British publishing giant, Penguin Random House UK, has finally withdrawn the English language edition of Colonel Pedro Baños’ Rothschild conspiracy book entitled “How they rule the world”, following an independent external review.
In light of the review by Baroness Julia Neuberger BDE, the rights over the English language edition will revert to the Spanish publisher and audio and e-book editions will no longer be available.
We welcome the decision to cease publication of the English language edition but it should never have come to this. It should have been plain to anyone that the Rothschild conspiracy theories popularised by the Nazis are inherently antisemitic. By publishing the book, they played right into the hands of antisemites by legitimising this blatant antisemitism. It is outrageous that such an esteemed publisher had a hand in perpetuating this.
While Baroness Neuberger, who serves as the senior Rabbi at West London Synagogue did not consider the English edition of the book and the original Spanish edition of the book to be antisemitic, she did describe certain passages and references which did not appear in the English edition, as carrying echoes of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories. She also believed that the publisher “should therefore have asked more questions and conducted deeper due diligence to determine whether it was appropriate to publish.”
In a statement, the publisher said: “Penguin Random House UK has carefully considered these findings and notes the review’s judgement that the book is not in itself antisemitic, but that some passages are problematic. It therefore accepts the review’s finding that some of the material should have prompted further enquiry and due diligence on Ebury’s part in view of the complex and highly sensitive subject matter, in order to inform its publishing decision-making.”
Antisemitic conspiracy myths have long placed the predominantly Jewish Rothschild family of bankers and philanthropists behind the world’s ills, accusing them of leading a global Jewish conspiracy. The myth gained widespread currency when the Nazis recognised its potency for turning Germans against the supposed hidden hand of the Jews, who their propaganda claimed were ruining Germany’s national future.
Author Jeremy Duns exposed Penguin’s removal of passages about the Rothschild family from book and suggested that the publisher can only have made such changes “knowingly.” He purchased the e-book in Spanish which featured the Rothschilds, but found that the section on the Rothschilds was missing in the English edition: “That entire section is missing from the English version of the book. Perhaps because British readers would cry foul?” There was also no mention of the Rothschilds in the book summary on the Penguin UK website.
The book cover depicts an octopus which was sometimes used by the Nazis as a euphemism for Jewish tentacles trying to control the world.
Mr Duns researched Colonel Baños’ views and uncovered other anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, including that the Jews killed President John Kennedy, supposedly because he did not want Israel to have nuclear weapons.
It appears that the publisher removed the references to “Rothschilds” in the book to protect their reputation. Mr Duns described this as “very dodgy non-fiction practices.” While Colonel Baños, it seems, will still get the proceeds of the book.
After the initial row, Penguin undertook what they called a “thorough” review of the book. They concluded that while Colonel Baños’s views, including in the parts omitted, are “robust”, they were not antisemitic. Their rationale that the views in the publication, including the omissions on the antisemitic Rothchild conspiracy myth, were “robust” but not antisemitic was pure sophistry.
As the backlash continued, Penguin commissioned its independent external review. Baroness Neuberger was tasked with analysing both the English language and a translation of the Spanish edition of the book, along with any other aspects that she felt were relevant to making an overall assessment.
Campaign Against Antisemitism is pleased that Penguin Random House UK has finally arrived at the correct decision. It appears however that while senior management was not involved in the original decision to publish, it was involved in the decision to initially defend the book, and then to order an independent review, rather than immediately grasping that conspiracy theories about the Rothschild family are part of an antisemitic narrative that they should have played no part in perpetuating.