'See that bird, swooping low over the Arabian desert, my son? Spot that shark swimming the shallows of the Red Sea, beloved daughter? What do they have in common? No, no, no. Not that they're both vertebrates -everyone knows that. No - they're both Mossad agents, my children, that's what."
This, or something like it, seems to be what quite a lot of perfectly normal people in the Middle East (and some slightly less normal ones over here) believe. A few weeks back, a vulture, or maybe a bald eagle, landed in the city of Hyaal in Saudi Arabia. But this one, the local people noticed, had something metallic attached to its leg. When they captured the beast, they discovered that the "something" was a GPS transmitter. So what else could this be but a spy-vulture, sent up by the Zionists to spy on Arab lands?
A short time earlier, the Egyptian coast was mildly ravaged by a series of shark attacks on tourists. You may recall that, after the first attacks, the authorities declared that it was safe to go back in the water, at which a rogue shark, inconveniently unaware of the reassurances, then bit and killed a German snorkeller. There were two broad explanations available for local people. One was that the authorities had been premature, and the second was that the sharks had been controlled by Israel in an attempt to sabotage the Egyptian tourist industry.
The governor of South Sinai, Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha, thought that this latter scenario was quite possible. "It is not out of the question, but it needs time to confirm", he told journalists. One may imagine that the film of such a plot - confirmed or not- would feature a fin, ominous music and the title: JEWS.
Isn't that quite funny? But sometimes one forgets to wonder what it actually feels like to believe such things. Suppose you really did live your life under the impression that a real group of people had the power to harness fish, bird and God knows what else besides, to their malign purpose, whereas you didn't.
If you felt like this, you might go to the website of Iranian government broadcaster, Press TV (and haven't they had such celebrities as Andrew Gilligan, Lauren Booth and George Galloway presenting for them?) and discover far more nefarious plots than those involving Ziovultures and Judosharks.
A couple of weeks ago, one Hassan Hanizadeh declared that it was not Al Qaeda that was behind the suicide attack on Egyptian Coptic Christians, but Jew-know-who.
"Although, at first glance, the finger is pointed at extremist Wahabi or Salafi groups," declared the metaphor-mixing Iranian, "it goes without saying that no Muslim, whatever their political leanings may be, will ever commit such an inhumane act." Whereas to some people stuff like this is second nature. "All the existing evidence," he went on, declining to give any, "proves that the Alexandria church explosion is the handiwork of the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad."
Over here, the "freelance reporter" and pro-Palestinian activist (active whether the Palestinians like it or not) Maidhc Ó Cathail, discerned behind the Wikileaks saga, the fell hand of the Ziaspora. Julian Assange is apparently represented by the same law firm that advises the Rothschild Trust, and Lord Rothschild is on the board of BSkyB, which is chaired by Rupert Murdoch, and Rupert Murdoch has Mr Netanyahu to stay, so QED, Netanyahu is behind Assange.
I could blame Mr Ó Cathail for reproducing his delusions, but this piece is about what makes his lobes operate in the way they do. In short, why does he think Jews are so absurdly, incredibly, almost inconceivably bloody clever?
Here's where I get controversial. It's the JC's fault. Not just the JC, of course, but the mentality of the JC. If you read these pages every week, wouldn't you too get the impression that just about every Jew in the world was a tycoon, a chess prodigy or conducted an orchestra? Where is the stuff about stupid Jews? (I exempt the Letters Page from this stricture.)
When was the last time you saw a feature on bankrupted Jews, feckless Jews, Jews who can't tie their shoelaces, Jews who have only cursory bat- or barmitzvahs because they simply can't remember the bloody words? How about a "Rubbish Israeli Products" feature? It'd be (a) true and (b) might help kill the myth of the malign SuperJew.
Except, of course, it wouldn't. Because it, too, would be part of the plot.