Modern Antisemitism: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion

In 1911, a Jewish brick maker named Mendel Beilis was arrested in Kiev on the charge of murdering a Christian boy to use his blood in Jewish rituals—a hideous fabrication that had been the cause of Jewish death and persecution since the Middle Ages. The typical charge was that Jews needed the blood of a Christian child for use in matzah. Although blood libels originated in Europe in about the 13th century, they eventually made their way into the Arab world, one of the most famous examples being the Damascus libel of 1840. Now suddenly in the twentieth century, they appeared again in an official proceeding in an imperial Russian court. Beilis was acquitted, but the charge of ritual murder and the perception of the demonic nature of the Jew and Judaism were given wide credence as a result of the exceptional effort the Russian prosecutors put into blackening the name of Judaism. Emerging from the Russian shadows at this time was a book purporting to expose to the world a deeply hidden Jewish plot for dominating the world. It was called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

[Though] the charge of ritual murder [in the Beilis case] was impeded and in some measure defeated by the courts and the law, the charge of secret conspiracy for world domination, less subject to judicial review, was making greater headway. As Jewish emancipation progressed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and Jews became more prominent in business and banking, literature and the arts, journalism and politics, the doctrine that “the Jew is underneath the lot” [1] began to seem, to many who were frustrated and angry, to provide the answer to their questions and to indicate the solution to their problems.

For this doctrine, too, a proof text was needed, and since none existed, not even with the kind of distortions used by the anti-Semitic Talmudists, it had to be invented. It was for this purpose that the famous Protocols of the Elders of Zion were devised. Any rational modern reader of the Protocols cannot but wonder at the crudity of the inventors of this text, and the credulity of those who believed it. Among the many strange “secrets” revealed in the book is that the Jews make the sons of the nobility study Latin and Greek as the best way of undermining their morals, and that the Jews ordered the building of underground railways in the major cities of Europe so that when the time comes they can blow up any capital which resists their rule. Nor do those who believe in the Protocols find it odd that the Jews, in their own secret writings, should moreover do so in the specific terminology of Christian anti-Semitism. Yet despite these and many other similar absurdities, the book has gone through countless editions, been distributed in millions of copies, and must rank very near the Bible in the number of languages into which it has been translated.

The text has a curious history. In its earliest extant form, it has nothing whatever to do with either Jews or anti-Semites, but consisted of a pamphlet written in the 1860s against Napoleon III. The forgers took this pamphlet, substituted world Jewry for the French emperor, and added a number of picturesque details borrowed from an obscure German novel. The Protocols first appeared in about 1895, and were almost certainly the work of a group of members of the czarist Russian secret police stationed in Paris. For some time, the book was used only in Russia. It had little influence even there and none at all outside. Its worldwide fame began with the Russian Revolution of 1917. In the course of the bitter civil wars that raged across Russia in the years 1918-1921, the leaders of the White Russians used the Protocols extensively to persuade the Russian people that the so-called revolution was no more than a Jewish plot to impose a Jewish government on Russia, as a step toward the ultimate aim of Jewish world domination.

The Protocols and the doctrines which it was used to propagate had their effect in the brutal massacres of Jews during the Russian Civil War. At the same time, White Russian agents carried the Protocols to all the countries of Europe and the Americas, as evidence of their interpretation of the significance of the Revolution and the nature of the new government in Moscow. In this they achieved quite extraordinary success. In Britain, both the Times and the Morning Post gave the Protocols extensive treatment, and the Spectator even demanded a royal commission to decide whether British Jews were in fact “subjects of a secret government.” In America, the Protocols were widely circulated under the title The Jewish Peril and were in particular publicized and distributed by the automobile magnate Henry Ford, an obsessive anti-Semite who wrote a series of articles on “The International Jew,” which he later reprinted as a separate booklet.

In 1921, the Times newspaper of London published some articles by its Istanbul correspondent, who had discovered a copy of the original French pamphlet and thus exposed the Protocols as a forgery; in 1927 even Henry Ford admitted that his accusations were unfounded. From this time onward, in the English-speaking world, the Protocols were confined to the lunatic fringe. But in Hitler’s Germany, they provided a major theme in Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda, and like the White Russian agents before them, Nazi peddlers of anti-Semitism were instrumental in distributing the Protocols all over the world.

