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Protocols of the Elders of Zion

"The only statement I care to make about the Protocols is that they fit in with what is going on. They are sixteen years old, and they have fitted the world situation up to this time. They fit it now." --Henry Ford, 2-17-21, whose newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, cited the Protocols as evidence of an alleged Jewish threat until at least 1927

"To what extent the whole existence of this people is based on a continuous lie is shown incomparably by the Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion...." --Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a forgery made in Russia for the Okhrana (secret police), which blames the Jews for the country's ills. It was first privately printed in 1897 and was made public in 1905. It is copied from a nineteenth century novel by Hermann Goedsche (Biarritz, 1868) and claims that a secret Jewish cabal is plotting to take over the world.

The basic story was composed by Goedsche, a German novelist and anti-Semite who used the pseudonym of Sir John Retcliffe. Goedsche stole the main story from another writer, Maurice Joly, whose Dialogues in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu (1864) involved a Hellish plot aimed at opposing Napoleon III. Goedsche's original contribution consists mainly of introducing Jews to do the plotting to take over the world.

The Russians used big chunks of a Russian translation of Goedsche's novel, published it separately as the Protocols, and claimed they were authentic. Their purpose was political: to strengthen the czar Nicholas II's position by exposing his opponents as allies with those who were part of a massive conspiracy to take over the world. Thus, the Protocols are a forgery of a plagiarized fiction.

The Protocols were exposed as a forgery by Lucien Wolf in The Jewish Bogey and the Forged Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (London: Press Committee of the Jewish Board of Deputies, 1920). In 1921, Philip Graves, a correspondent for the London Times, publicized the forgery. Herman Bernstein in The Truth About "The Protocols of Zion": A Complete Exposure (1935) also tried and failed to convince the world of the forgery.

The Protocols were published in 1920 in a Michigan newspaper started by Henry Ford mainly to attack Jews and Communists. Even after they were exposed as a forgery, Ford's paper continued to cite the document. Adolf Hitler later used the Protocols to help justify his attempt to exterminate Jews during World War II.

The Protocols hoax continues to fool people and is still cited by certain individuals and groups as the cause of all their woes. 

See also Holocaust denial, Illuminati, and shoehorning.


further reading

Bronner, Stephen Eric. A Rumor About the Jews : Reflections on Antisemitism and the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (St Martins Press,  2000) 

Cohn, Norman Rufus Colin. Warrant for Genocide; the Myth of the Jewish World-conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (New York: Harper & Row, 1967).

Goldberg, Isaac. The so-called "Protocols of the Elders of Zion"; a Definitive Exposure of One of the Most Malicious Lies in History (Girard, Kansas, Haldeman-Julius Publications, 1936).

Segel, B. W. A Lie and a Libel: the History of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Richard S. Levy, translator & editor, (Lincoln, NE : University of Nebraska Press, 1995).

United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Protocols of the Elders of Zion; a fabricated "historic" document; a report prepared by the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws ... Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1964.

Wolf, Lucien. The Myth of the Jewish Menace in World Affairs; or, The Truth About the Forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion (New York, The Macmillan company, 1921).

websites

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion

What's the story with the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion"? The Straight Dope

news stories

Conspiracy theories say Israel did it Muslims blame Sharon, Mossad By James Cox USA TODAY

Pakistanis Buy Into the Conspiracy Theories By John Daniszewsk

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