Guest post: Carthago Delenda … Ain’t?!?

By Bob Zhermuther-Zpruther
(second cousin of Robert Zherunkel)

Jews don’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah;
Protestants don’t recognize the Pope;
And Baptists don’t recognize each other at the liquor store.
—dumb old joke that makes me chuckle every time.

The less that is known about something, the more there can be to say about it. It is for this reason that religious conflicts can be so intense: there are often no actual facts of the matter to consider. There are only untestable hypotheses, baseless presuppositions, unverifiable stories, conjectures, fantasies, and speculations.

Human beings are uncomfortable with the uncertainty of not knowing; they would prefer anything to fill in the gaps of their knowledge, rather than allowing the blanks to stay blank. (With the previous sentence, I just explained the appeal of 90% of the conspiracy literature on the Internet.)

Certain ideas gain traction just because there is so little data in play. Which means supporting evidence for your hypothesis is slim. But also means that the ammunition for a clear rebuttal is absent as well. For such ideas, amazing intellectual houses of cards can be built, piling one unsupported conjecture on top of another to form a (seemingly) erudite megatheory.

Frequently the cornerstones for house-of-cards megatheories are parallelomania and hyperdiffusionism: these are, respectively, the insistence that vaguely similar things are in fact one and the same thing, and the insistence that vaguely similar things come necessarily from a single common source and do not arise independently. Parallelomania and hyperdiffusionism are, for example, the stock-in-trade of the New Chronology schtick, along with cherry-picked data.  Such theories have any plausibility among the average reader only because he doesn’t know all there is that he doesn’t know, and so has no inkling of the profusion of counter-evidence that is being swept under the rug.  Nor is he aware that mere conjectures are being touted as certainties.

As one sifts through the alternative history and conspiracy theories on the Web, one quickly figures out that many of the offerings are intentional disinformation: lies lacquered with a pseudo-scholarly sheen. Whoever is behind the masquerade of current events is also trying to cover their tracks by hiring Internet shills to send us off in a hundred false directions to keep us from figuring it out. There are megatheories that pin the blame on the Jesuits, the Freemasons, the Mormons, the Vatican, the City of London, the Illuminati, etc. Always, the less one knows about a suspect, the more convincing a case can be built against him in the eyes of the unwitting.

I thought I knew my way around the modern conspiracyverse. Imagine my shock when I discovered that there was another name on the list of usual suspects that I had never considered before. Imagine if the Elites who run the world, the Point-Zero-One-Percenters, the Cryptic Cabal were in fact: Phoenicians!

Where did I learn this? From reading articles by David Icke (of the reptilian alien claims) and Michael Tsarion (of the alien~Atlantean~occultist claims). I need not provide links. You can merely Google their names along with the word “Phoenicians” to get their takes on the idea that the modern Elites are descendants of the ancient Phoenicians, who ran the world back in the first and second millennia Before Christ, and since Roman times have been pulling the strings clandestinely through proxies and puppets.

I wish to note a few things here:

  1. For reasons independent of the Phoenician Elites Hypothesis (PEH), it is obvious that Icke and Tsarion are bullshit artists, promoted into a higher level of public awareness than their publications deserve on their own merits. They are likely agents of the very force they pretend to be uncovering.
  2. These men first published their ideas on the Phoenician hidden hegemony years ago: Icke’s book The Biggest Secret came out first in 1999. Tsarion’s articles date from 2012 and may go back another decade. (It is not worth the time or indigestion to sift through his droppings for an exact date.)
  3. The seed of these ideas could very well have been recycled from R. Buckminster Fuller’s 1981 book Critical Path, in which he identifies the Phoenicians with the Vikings and Venetians. Icke and Tsarion do not seem to credit Fuller with the idea, … nor do they seem aware of each other’s ruminations.
  4. These men all beg the very question that they pretend to answer about Phoenician identity.
  5. The appeal of the PEH must lie to some extent in the way it allows its proponents to maintain a measure of their usual anti-Semitism, but in a form that is not as obviously repugnant to reason and morality as their customary Jew-hating.

So here’s their claim in general: there was an ancient race that mastered sailing, invented trade, and built an empire that stretched throughout the Mediterranean world and beyond the Straits of Gibraltar, possibly to the British Isles and even to America; they have never truly gone away, but simply used their amassed resources to fade into the wallpaper as they continued to run the world. This race was named by others after the purple dyestuff they developed from seashells, but those we know as “Phoenicians” called themselves something different.

Is it true?