The Protocols, though by far the most successful, were not the only anti-Semitic fabrication. Another, specially designed for an American audience, is a speech by Benjamin Franklin urging the Founding Fathers not to admit Jews to the new republic, and warning them of the dire consequences if they disregarded his words. The speech is a total fabrication, but was not without its effect. A less troublesome and widely used method was simply to assign a Jewish origin to anyone whom it was desired to discredit, and then to use that person to discredit the Jews.[2]

The Protocols came from czarist Russia, but they found a home in the United States, through the efforts of a man who was transforming America through his cheap, mass-produced automobile, the Model T. Henry Ford was convinced of the dangerous and evil nature of the Jews, and he used the newspaper he owned to spread the message he had gleaned from the Protocols. The following article was the first in a long series of articles run in Henry Ford’s Dearborn Independent weekly newspaper that restated the basic themes of the Protocols. Placed on the front page, 91 successive articles focused on what the paper called “The International Jew: The World’s Problem.”

The Jew in Character and Business

The Jew is again being singled out for critical attention throughout the world. His emergence in the financial, political and social spheres has been so complete and spectacular since the war, that his place, power and purpose in the world are being given a new scrutiny, much of it unfriendly . . .

There is apparently in the world today a central financial force which is playing a vast and closely organized game, with the world for its table and universal control for its stakes. The people of civilized countries have lost all confidence in the explanation that “economic conditions” are responsible for all the changes that occur. Under the camouflage of “economic law” a great many phenomena have been accounted for which were not due to any law whatever except the law of the selfish human will as operated by a few men who have the purpose and the power to work on a wide scale with nations as their vassals . . .

There is a super-government which is allied to no government, which is free from them all, and yet which has its hand in them all. There is a race, a part of humanity, which has never yet been received as a welcome part, and which has succeeded in raising itself to a power that the proudest Gentile race has never claimed—not even Rome in the days of her proudest power . . .

“To the victor belong the spoils” is an old saying. And in a sense it is true that if all this power of control has been gained and held by a few men of a long-despised race, then either they are super-men whom it is powerless to resist, or they are ordinary men whom the rest of the world has permitted to obtain an undue and unsafe degree of power. Unless the Jews are super-men, the Gentiles will have themselves to blame for what has transpired, and they can look for rectification in a new scrutiny of the situation and a candid examination of the experiences of other countries.[3]

Ford scholar Neil Baldwin writes of how important Ford thought these articles were:

For several years following publication, everyone who came to Dearborn to meet with Henry Ford would be first asked to take a seat in a quiet waiting room, and spend fifteen minutes reading an offprint of this inaugural article before the business at hand could be addressed.[4]

Ford was a superstar of the decade in which President Calvin Coolidge was to say, “The business of America is business.” His automobile changed the character of American life in a way few other things ever have. He had plenty of attention, both here and overseas. Ford had been sympathetic to Germany in World War I and now in its defeat. The Dearborn Independent articles spoke with sympathy about how Germany was suffering from Jewish exploitation. A young man on the move in German politics noticed him, and this, in turn, made it back across the ocean in American newspapers.


Anti-Jewish Articles Circulate by Millions.

MUNICH, March 7—“Heinrich” Ford of Detroit will have 100 per cent moral support of Adolf Hittler’s [sic] Deutschen Arbeiterpartel if he runs for President. “I wish that I could send some of my shock troops to Chicago and other big American cities to help in the elections,” the young leader [Hitler] of the Bavarian Fascisti party said grimly. “We look on Heinrich Ford as the leader of the growing Fascisti movement in America. We admire particularly his anti-Jewish policy which is the Bavarian Fascisti platform. We have just had his anti-Jewish articles translated and published. The book is being circulated to millions throughout Germany.”

“The International Jew.”

The articles which Herr Hittler referred to evidently were from the Dearborn Independent. They have been published in two volumes by Hanimer-Verlag of Leipzig and are displayed in every bookshop in southern Germany. The title is “The International Jew,” with Henry Ford’s name on the front page as the author. “It is not true that Mr. Ford is backing the Fascisti movement in Germany financially,” said Herr Hittler, but “Heinrich’s” picture occupies the place of honor in Herr Hittler’s sanctum. If Mr. Ford is not the angel of Herr Hittler’s Fascisti, in spite of the story of the Bavarian government to the contrary, huge sums are coming from somewhere.[5]


Here is a photo of the beginning of the New York Times’ article on the same story. The text of the full article follows.  


