Shortly after the 1897, First Zionist Congress, a full transcript was published, according to this masterful book, which capped six years of investigation into the etymology and evil of the 1895 forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It's a reminder that the U.S. should veto all U.N. resolutions submitting to terrorist demands.
Hezbollah, the Iranian terror group that attacked Israel July 12, believes the Protocols--twice proved an 1895 forgery of Tsarist officials in Paris--are the real First Zionist Congress transcript. This libel so well matches Hezbollah's lethal designs that it collaborated with Iran on a Protocols series, broadcast on Al Manar TV in Lebanon during Ramadan in October 2003, and in Iran in 2004. Ben-Itto here examines the lie's history and continued propagation.
Egypt's culture and information ministry approved another such 41-part TV series that aired in late 2002. U.S. State Department condemnation elicited Minister Safwat El-Sherif's declaration that it "contains no anti-Semitic material." Broadcasts continued. Al-Akhbar's editor called international opprobrium "a barbaric attack on Egyptian and Arab art."
Ben-Itto first encountered the Protocols' political use at the U.N. General Assembly in 1965, while in Israel's delegation to Third Committee deliberations on human rights. Her rebuttal didn't debunk the notorious forgery. A non-Jewish diplomat later chided her, "This book is dangerous."
Indeed. The forgery's anonymous speaker presents "in concise form, a comprehensive program for the annihilation of all Christian states, proposing practical methods for achieving world domination by the Jews." It then terms describes the Jewish people as a satanic sect, "united in purpose, acting under the leadership of a group of elders, who lacked any moral consideration." Each section (24) elaborates on purported plans for a "Jewish super-government."
Although the very antithesis of Jewish thought, this false text has nevertheless for a century swayed hundreds of millions of dupes.
In 1988, while lecturing in Berne Switzerland, Ben-Itto she met the diminutive widow of Georges Brunschvig, who in October 1934 tried the Protocols, under a 1916 Swiss statute prohibiting publication of "obscene literature." The Christian judge, Walter Meyer, in 1933 determined to try the case on its merits, a year later appointed independent experts, and in 1935--after many testimonies and affidavits attesting to the Tsarist crime--ruled the text a forgery, intended to malign Jews and incite their mass murder.
How Tsarists leveraged Maurice Joly's anti-Napoleonic 1864 novel, Dialogues in Hell, is a tale of court intrigue, Russian Orthodox mysticism, peasant anti-Semitism and counter-revolutionary tactics so compelling, albeit complex, as to confound the mind. But Ben-Itto's meticulous search through French, Russian, British, South African and Swiss archives, private libraries, journalists' notes and court records on three continents--and her interviews with dozens of witnesses--prove that truth is often stranger than fiction.
Joly anonymously published his 324-page Dialogues in Geneva in 1864, hoping the staged conversation between Niccolo Machiavelli and the fictional Charles de Secondat Montesqieu would generate opposition to Napoleon III. Instead, Joly was arrested, imprisoned and "charged with inciting hatred." His banned novel remained out of print from 1865 through 1933--excepting four copies in Paris' Bibliotheque Nationale.
Yet the book intended as a force for good was soon exploited for monumental evil. In the 1880s, Edouard Drumont's anti-Semitic La Libre Parole newspaper began charging that Jews intended to economically and politically dominate the world. The "Jewish conspiracy" myth spread throughout France and in 1895 instigated false charges against Captain Alfred Dreyfus.
Russia's troubled Romanov dynasty likewise fueled the 1895 forgery plot. Tsar Nikolai II further empowered Paris Okhrana chief Piotr Ivanovich Rachkovskii, who often carefully crafted forgeries to implicate suspected revolutionaries and other Russian emigrants whom he later remunerated to spy on others.
In 1933, several non-Jewish witnesses corroborated Rachkovskii's forgeries and helped George Brunschvig unmask Rachkovskii's "most outstanding" effort in court.
Russia's 1917 provisional government sent Sergei Svatikov, a former law professor, to dissolve Okhrana's Paris office. Svatikov presented papers from Henri Bint, formerly Rachkovskii's trusted agent, including fabricated letters, pamphlets and anti-revolutionary provocations. Svatikov also testified that Bint himself had paid Rachkovskii's two forgers, including Matvei Golovinskii, to copy Joly's 1864 book in the Bibliotheque Nationale.
Vladimir Burtsev, former editor of Russia's Byloe, confirmed Golovinskii's evil, vituperative anti-Semitic character, and libelous accusations of a "Jewish world conspiracy." Moreover, former police chief Stepan Petrovich Beletskii had told Burtsev that Tsarist officials all knew the Protocols were a "crude forgery," but nevertheless disseminated them widely--to falsely discredit the Jews for "revolutionary activities."
Graf Armand Alexander du Chayla, who spent spent nine months in 1909 at Russia's Orthodox Optina Pustyn monastery with Sergei Nilus, the Protocols' virulently anti-Semitic 1905 publisher. Nilus had showed du Chayla the text and said it came from Rachkovskii in Paris.
Many trials have unequivocally proved the Protocols to be false. Yet since the 1940s, they have circulated widely in the Arab and Muslim worlds, where they are available almost everywhere--even five-star hotels--are frequently promoted by government media and government clerics.
The Hamas Charter cites the Protocols, alongside Islamic beliefs. Other promoters include such renowned clerics as Sheik Muhammad Al-Mussayer of Cairo's Al-Azhar University and Palestinian Authority-appointed Jerusalem Mufti Ikrima Sabri. Countless Islamist websites publish them. RadioIslam provides 16 translations.
Ben-Itto discusses this phenomenon --- but doesn't understand the sources of Muslim acceptance --- classical Islamic ideology in the Qu'ran, Hadith, jurisprudence and end-time eschatology.
Georges Vajda's 1937 essay, notes Hadith eschatology (Mohammed's reputed deeds and sayings) describing Jews as "adherents of the Dajjal --- the Muslim equivalent of the Anti-Christ --- and as per another tradition, the Dajjal is in fact Jewish," according to Dr. Andrew Bostom. Elsewhere, the Dajjal is expected to appear with 70,000 Jews, who will then be slaughtered.
This book is critical to understanding the grave danger now posed by the Protocols. But defeating this inhuman lie requires defeating radical Islam, its biggest current purveyors.
--Alyssa A. Lappen