret with which you have been entrusted. If it were ever revealed there would be no going back; we would not recover and we would not fade back into invisibility. You will never – ever – be able to let your guard down, to make simple mistakes or even reveal that you have a secret in the first place.

What is this secret? It will sound remarkably mundane at first. I apologise for the anti-climax. It’s simply this:

There are several million people in the world that no one knows about.

Or to put it even more prosaically: If you combined every census of the population of every country, the total would be several million short of the total number of people in the world.

Or to put it in terms that are relevant to your own work: In this country there are about 250,000 people who are deliberately not counted in the census and who, officially, simply do not exist.

I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in.

Is the full impact of this disparity dawning yet? Well here is what it means: Almost every set of official figures have been deliberately falsified. GDP, tax revenues, population estimates, school rolls, electors – every figure that we in government rely on is inaccurate. And it is us, the committee and the invisible college of bureaucrats into which you are being inducted, who have perpetuated this fraud since 1945, completely undetected.

There are, in effect, two governments. One, the government you have been working in until today, governs on the basis of one set of figures. The other, the government you are now joining, doctors the figures on which the first relies.

I’m sure you appreciate the complexity and difficulty of this task, but please do not be too intimidated. While a small fraction of the size of the official government, our secret government is still sizeable. We have been doing this for a long long time, and we are very very good at it. 

We are also not alone in this work. Our country is one of many that host a portion of the secret millions. Each one has its shadow government. While they work differently according to local custom, we all support each other. We are, by now, virtuosos of invisible fraud.

Now I see on our faces that some of you are ahead of me. You know what is coming. Have you been spending time in the darker corners of the internet? Of course, you have! Civil servants are human too.

Yes, it is Jews we are hiding. The Holocaust did not happen. We are the ones whose perpetual task it is to cover up the continuing existence of millions of unkilled Jews and their descendants. The deniers are right, it was all a hoax. Of course, they can’t explain how millions of Jews suddenly disappeared from sight. They have no inkling about us. It’s ironic really. Their crude antisemitism made them assume that something was not right with the official narrative, but their evidence is fraudulent. They know nothing of the real conspiracy.

For we are not Jews. Nor are we their servants. Quite the reverse. One of the things that we checked before we recruited you is that you had not the slightest trace of Jewish blood, no Jewish friends, not even a fling with a Jewish girl or boy at university!

This is for us, not for them.

Some of the Jews know of course; they have their own committees. We communicate, we collaborate, but we are separate. They have their agenda and we have ours.

I will leave most the ‘how’ of the secret for the speakers who follow me at this seminar. What’s important right now is that you understand the ‘why’.

The truth is, we cannot live together. They know it and we know it. If you are honest with yourselves, you know it too. It’s simply never worked. Everywhere Jews have lived there has been trouble. Either they stick out too much or fit in too well. They want too much, from themselves and from the rest of us. I don’t hate them for this – and neither should you – I simply accept it as an unfortunate fact.

Just because the Holocaust was a hoax doesn’t mean that the rest of the conspiracy theories are correct. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion were a fraud, Jews did not kill Christian children to drink their blood and the Rothschilds are just a successful banking dynasty. Jews do not, and never have, ruled the world. They are not monsters, just ordinary people of a type with whom we cannot live.

The secret into which you are being inducted represents the ongoing fulfilment of a great project that began in the early nineteenth century. That was the time of emancipation when Jews in Europe became citizens in the modern world. For the most far-sighted Jews and the most far-sighted non-Jews, it was clear from the start that it was never going to work. They got together to discuss the problem: at the beginning in salons, coffee houses and taverns, then as discussions grew more serious, in universities and parliaments. These discussions were always discreet, always civil and eventually they were productive.

