Red Elephants founder and white nationalist Vincent James Foxx recently marked the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by promoting a conspiracy about Jewish involvement. He and his guest, antisemitic pundit Ryan Dawson, devoted an episode of Foxx’s DLive show to covering claims that Israel had foreknowledge of, or involvement in, the attacks.
Foxx, who was recently banned from YouTube for violating the platform’s anti-hate speech policies, told his audience that he wanted to “prove to people out there that Israel had some involvement in 9/11.” Dawson raised the “dancing Israelis” conspiracy, which centers around five Israelis who were interviewed by the FBI on the day of the attacks.
A woman witnessed five men — later revealed to be Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg, Oded Ellner, Yaron Shimuel, and Omar Marmari — at a nearby parking lot in Union City, New Jersey. The group, she said, was filming the attack and looked “happy.” Suspicious, she contacted the authorities and reported the license plate number of the group’s van.
They were arrested and interrogated by the FBI, who concluded that their company, Urban Moving, “may have been providing cover for an Israeli intelligence operation.” One of the men explained that they filmed the attack to “document the event.” Ultimately they were not charged with any crime, and were later deported to Israel.
But as the FBI explained to ABC News in 2006, they had “not identified anybody who in this country had pre-knowledge of the events of 9/11.”
As Dawson recounted the incident, Foxx scrolled through an article about the “dancing Israelis” for the independent media outlet Mint Press News. The article relies on heavily redacted FBI documents related to the incident that were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. It’s title suggests there was “apparent Mossad foreknowledge” of 9/11.
The evidence provided was far from conclusive, however. Much of the article was spent analyzing redacted photos of the Israeli men — one was pointing, presumably in the direction of the towers, while another was holding a lit lighter. The black-and-white photos are of poor quality; faces are censored, and the towers cannot be seen.
The New York Times noted in November 2001 that, according to the men’s lawyer, one photo depicted “Sivan Kurzberg holding a lighted lighter in the foreground, with the smoldering wreckage in the background.” Mint Press News called the photos “damning,” though inappropriate photographs do not necessarily imply foreknowledge.
But the article was also careful to note that Israeli intelligence warned the U.S. government of a potential large-scale attack — as did intelligence agencies of numerous other countries. And it did not discount the possibility that, if the men had Mossad ties, they “were acting independently as a rogue agency.”
Also notable is the fact that the article relies on claims made by antisemitic figures. One of those figures is Ryan Dawson himself, whose ties to white nationalists were not disclosed. The other is the pseudonymous individual who made the initial FOIA request. The individual’s suspended Twitter account, @DualCitiznPepe, tweeted antisemitic content:
Dawson continued to discuss the “dancing Israelis” conspiracy, peppering his rant with additional, debunked claims. For example, citing former CBS reporter Dan Rather who, on the day of the attacks, reported that a van with explosives had been stopped on the George Washington Bridge.
Dawson neglected to mention that these early reports were erroneous.
Then-NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik, when asked about “possible resources” found in New Jersey, stated that a van with three men had been stopped, but that there were no explosives. In fact, a December 2001 report by FAIR called Rather out for this false claim, as well as one that a car bomb detonated outside the State Department.
In its 2011 report “Decade of Deceit: Anti-Semitic 9/11 Conspiracy Theories 10 Years Later,” the Anti-Defamation League noted that this “theory has circulated since 2001” and originally “painted the five Israelis as ‘spies’ who knew the attacks were going to happen.” However, it “evolved” into the claim that “the five Israelis were actually directing the attacks” and “began dancing when they realized that their mission of creating a false flag operation had been accomplished.”
In August 2019 fliers blaming Jews for the 9/11 attacks and referencing the “dancing Israelis” were found in Novato, CA. In September 2019 graffiti was discovered at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville that read “JEWS DID 9-11” and “Google: DANCING ISRAELIS.” And on his Telegram channel, Vincent Foxx praised an adherent of the racist “groyper” movement who asked Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk to Google “dancing Israelis.”