Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes accepted, the public becomes unquestioning and desensitized to it. This allows ignorance to be confused with truth. While listening to the audiotapes of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” the most shocking thing wasn’t how widely available it was in multiple forms and across platforms. It wasn’t the people who passionately preached its message in the videos, essays, and comments. Rather it was the contents of the protocols themselves that was most upsetting. I’ve heard all it before from people who I wouldn’t consider extremists. I heard the same thoughts uttered in popular media from respected journalists, celebrities, politicians, and other respected figures in our society. Even today the impact of this pamphlet is felt throughout our society. Unknowingly people are repeating the same conspiracy, vague prophesies, along with their justifications even today not knowing the source of where these ideas come from.
The ones who are aware of where the ideas come from and embrace the book anyway reject all evidence to the contrary. After all “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” does something clever. It claims that any evidence from scholars is fake, that before anything comes forward that the Jews had a hand in manipulating first, and that any harm any individual Jew faces even collectively is just their attempt to get sympathy so the public doesn’t see their plans for world domination.
For people who believe every word contained in this pamphlet, and anyone who embraces conspiracy theories this makes their world view almost impossible to destroy. They believe in a world order, a single group of individuals who hold the strings behind everything so that anything that is brought up as evidence, (no matter how valid) to its falsehood could quickly be dismissed. The idea is that Jews as a group control everything, and as such any tragedies (including the Jewish Holocaust) must be their doing. Even if you could convince Holocaust deniers that the Holocaust did indeed happen, many would fall back on “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, which states that Jews are willing to give up their own in order to obtain world domination.
This idea that Jews control everything presents many problems, because it means that the Jewish people can do nothing to prove innocence from the conspiracy theory, and can do no good period. For instance, say a Jewish person happens to hold a high position in society like a CEO of a major media outlet, or a lawyer. A person who embraces the Jewish conspiracy would point at this as undeniable proof of their worldwide power and control, claiming that they will use the position to further the Jewish agenda. It would make no difference if they used their position to make nature documentaries or influential Christian movies. Conspiracy theorist would claim that it’s all part of their plan, that in order to achieve their mission they are trying to feign innocence so people won’t wise up to the truth. A Jewish person could hold a low level in society, maybe as a janitor, or even a homeless man. But conspiracy theorist would have an answer to this one too. They would claim that the Jewish people have all the wealth (gold) in the world and are keeping it away from the public (or gentile). As such these homeless Jewish people and general low class Jewish people are faking it so we won’t know the truth. They want to create a false sense of security so that when a country, or the world goes into a state of economic crisis no one will blame them for the crash. They are faking homelessness and poverty so we’ll never know it was they who took all the wealth away and create economic crisis for others. This type of thinking relies on the belief that Jews are a race and that they have inherit evil qualities bend on destroying non-Jews (or gentiles). Anything you bring up will fall back on this belief, this type of thinking is called circular reasoning. Did something bad happen in the world? The Jews did it. Did something good happen in the world? The Jews did it to mask their evil plot. Is a Jew fighting for social justice and goodwill? It’s all a cover for their need to destroy the gentiles. Is a Jew talking about racism? He’s just trying to divert attention against other races so people won’t be aware that their only problem, the root to all their problems collectively is the Jew. And so on and so forth. This type of conspiracy would be a convenient scapegoat for unemployed soldiers and later most of Germany who were discontented with the aftermath of War War I. It would justify their actions and allow others to justify their silence.
Binjamin W. Segel wrote my sentiments best when he wrote, “From its first publication in 1903, the book was meant to serve a political function, to influence powerful individuals or mobilize large groups of people to think or act in particularly destructive and self-deluding ways. Over time, the political agendas of the publishers of the Protocols have changed, but the sowing of hatred and the urge ot self-defense against the ‘enemy of mankind’ have remained common to them all. This is not innocent literature.” (Segal, Levy, 1995, p. 4)
The concept of the Protocols had its beginnings during the French Revolution when a French Jesuit, Abbe Barruel opposed the French Revolution and blamed it on the Order of the Freemasons claiming they were operating a secret plot. This concept was inspired by a mathematician who disliked the Masons. The Jews weren’t mentioned but a forged letter was sent to him by someone opposing Napoleon Bonaparte’s leniency toward the Jewish blaming the Jews for the conspiracy theory instead of the Masons. (jewishvirtuallibrary, 2016) This conspiracy theory would continue to pop up all over the world, be translate into many languages, be taught in some schools as fact, be used as justification to isolate Jewish people, incarcerate them, abuse them, expel them from their homes and countries, deny their citizenship, and even murder them. The second publication that inspired the protocols can be found in “Dialogues in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu” published by Maurice Joly as satire in 1864. Jews are still never mentioned instead it is a criticism of Napoleon III showing the destruction of freedoms from the public by having two characters talk in the pits of hell. Although it was written anonymously, Maurice would be caught, tried and sentenced to prison for its publication. (“jewishvirtuallibrary”, 2016) The link between these two works would be found in1921 by Times reporter Philip Graves, who debunks the forgery that year in his article “The End of the Protocols”. The very next year Henry Ford publishes “The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem”, apparently the debunked forgery fell on deaf ears. (Segal, Levy, 1995, p. xii) The Jews officially became introduced in this conspiracy theory when the phamlet that Murice published landed into the hands of a German anti-Semite, Hermann Goedsche. He worked in a post office but was also a spy for the Prussian secret police. He had previously forged evidence against a democratic leader and he would do the same with “Dialogues” turning it into a Jewish conspiracy with a series of novels called “Biarritz” in 1868. It was in one of the chapters that he spins it into a secret rabbi conference meeting at midnight going over the past hundred years and making plans for the future. It popped up in Russia where it was translated under “Rabbi’s Speech” and used to justify Czar Nicholas II actions and be an answer to the reform passed by liberals who were tolerate of the Jewish people. Agents of the Russian secret police rewrote it to the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” It became public in 1905 with Russia’s defeat in the Russo- Japanese War. Jews were blamed for their defeat, the revolution and constitution. A propaganda campaign started with the publication of priest Sergius Nilus in 1905. It led to pogroms and later was used after the Bolshevik Revolution. Through Russian emigrants the protocols were brought to Western Europe and translated. Before Philip Grave published his piece, another person Lucien Wolf in 1920 pieced together the forgery from earlier works by Joly and Goedsche. (“jewishvirtuallibrary”, 2016) Since then many academics such as history lecturers, professors, prominent historians, politicians, and even the Assistant Director of the CIA would come out publically to denounce the Protocols as pure forgery and nothing more. None of this has stopped its circulation and continued influence.
“Anti-Semitism: History of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”.” The “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. Web. 31 May 2016. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/protocols.html
Segel, B. W., and Richard S. Levy. A Lie and a Libel: The History of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Lincoln, NE: U of Nebraska, 1995. Print.