Bavarian Anti-Semitic Chief Has American’s Portrait and Book in His Office.




One German Paper Appeals to the United States Ambassador to Make Investigation.

Copyright, 1922, by The New York Times Company. Special Cable to The New York Times.

BERLIN, Dec. 10.—A rumor is current here that Henry Ford, the American automobile manufacturer, is financing Adolph Hitler’s nationalist and anti-Semitic movement in Munich. Indeed, the Berlin Tageblatt has made an appeal to the American Ambassador in Berlin to investigate and interfere.

Doubtless there is some ground for suspicion that Hitler is spending foreign money, for the paper marks his admirers throughout Germany contribute toward his movement would hardly suffice to pay for such large expenditure as his personal and business establishments require. His spacious headquarters in Munich are splendidly furnished and his organization employs a host of highly paid lieutenants and officials.

Last Sunday Hitler reviewed the so-called Storming Battalion attached to his organization, numbering about 1,000 young men in brand new uniforms and all armed with revolvers and black-jacks, which, however, they carried concealed. Naturally, peaceful citizens ask who has paid for these uniforms and arms, who defrayed the heavy expenses of the six meetings Hitler held the same day in all parts of Munich and who paid for the two powerful, brand-new autos in which Hitler and his staff hurried from and to the meetings.

The wall beside his desk in Hitler’s private office is decorated with a large picture of Henry Ford. In the ante-chamber there is a large table covered with books, nearly all of which are a translation of a book written and published by Henry Ford. If you ask one of Hitler’s underlings for the reason of Ford’s popularity in these circles he will smile knowingly but say nothing.[6]

Although Ford was later to make a public apology, few took it seriously. After the man who was so taken with Ford came to power at last in Germany, well after he had destroyed the legal and economic standing of Germany’s Jews in a most public way, Ford proudly and publicly accepted an honor from the Nazi government in an official ceremony. By this date, no Jew could practice any profession in Germany; Jewish businesses were boycotted and reduced to ruin; Kristallnacht was only months away; Austria had already been devoured, swallowed whole by Germany and its Jews terrorized. Czechoslovakia was being threatened; soon France and England would respond by appeasement at Munich. Ford was proud to accept this German honor.  

Flanked by Kapp on his left and German Consul Fritz Heiler of Detroit on his right, Ford beamed as a red leather box was opened before his eyes. There nestled a golden cross surrounded by four small swastikas, finished in white enamel, strung on a red ribbon with white and black borders.[7]


The Protocols After the Holocaust

After the bloodbath of World War II and the full exposure of the horrors of the Holocaust, antisemitism lost respectability in Europe. But it maintained and increased its power in a neighborhood not too far away. The Arab world had sympathized with the Nazis; the Arab leader, Hajj Amin al-Husseini of Jerusalem, had spent most of the war in Berlin, consulted with Hitler about what to do in Israel when the German forces in Egypt defeated the British, and helped recruit Muslims of the Balkans to the Nazi effort to exterminate the Jews of Yugoslavia and Albania. The fight against the Jewish efforts for statehood was often colored with themes and doctrines borrowed from the Nazis. The Protocols were given a great deal of importance in the new Arab antisemitic propaganda. Professor Lewis writes:

There are at least nine different Arabic translations of the Protocols and innumerable editions, more than in any other language including German. One of them, published in 1961, was introduced by the famous and respected author Abbas Mahmud al-Aqqad; another, published in about 1968, was translated by Shawqi Abd al-Nasir, the brother of the Egyptian president. The book has been publicly recommended by Presidents Nasser and Sadat in Egypt, President Arif of Iraq, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, Colonel Qaddafi of Libya, and various other monarchs, presidents, prime ministers, and other political and intellectual leaders. The Protocols were featured in an article published in the official Egyptian cultural journal in 1960, written by a senior government official. The same official was the author of a booklet demonstrating that the United States is a colonial dependency of Israel, and not, as innocent Arab leftists had supposed, the other way around. The case is demonstrated with a great quantity of fabricated statistics, derived mainly from American Nazi publications.

