They say Jewish bankers were responsible for putting Hitler in power? Did you know the Jews were behind the Communist conspiracy to subdue the West? Did you hear that HIV was spread in Chicago by Jewish doctors purposely infecting children with the virus? Did you know that the Jews are engaged in a plot to take over the government and economy of Japan? Did you know that the Jews were behind 9/11; in fact, just before the attack, 4,000 Jews who normally worked in the Twin Towers didn't show up for work that day?
Blaming Jews for all sorts of evil is nothing new. Prejudice and a search for scapegoats have demonized a number of minorities through the years. But the vilification of Jews has a longer track than most. In the Middle Ages the Jews were accused of starting the Black Death by poisoning the wells, or for killing Gentile children and mixing their blood with the Passover matzoth. You name it, the Jews have been accused of doing it. A drunken Mel Gibson in 2006 even accused them of starting all wars!
Of all the accusations, there's one that for the past century has refused to die, and it's the most absurd of all: the Jews are in a plot to take over the world and place it under the Hindu god Vishnu.
This accusation raises a number of questions such as why would the Jews be involved in a thousands-of-year-old conspiracy to place the world under an Eastern deity? Yet the larger question looms: Where did such a ludicrous idea arise, and why do some folks still believe it?
The answer is easy. It's called The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion , an 80-page forgery of such silliness it's hard to believe that anyone could take them seriously. Unfortunately, many have. As Rabbi Joseph Teluskin once wrote: "Thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands, of Jews have died because of this infamous forgery." And though the book itself, long ago easily discredited as a hoax, has pretty much faded in the West, with the exception of the radical right, it's being highly touted in many parts of the Arab world. It was even the basis of a TV series in Egypt a few years ago.
The Protocols Plot
Purported to be the secret minutes of the 1897 Basel Congress of the World Zionist Organization, the protocols tell of a Jewish plan for world dominion. As the protocols themselves state, the Jews first want to ruin the morals of the Gentiles: "The peoples of the GOYIM are bemused with alcoholic liquors; their youth has grown stupid on classicism and from early immorality, into which it has been inducted by our special agents—by tutors, lackeys, governesses in the houses of the wealthy, by clerks and others, by our women in the places of dissipation frequented by the GOYIM."
As part of their diabolical plot, they take over the world press: "The part played by the Press is to keep pointing our requirements supposed to be indispensable, to give voice to the complaints of the people, to express and to create discontent. It is in the Press that the triumph of freedom of speech finds its incarnation. But the GOYIM States have not known how to make use of this force; and it has fallen into our hands. Through the Press we have gained the power to influence while remaining ourselves in the shade; thanks to the Press we have got the GOLD in our hands, notwithstanding that we have had to gather it out of the oceans of blood and tears. But it has paid us, though we have sacrificed many of our people. Each victim on our side is worth in the sight of God a thousand GOYIM."
According to the book, the Jews were behind some of the more disdainful philosophical trends, all designed to ruin and degrade the Gentiles: "Think carefully of the successes we arranged for Darwinism, Marxism, Nietzscheism. To us Jews, at any rate, it should be plain to see what a disintegrating importance these directives have had upon the minds of the GOYIM."
Plus, too, the learned Elders plan to put the world in an economic crisis, from which they will emerge rulers: "We shall create by all the secret subterranean methods open to us and with the aid of gold, which is all in our hands, A UNIVERSAL ECONOMIC CRISIS WHEREBY WE SHALL THROW UPON THE STREETS WHOLE MOBS OF WORKERS SIMULTANEOUSLY IN ALL THE COUNTRIES OF EUROPE. These mobs will rush delightedly to shed the blood of those whom, in the simplicity of their ignorance, they have envied from their cradles, and whose property they will then be able to loot."
And, finally, the climax of the Jewish conspiracy: "Our kingdom will be an apologia of divinity, the divinity of Vishnu, in whom is found its personification."
The Origins and Spread
Much as has been written over the years regarding the origins of The Protocols. It was, apparently, concocted in the early 1900s by the Russian secret police, plagiarized from a book called Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelliand Montesquieu by a French lawyer, Maurice Joly, in 1865. Though Joly's book had nothing to do with the Jews, whoever wrote The Protocols simply took Joly's work and gave it an anti-Jewish slant.
By the early 1920s, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion had become an international best seller. Henry Ford, of car fame, was a big promoter, and even had the Protocols serialized in his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent . He then published the series in a book that sold about a half million in the United States alone. The sad thing was, many folks took it seriously, too.
"Those who feel libeled by the Protocols ," said Norman Jaques, M.P., in Canadian House of Commons in 1943, "have the most obvious remedy in the world; all they have to do is to ruse and denounce the policy of them, instead of denying the authorship.. . . But when you come to read them, how can any reasonable man deny the truth of what is contained in them?"
The Protocols had another admirer, Adolf Hitler, who cited the document as proof that his anti-Jewish campaign was necessary to protect Germans from the Jewish menace. As he wrote in Mein Kampf: "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 , so infinitely hated by the Jews. They are based on a forgery, the Frankfurter Zeitung moans and screams once every week: the best proof that they are authentic. What many Jews may do unconsciously is here consciously exposed. And that is what matters. It is completely indifferent from what Jewish brain these disclosures originate; the important thing is that with positively terrifying certainty they reveal the nature and activity of the Jewish people and expose their inner contexts as well as their ultimate final aims. The best criticism applied to them, however, is reality. Anyone who examines the historical development of the last hundred years from the standpoint of this book will at once understand the screaming of the Jewish press. For once this book has become the common property of a people, the Jewish menace may be considered as broken."
The Protocols Today
After the carnage of World War II, the vast promotion of the book greatly ceased, particularly in the West, though it never stopped being read, believed, and spread around the world—from Russia to Latin America—even if much less than before. While it's viewed in the West pretty much for what it is, a ridiculous fabrication, in many Arab lands it's taken seriously. In Egypt in 2002, a 41-part TV series, "Horseman Without a Horse," told about a turn-of-the-century Egyptian journalist who, using numerous disguises, uncovers the truth about the Protocols. The forgery is very popular in Syria, where the government-controlled TV have run shows promoting it as true. In 1997 the two-volume eighth edition of the Protocols was published by Syria's Mustafa Tlass' publishing house and sold at the Damascus International Book Fair. At the 2005 Cairo International Book Fair, a new 2005 edition of the Protocols was on display.
What's the future for the book? Who knows, though one thing is sure: We should never underestimate the power of a lie. If the idea of a book promoting a Jewish conspiracy to place the world under the dominion of a regime that will be "an apologia of divinity, the divinity of Vishnu," could survive, even thrive, through much of the twentieth century, then no doubt it will be around through much of the twenty-first as well.