Were the Phoenicians of ancient literature a race of merchant people? It is not so clear. In her book In Search of the Phoenicians, Josephine Quinn insists that no Phoenician ethnicity ever existed. There was a league of cities in the ancient world that cooperated in dominating sea-trade; these cities used a West Semitic language for mutual communication. However, there is no evidence that these city-states, like Tyre, Sidon, Carthage, etc. were inhabited by people of the same race or ethnicity; nor any evidence that they had any sense of solidarity among themselves as being one and the same people; nor any evidence that they even had a word for their confederation, but only were known by their individual cities: Tyrians, Sidonians, Carthaginians, etc. Sort of like an ancient Hanseatic League of the Mediterranean Sea.  They left no literature. They worshiped no common god (except those worshiped also by non-Phoenicians as well).

Quinn says that: “‘Phoenician’ was just a generic label invented by ancient Greek authors for Levantine sailors” and “the Latin words for ‘Phoenician’—poenus and punicus—were often used to mean ‘North African’ in general.”  The idea of Phoenician ethnicity was not developed until the late 19th century, after which it was used to buttress the notion of an ancient Lebanese nationality, in hopes of giving a sense of historical cohesion to the nation of Lebanon.  When we speak of the Phoenicians as a nation or a race, we are retrojecting notions back on them that they themselves never seemed to have. It would be like someone looking back at the Christians of the 2nd century and presuming them to be a distinct ethnicity, just because they shared worship practices and used Koiné Greek for mutual communication. Or it would be like someone thinking that all Muslims are Arabs. Or that all people who speak Arabic are the same ethnicity. It is the confusion of a single catch-all label with homogeneity.

What is this Phoenician identity that the ruling Elites have in common? Based on the available textual and archaeological evidence: nothing. Which means that there can be LOTS to say about it. Because that’s how it works. The less that is known, the more room there is for conjecture, speculation, and parallelomania to run amok. For Icke and Tsarion, it means book sales and website hits.

And this has to be the reason that fringe authors keep going back to the well of Phoenicianism: just because there is so little to worry about in terms of contrary evidence. The Phoenicians are the Play-Doh of the ancient world. You can mold them into any image you want. Icke and Tsarion are disinfo agents. Their appeal to Phoenician elites is a cynical tactic of misdirection. One can plant a red flag wherever the idea appears.

Yesterday I came across a more recent incarnation of the Phoenician ploy. It was on a website called Stolen History. Here the author (in posts dating from July 7, 2018) builds the same basic conjectural house of cards, but the argument is refined by removing the claims that Phoenicians were an ethnic group. The author MythstifieD says instead: “These people are not linked by race, but by ideology and symbols.” That is, by an ideology of which we know very little about (and so can speculate freely) and by symbols for which it is easy to cast around and find parallels everywhere. Just as long as we choose not to believe that certain symbols might arise independently in multiple places. (Geez, ….why would more than one culture use a bird for a symbol? Or a hand?!? )

It is very curious to me that the MythstifieD gives no real credit to Icke or Tsarion for their earlier expositions of similar ideas. Surely this person came across these names in the course of Googling for images. I know that it took me less than a minute to discover the prior publications. In fact, the anonymous author gives no credit to anyone else for his/her ideas. It is as if we were meant to understand that this person came up with the Phoenician hypothesis all alone. Is that likely?

Not only so, but now in posts dating from July 17–August 6, 2018, yet another author named Gerry has been putting up a series of articles on mileswmathis.com. These articles trot out the PEH once more, but Gerry goes reverts to the idea that the Phoenicians were/are all members of a Semitic ethnic group (and that they are thus able to blend in with other Semitic peoples like the Jews, and that they do so in order to divert attention and blame from themselves and onto the Jews).

Gerry’s articles are just like the Stolen History posts: they fail to mention the priority of Icke and Tsarion for the PEH—if only for the purpose of distancing his work from theirs. (Even though only a modest amount of Googling turns up those names, and it is clear that Gerry gets a lot of his data from Google.) Gerry’s thesis is built on alleged puns in the Hebrew Bible, cross-linguistic similarities in names, and parallelisms in art. But the point of this piece is not to untangle Gerry’s knotty argumentation. It is simply to point out the oddness of this situation. Why are the advocates of the PEH so steadfastly refusing to acknowledge one another? They are like Baptists at the liquor store, staring at their shoes while they shuffle around the shelves to choose their booze.

