The anti-GMO movement was recently endorsed by David Duke, a former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Duke is a Holocaust denier who served one-term as a Louisiana State Representative. He has also unsuccessfully run several times for Congress, governor, and even president.
Ignoring her “troubling ties” to the organic industry, Duke seems concerned about Hillary Clinton’s ties to the biotechnology industry. But in his tweet he takes this conspiracy theory a step further by connecting Monsanto to his hatred of Judaism, as indicated by the parentheses around Monsanto.
Lindsey Ellefson from MEDIAITE explains:
Neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, and white nationalists put the triple parentheses around the name of a Jewish writer or influencer to quickly and quietly identify them to other Neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, and white nationalists. Sometimes, a blog that employs a large number of Jews may also get the (((treatment))).
In other words, Duke is insinuating that Monsanto is controlled by “The Jews”. An opinion he appears to not be alone in sharing, as a quick twitter search for the words “Monsanto” and “zionist” confirms.
Like most conspiracy theories, this one appears to be based on a couple of facts that quickly got twisted. A Jewish family with the name Monsanto fled to Holland from Spain to escape the inquisition, with at least one branch later finding their way to the Americas. They have a lot of descendents, and most appear to have converted to Catholicism. The founder of Monsanto, John Queeny Francis (a Catholic himself) named the company after his wife’s family. According to census and immigration records, this branch of the Monsanto family, however, did not arrive in the Americas from Europe until the late 1800s.
Many sources seem to indicate (including Wikipedia) that Francis named the company Monsanto to secure financing from a Monsanto sugar baron in the Caribbean, but there does not seem to be any historical record of a connection between these two branches of the name.
John Francis Queeny and Olga Monsanto were married at the Catholic St. Paul’s Church in Hoboken, NJ (where Olga lived at the time). According to New Jersey Wills and Probate Records (1792-1991), Olga’s parents were Mauricio (with Moreis and Morris being alternate spellings) and Emma Monsanto. American census records and German passenger lists indicate that Mauricio (a civil engineer) was born in Germany with Emma (hotel house keeper) being born in Holland. They would take their daughter to St. Thomas, before later settling in New Jersey.
The Monsanto name, being the paternal name, is really irrelevant here. In Jewish law the religion of the mother is what determines whether or not someone is Jewish. Olga Monsanto’s maternal grandmother was Caroline Magdalene Beckmann of Hannover, Germany. She was Lutheran.
The idea that David Duke would buy into anti-GMO conspiracies should not surprise anyone. Crank magnetism is a real thing. Psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky published a study for Plos One showing that belief in conspiracy theories makes one much more likely to believe in multiple conspiracies. For example, people who think AIDs was created by the US government are far more likely to also believe that the connection between lung cancer and smoking is built on junk science.
The human brain evolved to find patterns, it helped early man survive. The problem occurs in the fact that the brain will perceive patterns when none are really there. Writing for Psychology Today Mark Van Vugt describes why so many people accept that there are massive conspiracies against them.
Another evolved function of the mind is to respond swiftly to threats. The biggest threat facing humans throughout history has been other people, particularly when they teamed up against you. If you consider societies that still live as in ancestral times, such as the Yanomamo in the Amazon region or the Kung San in Botswana then the most common form of violence involves a conspiracy directed against a particular individual who has been accused of malice, adultery, or witchcraft.
So whether it is one of the smallest religions on the planet somehow managing to control the world, or multi national corporations trying to depopulate the planet, these conspiracy theories are part of a primal survival instinct gone amok.