Jewish groups have denounced a presentation of antisemitic conspiracy theories at the most recent meeting of a Cincinnati-area tea party group.
The West Chester Tea Party hosted Harald Zieger, a Miami Township resident, who claimed without evidence that Jewish people control the economy, media and government, an antisemitic conspiracy theory that dates back to the 19th century and draws upon harmful stereotypes. Zieger gave his presentation to roughly 20 people assembled, according to a video of the speech reviewed by The Enquirer.
It’s not clear who the members of the West Chester Tea Party are. The Enquirer called and emailed Charis Peterson, who introduced Zieger at the meeting and distributes the organization’s newsletter, on Tuesday but did not receive a response prior to this article’s publication.
The tea party group in West Chester, a suburban township of 64,901, formed shortly after the Cincinnati Tea Party in 2009. The group describes itself as a nonpartisan organization of private citizens who value limited government, fiscal responsibility and the free market. The group has held several candidate forums since its founding and received some media attention for a protest it organized in favor of budget cuts in 2011.
More recently the organization has also made numerous antisemitic posts on its Facebook page.
Zieger, without evidence, described a vast conspiracy involving the government, investing firms and social media and pharmaceutical companies. He cited “The International Jew,” a series of antisemitic articles written by Henry Ford in the 1920s.
In a newsletter sent after the event, the West Chester Tea Party referred to “fake Jews” participating in human trafficking and child sacrifice, another conspiracy theory.
The meeting was held at St. Gertrude the Great Church in West Chester, which is not a part of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. According to the church’s website, it rejects Vatican II and requires female parishioners to wear head coverings and “modest dresses or skirts” rather than pants.
The antisemitic presentation does not appear to be out of place for the organization, whose Facebook page includes posts about antisemitic conspiracy theories along with claims without evidence about climate change, the COVID-19 vaccines and soy in food leading to more transgender people.
One post refers to the Jewish people as the “synagogue of Satan.” Another mentions the Rothschild family and implies a global conspiracy. Multiple posts reference a conspiracy theory about “fake Jews.”
The West Chester Tea Party also has a Gab account, where they’ve shared similar content.
State Rep. Sara Carruthers a Hamilton Republican who represents part of Butler County, disavowed the presentation in a statement posted on Wednesday. She said Zieger’s words “seek to normalize the dehumanization of our Jewish brothers and sisters, which is unacceptable.”
“There is a broad spectrum of acceptable discourse in political debate. Still, we – as Republicans and community leader – condemn those who engage in antisemitism under the guise of legitimate political activity. We disavow these words, and they do not speak for us,” she said in the statement.