Viral sensation and country music star Oliver Anthony has been found by Newsweek to be promoting videos about 9/11 which have been described by a group that combats antisemitism as dangerous conspiracy theories.
The previously unknown singer became an overnight sensation when his single “Rich Men of Richmond” went viral in early August.
Anthony, a former factory worker from Farmville, Virginia, now holds five songs in the top 12 of the iTunes song chart.
However, a playlist he created on his official YouTube account includes a number of choices that are likely to prove controversial.
Titled “Videos That Make Your Noggin Bigger,” it contains 49 videos with topics ranging from music videos to psychology, many from the academic and influencer Jordan Peterson, and commentary on the “decline of society.”
Among them are also videos of news reports and discussions about events surrounding the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., which appear to suggest Israel was involved in or had prior knowledge of the attacks. Campaign groups say such narratives contribute to antisemitic tropes.
Newsweek contacted Anthony directly by email early on August 22 but had not received a reply at the time of publishing. We will update this article if we receive a response.
The ‘Dancing Israelis’ Conspiracy Theory
In 2001, a group of terrorists from al-Qaeda hijacked commercial airlines flying them into New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon. One plane headed for the White House crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after a team of passengers attempted to stop the hijackers. More than 2,970 people lost their lives.
Conspiracy theories about Jewish people’s role in 9/11 have persevered since the attacks. Such theories are often “a continuation of centuries-old antisemitic tropes about Jews supposedly manipulating world events for their own benefit,” according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a group which aims to end antisemitism.
Two of the videos in Anthony’s playlist refer to the concept of “dancing Israelis,” which is a term used by people who claim the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad was behind the attacks.
“The most common ‘proof’ cited is the false claim that five Israeli Mossad agents were arrested on 9/11 by police who observed them filming and celebrating the attack,” the ADL wrote on its website.
The Nationalist Social Club (NSC), a neo-Nazi group based in New England, has spray-painted graffiti multiple times in recent years that features the Star of David and reads, “Mossad did 9/11! Google ‘Dancing Israelis.'”
This claim stems from an account from a witness who saw the five men in a parking lot in New Jersey. She said that they were smiling and giving each other high fives. She also saw them photographing each other with the Twin Towers in flames behind them.
The men were arrested and the FBI conducted an investigation. It concluded that none of the Israelis had any information or prior knowledge of the attacks, and none of them were engaged in intelligence gathering in the U.S.
Nevertheless, speculation about the men has persisted. One of the videos on Anthony’s playlist is called “9/11 Dancing Israelis and Urban Moving Systems” on the Truther TV YouTube account. It features a 2002 ABC news report from the 20/20 program about the five arrested Israelis.
Another is called “FOX News Segment on The Dancing Israelis,” on a YouTube account called Make Schumer Cry Again, which covers allegations about Israeli intelligence operations on U.S. soil.
Another video on the playlist, called “Richard Gage Reveals Who Was Behind 9/11” appears to have been removed. It features a discussion with Gage, who has described himself as a “9/11 truth leader,” about whether a Jewish businessman took out an insurance policy before the attack from which he may have profited.
X user Ben Lorber took a screenshot the video before it was removed.
“Oliver Anthony, country singer behind the new conservative anthem ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’, has a public YouTube playlist recommending ‘videos that make your noggin [head] get bigger’. Three of the 48 videos are devoted to antisemitic conspiracy theories about 9/11,” Lorber wrote on X.