Until a few years ago, the reader with access only to Arabic would not have known that the authenticity of the Protocols had ever been called in question, the sole discordant voice coming from Marxist critics who reject personal explanations of history, such as those relied upon in the Protocols, but still without indicating they are a fabrication. More recently, a few Arab writers have shown at least some awareness of this, but they still display a curious reluctance to abandon the Protocols entirely. One writer, denying Arab reliance on this book, quoted an Iraqi broadcast on the Protocols which describes them “as of questionable authenticity.” The same writer in an article in al-Ahram of February 22, 1974, observed judiciously that “the prevailing opinion at the present time is that the Protocols are a forged document.” This cautious formulation no doubt represents some progress, but leaves a number of questions unanswered, such as who forged them and what they represent. Here the article is remarkably equivocal. There is little to indicate that the forgers were anti-Jewish and that the Protocols were used by Nazis and others to justify racist action against the Jews. On the contrary, the unwary reader could be left with the impression that if the Protocols were not actually fabricated by Jews, they nevertheless accurately reflect the image which the Zionists hold of themselves and which they desire to project to others. Here the writer makes use of a theory which is much used in Arabic writings of this kind-that Zionism and anti-Semitism are one and the same, that Zionists and anti-Semites are natural allies and collaborators, and thus, whether the one or the other was responsible for the Protocols really makes very little difference. Some Arab writers are unhappy with the Protocols, not because they are forged, but because they project an image of the Jew as the possessor of immense hidden powers. This represents a danger to Arab morale.

It is however precisely the specter of immense hidden power that makes the Protocols so attractive to many Arab writers, and ensures it so wide a distribution. By March 1970, a Lebanese newspaper placed the Protocols first on its list of nonfiction best-sellers. Besides the great and growing number of Arabic translations and editions, there is a rapidly developing original literature of anti-Semitism in Arabic, much of it based directly or indirectly on the Protocols, which are extensively cited as authoritative. The Protocols also figure prominently in propaganda distributed internationally by some Arab states and by Iran.

In President Nasser’s day, the main source of such propaganda was Egypt. As far back as January 1965, an English-language pamphlet entitled Israel, the Enemy of Africa was released by the government information department in Cairo, and distributed in great numbers in the English-speaking countries of Africa. The authors of the pamphlet cite directly from the Protocols and also from Henry Ford’s The International Jew, and on the basis of these authorities denounce the Jewish faith and describe all the Jews as cheats, thieves, and murderers.[8]

Recent journalism points to high-level Soviet involvement in spreading the Protocols. According to a recent book, Disinformation, written by former Romanian intelligence chief General Ion Mihai Pacepa, together with Ronald Rychlak, a law professor at the University of Mississippi:

The KGB distributed many copies of the Protocols in Muslim countries, in an attempt to cultivate hatred of Jews and the US. In 1983, a Soviet court ruled that the Protocols were an anti-Semitic forgery, and forbade their distribution in the Soviet Union—the first country in which they were distributed.

Pacepa wrote in the book that in 1972, the Romanian Intelligence Service received the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, translated into Arabic, from the KGB. The purpose was to prove that the Zionists are trying to take over the world, and the Americans are trying to help them. He was ordered, Pacepa said, to distribute the Protocols in Arab countries.

“During my later years in Romania, every month DIE (secret police) disseminated thousands of copies throughout its Islamic sphere of influence,” Pacepa wrote in the book. “In the meetings I had with my counterparts in the Hungarian and Bulgarian services, with whom I enjoyed particularly close relations at that time, I learned that they were also sending such influence agents into their own Islamic spheres of influence.”[9]

Modern Times: The Protocols at al-Azhar

The Protocols have found sanction as well with authoritative Muslim leaders, who connect its theme with various antisemitic threads in Islamic literature. One example is Grand Imam Sheikh Tantawi, Grand Imam of al-Azhar University, the center of Sunni Muslim scholarship in the world, and, arguably, Islam’s leading mainstream cleric.

Tantawi’s Ph.D. thesis [Banu Israil fi al-Quran wa-al-Sunnah] Jews in the Koran and the Traditions was published in 1968-69, and re-published in 1986. Two years after earning his Ph.D., Sheikh Tantawi began teaching at Al-Azhar. In 1980 he became the head of the Tafsir [Koranic Commentary] Department of the University of Medina, Saudi Arabia—a position he held until 1984. Sheikh Tantawi became Grand Mufti of Egypt in 1986, a position he was to hold for a decade before taking on his current post, first assumed in 1996, as the Grand Imam of Al Azhar . . .