The conclusion these pioneers came to was, in retrospect, obvious: The Jews needed a home, somewhere away from Europe, somewhere where they could live amongst themselves. On that, they agreed. But how? In deference to your education, I will assume you know what Zionism is and when Israel came into being. What you don’t know is how much of an involvement we non-Jews had in its success. Most Jews, most Zionists, never knew the agreements that had been hashed out in secret meetings across Europe. They organised themselves, raised the money and settled the land on their own – we rarely lifted a finger to support them. That wasn’t our role.

Our job was to help the process on its way. It became clear pretty early on that most Jews didn’t want to go to the promised land without being pushed. It also became clear that the existing residents of Palestine were going to kick up a fuss about their new neighbours. 

What we needed was a cataclysm. A cataclysm so great that the world would recognise a Jewish state and the Jews would flock to it. The problem was that no country wanted to carry out such a cataclysm. And in any case, no Jew would accept such a death toll.

There was an impasse. After a century of fruitful collaboration, no progress could be made. At that point, in the first decades of the twentieth century, beset by other conflagrations, our predecessors lost patience. They forced a deal on the Jews: Life would become so unbearable for them that they would have no choice but to leave.

In essence, the Jews were offered a choice: Either a fake Holocaust or a real one. Understandably, they chose the former. 

It took decades to set up. As the world divided into belligerent blocs, so the collaboration continued. Small, select circles of democrats, fascists and communists set aside their grievances for a greater purpose. Amidst the bloodbath that was now unavoidable, the Jews would disappear, and a story would be told to replace them.

You know the story from here. The details of how it happened have never been recorded and never will be. What is left are fragments: whispered stories of ships leaving Danzig bound for ports unknown under Soviet air cover, holding camps on remote Atlantic islands, new identities given to bewildered ostjuden.

I confess that I cannot imagine how the relocated Jews survived their new lives. Did they not, as they watched the newsreels of Belsen feel the urge to scream out “No, we are still here?” They were told to hide their Jewishness, to have no contact with their co-religionists who already lived in the host countries. I am in awe of their discipline, their collective desire to keep to the bargain.

And we kept our bargain and they kept theirs. They got their state and we committed to getting rid of 6 million Jews without killing them.

The unkilled secret Jews and their descendants are still leaving our countries and being channelled to Israel. It’s been slower work than we anticipated, and harder. At first, the idea was to send all the millions of Jews that were supposed to have been killed by the Nazis directly to Israel. That would never have worked. Aside from the transport problems in wartime, the arrival of millions would have been impossible to disguise. So the Jews were shared out, to our country and others. Their leaders made sure they never talked, and they were slowly removed to Israel over decades. The process is yet to be completed. Maybe you will be the last generation who has to keep the secret, maybe not.

You may ask what we got from this deal. Has it all been worth it? I have no answer to that. I suppose we owed them a state for all the persecution we inflicted on them in the past. There is something extraordinary about them isn’t there? We cannot live alongside them so we go to immense lengths to remove them – and by God do they make a success of it! I cannot help but wonder whether they got the better end of the deal. Here we are, condemned to decades of statistical gerrymandering. Here they are, with a powerful and prosperous state. Of course, Israel also has to hide its true population too, but they somehow do it with style. I’ve met some of their secret keepers, and I cannot help comparing their confident insolence with the drudgery of our stoic labours.   

Well, we are where we are. There is no option but to perpetuate the secret. Can you imagine the disaster if the world found out that almost every government in the world had a shadow government? The earth would totter on its axis.

One day, when all the unkilled Jews and their progeny have left for Israel, there will be no need to continue the fraud. All that will be left will be to guard the story. Eventually, not even that.

Until then, it is your duty and your obligation to keep on with the work. We have no choice, and now you have no choice. I won’t belabour this point. Suffice it to say that you are now bound by obligations that will be released only on death, and if you shoulder the burden as you should, that will not be for a long while.

Welcome, then, to the seminar. I cannot resist closing with an ancient text that a Jewish secret-keepers once quoted at me at one of our interminable meetings. He was, I think, mocking me, but that doesn’t take away the power and relevance of these words:

“You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.”

Photograph courtesy of Joel Schalit. Published under a Creative Commons license.