A recent article in the Times of India business section has raised quite a few eyebrows. The article, published in India’s third largest newspaper, suggested a connection between the Jewish concept of Shmittah and the current global financial hardship caused by crashes in international stock markets.
Many have cried foul, claiming the articles assertions are a form of anti-Semitism. In the comments section, many readers were insulted, with one critic claiming the writer was “perhaps unconsciously borrowing from anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,” labeling the article “pernicious and slanderous.” Another reader called the article “blatant anti-Semitism.”
Is this article another attempt at anti-Semitism, a modern version of Protocols of the Elders of Zion, or is it an unexpected affirmation that Biblical concepts are true and relevant in our modern world?
Breaking Israel News has written several articles on the topic of Shmittah cycle, most recently detailing a statistical analysis of the Shmittah as it appears throughout the history of the American stock market. There were many reactions to the article, including those who dismissed it, claiming that Shmittah was an agricultural system for allowing fields to lie fallow. In fact, Shmittah is also a system for absolving loans and wiping out debt every seven years, so in its Biblical form, the seven year cycle clearly applies to financial systems.
The Times of India article linked Shmittah to several known financial disasters, citing the largest Wall Street crash in 1987, the 9/11 attacks and the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, which led to a major low in the Dow Jones, as all being connected to the Shmittah. Of course, the concern on Dalal Street, Mumbai’s version of New York’s Wall Street, is for the future centered on their financial investments.
The author of the Times of India article takes an almost frantic interest in this obscure Biblical concept, even quoting the head of a leading investment firm in India saying that Shmittah cannot be ignored. But he is not the only one.
On August 24 and August 25, a Google Trends search for “Shemitah” had a score of 100, meaning 10 percent or more of all the searches on that day was for this particular word. A YouTube video on the subject got over one million views in two months. Social network platforms even have groups dedicated to Shmittah and coping with potential crashes.
The global concern surrounding Shmittah and its connection to financial disasters is understandable. While it seems clear that the Times of India particular article does not mean to imply that Jews or Jewish law caused financial catastrophes, the author is simply noting a coincidental relationship that investors might be wise to take into account when planning their investment strategy.