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On the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

Ed. We include the following “Letter to the Editor” in the hope that it will be helpful to those who don’t know the background to this anti-Semitic publication. This article is from “The Hebrew Catholic, #77, Fall 2002, pg. 19.

In the Sept 9th issue of Credo, there was a letter entitled “On Media Exaggeration.” The author’s point was well taken. Those in the media with anti-Christian sentiments repeatedly focus on and exaggerate the sins of a relatively few clergy, to the detriment of the overwhelming majority of faithful clergy and the Church.

Unfortunately, to make his point, the author quotes from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a proven fraud and the major anti-Semitic source book for the twentieth and, now, twenty-first century. This publication and the ideas it contains have been repeatedly and widely circulated to the great harm and detriment of the Jewish People.

The Protocols tells of a plot by a handful of Jewish elders to take over the world. A brief history of its development is recounted below.

In 1864, the French satirist, Maurice Joly, published a pamphlet entitled Dialogues in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, intended as a political satire attacking the political ambitions of the emperor Napoleon III.

Later, a German anti-Semite named Hermann Goedsche adapted Joly’s pamphlet and produced a mythical tale of a Jewish conspiracy. Writing under the pen name of Sir John Retcliffe, this conspiracy was included as part of a series of novels entitled Biarritz and was published in 1868.

These novels soon arrived in Russia and were translated into Russian in 1872. Then, during the Dreyfus case of 1893-1895, the Russian secret police redacted the earlier works of Joly and Goedsche into a new edition called the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

In 1905, the mystic priest Sergius Nilus first produced the Protocols in a public edition. Following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Russian emigrants brought the Protocols to Western Europe where they gained wide circulation.

In 1921, in a series of articles by London Times correspondent, Philip Graves, the Protocols were exposed as a forgery and a fraud. In that same year, Herman Bernstein’s book, The Truth about the Protocols was published documenting the forgery.

Nevertheless, the Protocols continued to circulate widely, even being sponsored by Henry Ford in his Dearborn Independent. Eventually, they served as an important part of the Nazi justification of genocide of the Jews in World War II.

On November 28, 1993, a Russian court ruled that the Protocols was an anti-Semitic forgery – the first such verdict in the land where the fraud originated 90 years earlier.

What is missing from this recounting of history is the devastating persecution and slaughter of multitudes of Jewish people due to the fear and hate inspired by the Protocols.

The Protocols take their place amongst many other anti-Semitic fabrications such as the libel that Jews used the blood of Christian children for the Feast of Passover or that Jews poisoned wells and spread plagues.

Today, these lies continue to circulate inciting hatred in Arab lands, other countries and on the internet. Occasionally, they even show up in Letters to the Editor.

David Moss, President
Association of Hebrew Catholics