And then a Phoeny thing happened on the way to the webforum as well … Over at the public comment zone for the MMC, cuttingthroughthefog.com, there is a spirited affirmation of Gerry’s version of the PEH, rising to around 1300 postings. For all the pitching in and piling on going on over there, not a single commenter has stumbled on the Icke/Tsarion antecedence. Or if they did, they remain mute as a fencepost about it. Instead, they have invested fully in the Phoenician Elites Hypothesis lock, stock, and barrel; and they have adopted the pet name “Phoenies” for the putative Semitic elites whose invisible hands manage the world. It is a remarkable display of unanimity. One of the commenters DID stumble across Josephine Quinn and her arguments against Phoenician identity: her ideas are dismissed without being engaged in the least, and she is labeled a gatekeeper.  Because—obviously—no reasoned or scholarly disagreement with the MMC is possible, and anyone who takes issue with their pronouncements must be on the payroll of the Elites.

* * *

Cato the Elder is reputed to have ended every oration with a call to exterminate the Phoenician city which had been Rome’s adversary and rival: “Carthage must be destroyed!” Down through the ages the Latin phrase has lived on as a testament to hatred and inhumanity: Carthago delenda est! It is said that the Romans under Scipio, after razing the city, sowed the soil with salt to prevent it from being settled ever again.

Now Icke and Tsarion and other authors are trying to tell us that a Carthaginian race—like Alexander the Great in the mind of the mermaid—lives and reigns and conquers the cosmos. Carthage has not been destroyed, they say, but is behind every dark scheme on the planet.

To this I say: I hope Scipio left some salt for the rest of us. We’re going to need a few grains to take with the Phoenician Elites Hypothesis.  It smacks too much of the same old warmed-over disinfo bullshit.

4 thoughts on “Guest post: Carthago Delenda … Ain’t?!?

  1. I once thought that Mathis and his use of Jew-baiting was a way of self-administered blackwashing. I was not aware they had gone Phoenician on us. I have not read much of Mathis lately, and when I do I trail off for the genealogy. I did read the Bucky Fuller book years ago and assumed he knew what he was talking about. Do they just make shit up? Anyway, it is easy to see why no mention of Icke and Tsarion …

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    1. Years ago, a prog about conspiracy theorists had this quip from one truther about Icke, ‘He’s the turd in the punchbowl’ was his assertion when Icke came out with his lizard theory and thus made the truther community look like a bunch of deranged numpties.

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  2. For anyone curious about the agenda behind the Phoenician Elites Hypothesis,
    Motorhead’s link to a 2007 article translated from Russian provides a motherlode of information. (https://www.proza.ru/2009/06/24/231)

    What is the PEH in itself? What is its nature? It is anti-Semitism. It is a refined (albeit pseudo-scholarly) expression of Jew-hatred. Like all prejudice, it is contrary to reason and experience and basic morality. One does not do well in judging a whole class of people on the basis of the actions of a few. Ever.

    With my article, naming the PEH as a form of anti-Semitism brought out the venom of Jew-hatred from several commenters, some of whom were not allowed through. But others were, with brilliant results.

    The linked Russian article, by a certain Andrey Zelev, spells out the intent of the PEH explicitly in its title: “Phoenicians are Jews.” And thereafter, in listing the atrocities of the Phoenicians, it means to paint the Jewish race with the same broad brush of fear and hatred.

    Zelev assumes homogeneity across all the so-called Phoenician settlements of the ancient world. At one point he notes that pork was not eaten in Sidon (on the coast of modern Lebanon), and then goes on to presume: “ … if there did not eat pork, means, it did not eat in all Phoenicia.” [sic]. But this is factually untrue! The archaeological study of animal bones in Carthage shows that “the consumption of pork increased dramatically from the fifth to second centuries” (Quinn, In Search of the Phoenicians, chapter 4).

    Zelev begs the question by positing the very uniformity among Phoenicians that he advances as his conclusion, hard evidence be damned! His entire case is built on just such Procrustean reasoning, pages and pages of it. He either cuts off the truth or stretches it to make it fit his program—prescribing an equivalency of ancient Phoenicians and modern Jews, with the intent of convicting the latter of the crimes of the former. It would be a bit like pushing for the persecution of Ikea employees for the sins of the Vikings of old.

    For those who have the time to follow the link and hash through the bad English, you will find paradigmatic examples of hyperdiffusionism and parallelomania. Zelev consistently takes vaguely similar things and declares them to be one and the same: different languages, religions, and customs. Zelev finds parallels across cultures (like circumcision—called “trimming” in this translation) and declares them to be of a common source. By this same logic, Egyptians and Jews are the same people, since they both circumcised males. Of course, they are not the same people and culture.

    Those who actually have studied the ancient Mediterranean world, of course, see real differences among those cultures. And they recognize that, while neighbors borrow things from one another, this does not mean they are one and the same nuclear family. The Hebrew people borrowed the Phoenician alphabet. But they had to modify it to reflect the fact that Hebrew had a consonant which the Phoenician lingua franca seems not to have.

