Conspiracy Theories and Culture Wars on Campus: A Dangerous “New Normal”?

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Conspiracy Theories and Culture Wars on Campus: A Dangerous “New Normal”?

9th February 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

In “Conspiracy U: A Case Study”, Scott A. Shay presents a case study of his alma mater, Northwestern University, in order to challenge the proliferation of anti-Zionist conspiracy theories championed on college campuses more generally by both the far right and far left.

In the book, Shay tackles the thorny question of how otherwise brilliant minds willingly come to embrace and espouse such patent falsehoods. He explains why Zionism, the movement for Jewish national self-determination, has become the focal point for both far-right and far-left conspiracy theories. His keen analysis reveals why Jews serve as the canary in the coal mine for more general “culture wars” that start on campus.

Conspiracy U delivers an urgent wake-up call for everyone who cares about the future of civil society and is concerned that universities today are failing at teaching students how to strive for truth but rather guiding students to blindly trust theories driven by ideology. The book provides a roadmap for reform based on universal moral and intellectual standards and offers a way out of the culture wars that are ripping America – and increasingly the UK – apart.

The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to join Scott A. Shay, where the author will be in conversation with HJS Executive Director Dr Alan Mendoza about findings from his recent book, “Conspiracy U: A Case Study”.



Scott A. Shay is a lead­ing busi­ness­man, thought leader, and author of several widely read books on pro­found issues fac­ing the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty. Scott is the co-founder and Chairman of Sig­na­ture Bank, well known as one of the best banks in New York for pri­vate busi­ness owners and as a leader in the emerging digital currency ecosystem.

Scott earned a BA in Economics and a Masters in Management from Northwestern University, a valuable experience due to the commitment of his professors to high academic standards and the ideals of the university’s motto. His third book, “Conspiracy U: A Case Study”, utilizes this motto as a backdrop to illustrate how his alma mater and academia in general have departed from these standards and ideals, sacrificing academic integrity and trustworthy scholarship in favor of Conspiracy Theories.

Scott is a distinguished leader in the Jewish community and an avid student of religion and its application to the world outside of the synagogue, church, or mosque. These interests are reflected in Conspiracy U, as well as his previous two books, “In Good Faith: Questioning Religion” and “Atheism and Getting Our Groove Back: How to Energize American Jewry”. Scott lives in New York City, NY.

Learn more about Scott and “Conspiracy U: A Case Study” at



Dr Alan Mendoza is a Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society, Britain’s leading thinktank fighting for the principles and alliances which keep societies free. He directs strategy for the organisation as well as acting as its main public face in mediums as diverse as the BBC, Sky, CNBC, Al-Jazeera. Bloomberg, LBC and TalkRadio. On the print side, Alan is a columnist for City AM, London’s business newspaper, and has contributed to The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Sun and a host of international newspapers and magazines.

Having obtained a B.A. (Hons.) and M.Phil in history at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Alan completed a Ph.D. at the same institution. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was the Parliamentary Candidate for the Conservative Party in the Brent Central Constituency for the 2015 General Election. He is also a Trustee of the President Reagan Memorial Fund Trust.





On the 9th of February 2022 Dr Alan Mendoza, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society, and Scott Shay, Co-Founder and Chairman of Signature Bank, discussed the finding in Scott Shay’s new book “Conspiracy U: A Case Study” on the falling standards of Universities in America and the UK.

Dr Mendoza began the discussion by introducing Mr Shay, his book and the topic of discussion. Mr Shay then spoke about how he wanted to debunk the slander that has been directed against Jews, Israel and Zionism, as well as his journey in understanding the motivations behind the Arthur Butz book, The Hoax. He spoke of the how anti-Zionism should be viewed as cover for antisemitism as well as the clear unity in messaging between the far right and far left on Israel. He also argued that universities, as a result of a decades long campaign, have geared these institutions of learning into vehicles for advocacy. He also discussed how antisemitism at Northwestern has gotten worse and how academics are rejecting facts for theory.

Dr Mendoza and Mr Shay then discussed the potential solutions to antisemitism on university campuses, and the need to champion evidence-based learning. The discussion then closed with a series of questions from how to deal with antisemitism on campus as a student, to the role of the media in this process.


9th February 2022
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


United Kingdom


Scott A. Shay


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