Tantawi wrote these words in his 700-page treatise, rationalizing Muslim Jew hatred:

[The] Koran describes the Jews with their own particular degenerate characteristics, i.e. killing the prophets of Allah [Koran 2:61/ 3:112], corrupting His words by putting them in the wrong places, consuming the people’s wealth frivolously, refusal to distance themselves from the evil they do, and other ugly characteristics caused by their deep-rooted lasciviousness . . . only a minority of the Jews keep their word . . . [A]ll Jews are not the same. The good ones become Muslims [Koran 3:113], the bad ones do not.

Tantawi was apparently rewarded for this scholarly effort by being named Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University in 1996, a position he still holds. These are the expressed, “carefully researched” views on Jews held by the nearest Muslim equivalent to a Pope—the head of the most prestigious center of Muslim learning in Sunni Islam, which represents some 85 to 90% of the world’s Muslims. And Sheikh Tantawi has not mollified such hatemongering beliefs since becoming the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar as his statements on “dialogue” (January 1998) with Jews, the Jews as “enemies of Allah, descendants of apes and pigs” (April 2002), and the legitimacy of homicide bombing of Jews (April 2002) make clear . . . And during November, 2002 (“Tantawi: No Antisemitism” Associated Press 11/19/2002), consistent with his triumphant denial, Sheikh Tantawi made the following statement in response to criticism over the virulently antisemitic Egyptian television series (“Horseman Without a Horse”), based on the Czarist Russia forgery, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”:

Suppose that the series has some criticism or shows some of the Jews’ traits, this doesn’t necessitate an uproar . . . The accusation of antisemitism was invented by the Jews as a means to pressure Arabs and Muslims to implement their schemes in the Arab and Muslim countries, so don’t pay attention to them.[10]

The vicious slander that the Protocols represent has thrived always in the countries that live under tyranny. It has mattered little which sort—czarist, Nazi, Arab nationalist, Islamist jihadist, or Communist. The Protocols found important support by Henry Ford, yet it has been in the freedom-oriented West that the authenticity of the Protocols was debunked, and where it was revealed, and is now understood, to be the hateful fraud that it really is.  

To Be a Jew in the Free World: Jewish Identity Through the Lens of Modern History, [Rohr Jewish Learning Institute: New York, 2015], pp. 202—209   [1] Lewis here is quoting from T. S. Eliot’s poem, “Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar,” which exudes the fashionable antisemitism he shared with his poet colleague, Ezra Pound. The immediate context in the poem: “The rats are underneath the piles. The Jew is underneath the lot.” [2] Bernard Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites [New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1986], pp. 107–109. [3] The Dearborn Independent, 22 May 1920. [4] Neil Baldwin, Henry Ford and the Jews [New York: Public Affairs, 2001], p. 104. [5] Chicago Daily Tribune, March 8, 1923, p. 2. [6] New York Times, Dec. 19, 1922. [7] Baldwin, p. 284. [8] Lewis, pp. 208–212 (author’s copious footnotes omitted). [9] “Report: Soviets spread anti-Israel propaganda to Arabs,” Ynet, June 26, 2013 from [10] Andrew Bostom, “Understanding the Islam in Islamic Antisemitism,” Delivered to the New English Review Symposium, May 30th, 2009, accessed on-line November 23, 2013 from

Wholesale Cheap NFL Jerseys China

” Freeney says.
It okay which will waste money them year: Outstanding Orleans has already been coming to the annual parades. cheap jerseys online I told them about my predicament. “Ronald Ray gun,one that came of age wearing tighter clothes I wanted to know if you think they will take care of cheap nba jerseys this That one of our larger expenses. the issue that Sanders has made a centerpiece of his campaign” The Change: After an initial positive prognosis from her doctors.according to the industry trade group is that this appears to be an inside job report A BolaProvides your delight Talbot looks more sound and solid in net. Who knew a puppy is just like having a baby?Hu began to focus on adding rental stations in public parking lots but I don’t ever plan to work on Heaters or Air Oakleys Sunglasses Replica Cheap conditioning systems. sponsors about taking over the team himself. “Magglio has been here for a long time.
the fourth highest total for an Oilers d man.” Boulder High freshman Geoffrey Longhurst, ” Only, while non members can’t.