    Hence the shin/sin distinction in Hebrew: it is the same character differentiated in Hebrew by the placement of a dot. If the Phoenician who invented the alphabet had two distinct consonants like Hebrew does, he would have invented separate letters. Thus we see: Hebrew and Phoenician are not the same language, even at the level of phonemes! The two languages DO derive from a common Proto-Semitic source, just as English, German, and Icelandic come from a common Germanic mother language. But who would claim that Englishmen and Germans and Icelanders are one and the same people as a consequence? Only an ignoramus.

    … Or someone with a racist agenda.

    Why am I exerting so much energy on Zelev? Because I think that Motorhead accidentally tipped his hand a little too much. (Poor guy—or bot—is going to get fired for this one.) I suspect that Andrey Zelev is the fountainhead of all the PEH advocacy over the past decade—Tsarion, mythstifieD, and Gerry and the MMC.

    Under Marxism, a tremendous propaganda industry developed in Russia. It is vast, experienced, sophisticated, and well-funded. It did not die with the so-called Fall of Communism. Russian propaganda lives on, and especially on the Internet in the form of the Russian troll armies. Those Russian trolls have been recruiting English-speaking brigades that wreak havoc in comment threads and social media platforms are around the Web. I have seen the tremendous power of a Russian troll army in my own field of study: they are numerous, clever, and well-coordinated. To the uninformed, they might also seem very convincing in their agenda-pushing. But facts are not generally on their side. They practice deceit as a high art form.

    There is, moreover, no place on earth where Jew-hatred is more casually accepted and commonplace than among the Russians. A Russian child drinks in bigotry with its mother’s milk. Anti-Semitism is a primeval Russian phobia, derived from the equally ingrained sense of ressentiment among the Slavic peoples. And combined with all this is the Russian penchant for conspiracy theories, elaborate confections of clinical paranoia. Who can blame them, though? The vile Marxism they suffered under for so long was indeed the work of a conspiracy.

    It has long been curious to me that there has been such push from outsiders at POM to introduce Jew-hatred to Mark’s blog. If you want to hate the Elites, go ahead. And yes, some of them are Jewish. But the vast majority of Jews do not deserve the opprobrium of the few.

    It seems that no sooner does a new writer endear himself to Mark and gang than he turns around and starts spraying up the place with the skunk-scent of misojewny. I suspected these people of being trolls for the Russians. Sometimes their poor English gives them away; but enough of them are probably just American incels looking to make a few bucks because they can’t find a real job (or their criminal record stands in the way of work). They will never break their ironclad NDAs to tell us the truth. But when I compare the rhetoric, tactics, and agendas of known Russian trolls and bots with some of the contributions here, I see that we are probably dealing with the same agency.

    And we can expect the advocates of the PEH to fight exposure tooth and nail. Too much has been invested in the PEH over the years, and they won’t abandon this psyop lightly. Brace yourself, Mark and company.

    Motorhead, in trying to browbeat me into being “a researcher,” made the mistake of divulging the troll army’s Magna Carta of Phoenician conspiracy theory, the work of Andrey Zelev. If you study that work, you begin to see the outlines of so much of the fake news agenda of the last few years.

    E.g. Some Phoenician cities practiced child sacrifice. (But not all of them: archaeologists do not find the remains of tiny scorched skeletons in all those cities. Which means that there was NOT uniformity in religion across the Phoenician settlements.) If one assumes that Jews are Phoenicians, then one will be open to the idea that Jews are still sacrificing children. And thus the conceits of Bohemian Grove and Pizzagate are born.

    I could go on, but this is enough of a response for now. The PEH is being advanced as part of a multi-pronged propaganda campaign. And now we know its Torah and its Moses. And we also know its Pharisees and Sadducees.

    And for that we can thank Motorhead. Your act of projection filled in the blanks that I had been wondering about for so long. Da svedanya, comrade!

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    1. So the answer to the question why does MMG express such hatred for Jews is that they really do hate Jews? OK, run with that. Assume they are not prejudiced by religious beliefs or social customs, as most Jews blend in nicely to western culture. Then the hatred must be for another reason. Is it jealousy, resentment of success? Or is it a deeper hatred?

      I have to confess I often come away from this work surrounding “the families” with the impression that these are not evil people. They just operate on a higher level. They are tasked with governance of a very backward race of people. (Have you been to Walmart?) Could it be this simmering hatred behind the scenes, now masked as hatred of Phoenicians, hides a desire to do real harm, and the “Jews” stand in the way? Are we staring in the face of real evil?

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