Thursday, June 09, 2005

Oil, Israel and Conspiracies

Meryl Yourish finds this article funny:

More than two decades ago, John Brown grew mesmerized by an evangelical preacher's theory that the Bible hinted at a major oil field deep beneath Israel's soil.


Two months ago, Brown's Zion Oil & Gas Co. began drilling a deep well near Kibbutz Maanit, 25 miles north of Tel Aviv, a site that lies at the intersection of faith and science.

Brown, 65, cites a passage from Genesis that quotes Jacob telling Joseph that God will give him "blessings of the deep that couches beneath," which he believes refers to oil.

The passage says the blessings will be on "the head of Joseph," which Brown reads as the geographic location in ancient Israel occupied by the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim, Joseph's sons. Maanit falls within that area.

Zion's geological experts say previous wells drilled in the area showed the site has good potential for oil, Brown said.


Brown is not the first prospector to combine faith and science in the search for Israeli oil. Other Evangelical oilmen, though few with Brown's financing, have tried their luck here, with no success.

Last year, Tovia Luskin, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, began drilling about 15 miles south of Brown's site, inspired in part by the same "deep that couches beneath" Biblical passage.
OK, I admit this is pretty damn silly. The idea that the Bible could be used as a guide to oil prospecting is the sort of superstitious nonsense that could only occur to a fundamentalist and gives the rest of us a bad name.

But what really interests me in this article is the following passage:
In a Middle East rich with petroleum, Israel has struggled with little success to find deposits of its own for more than 50 years. Large oil companies' reluctance to work here and risk angering major Arab oil producers has hindered exploration, as have unfavorable geological conditions. [emphasis mine]
So the Arabs are putting pressure on major oil companies not to do business with Israel? Shouldn't the International Conspiracy of Jewish Bankers be doing something about this? Or the Americanmilitaryindustrialcomplex? How about Dick Cheney?

Seriously, though, I'm always amazed at how the crazy conspiracy theories correctly identify the problem but get the players wrong. There is an oil consipiracy in the middle east but it isn't us who are running it.

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