Few writings have created so much controversy and argument than ‘The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. Towards the end of the 19th. century, this remarkable and disturbing manuscript came to light. Originally in French, but subsequently appearing in Russian, Italian, Arabic, Japanese and ultimately in English around 1920, it can best be described as a blueprint for world domination. Written, it is claimed, by a shadowy secret group at the highest echelons of world Jewry, it is signed: “the representatives of Zion of the 33rd. degree.”
Despite widespread claims to the contrary, this is not, repeat not, evidence of a plot on the part of the Jewish people as a whole. The title itself and the contents make that absolutely clear. Jews are not synonymous with Zionists — Zionism is a political movement which, although largely made up of Jews, is only actively supported by a minority of Jews and actually opposed by many Jews. It also has powerful and influential non Jewish supporters as well. It emerged publicly in Europe towards the end of the 19th century, at a time when nationalism generally was becoming a potent force throughout Europe. Central to it has been the creation of a racial and national identity for adherents of the Jewish faith, which previously hadn’t existed. Over the years diverse ranges of peoples have adopted the Jewish faith. There are those who are descended from the original Jews who inhabited 2000 or more years ago and though many would not admit it, these people of middle eastern stock are basically Arabs through a common ancestry with the Arabs.
On the other hand about 90% of modern Jews have no ancestral links with ancient Judea. These are the so called Ashkenazim – European Jews, who are descended from the Khazars, a race of Turkish origin, who converted en masse to Judaism in the 8th century and subsequently settled in parts of Russia and northern Europe . It is amongst this group of Jews that the core of the Zionist movement is to be found and who, today, form the ruling elite in Israel. Zionism’s appearance coincided with the emergence of the Protocols, suggesting there may be much more to it than merely the establishment and subsequent enlargement of a Jewish state as was the original publicly stated objective. Many Jews today are very much opposed to the continued expansionist aims of Zionism and it is very likely that today the majority, including many supporters of Zionism, know nothing of the Protocols. Since the first appearance of the Protocols, there have been vigorous claims that the document is “a forgery”. But if so, of what?
It is generally claimed to be an attempt emanating from Russia falsely to accuse world Jewry of a plot to rule the world, as a means of promoting and justifying the persecution of Jews. It is quite understandable how this came about, because the Protocols were widely circulated and promoted in the 1920s and 30s in such a way as to create the impression of a massive conspiracy by world Jewry and that is how many people reacted to them. Indeed the covers of some published editions were emblazoned with the additional words “the Jewish Peril”. The document inevitably came to the attention of Hitler and the Nazis, and it was used by them as added justification for their persecution of the Jews. Furthermore there was considerable spin off in the form of a number of fanatical, scurrilous and outrageous articles and publications directed against Jews as a whole. Some of these originated in pre revolutionary Russia whilst others appeared elsewhere in Europe. Some plagiarised parts of the Protocols themselves and falsely claimed to be of Jewish origin, as Professor Norman Cohn reveals in his book “Warrant for Genocide – the myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion” .
However, this extreme reaction has to be seen in the context of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, which sent massive shock waves across Europe, with fears that the whole of Europe might succumb to a Communist take-over. As it became known, and as we will see later, that Jewish financial interests had largely funded the revolution and that many of the leading participants were Jews, one begins to see why some people reacted to the Protocols in the way that they did. Yet the truth of the matter is – and it is made abundantly clear in the document itself – this is NOT a plot by Jews as a whole. Nonetheless, the danger signals are clear – the document may well be the work of a small Jewish elite, but it is the majority that can end up getting the blame and suffering the terrible consequences.
The Elders of Zion are thought to be the successors of the Pharisees who made up Great Sanhedrin – the highest Jewish authority around the time of Jesus, which continued to exist until at least the 15th century, moving from Jerusalem to Galilee following the destruction of the Jewish temple by the Romans around 70 AD and thereafter being based in Constantinople for 1000 years or more. Some suggest that they are the so called “Illuminati” said to be at the highest level of initiation in freemasonry. The reasoning behind the Protocols is based on the concept of the Jews being God’s chosen people. This belief is still held by many Jews today. For centuries, it has set the Jews apart, and sadly nothing has done more to cause conflict, suffering and persecution than this piece of misguided religious indoctrination.
The concept of “the chosen people” has its origins in the old testament of the bible, which also constitutes the Jewish bible or Tanach. This is the foundation of the Jewish “Torah” which is the axis around which the whole of Judaism revolves. “Torah” is also the name sometimes given to the first five books of the Old Testament which, in traditional Judaism, are considered to be a faithful and exact record of the word of God to the prophet Moses. However, in the fifth book, Deuteronomy, this “god” of the Israelites (otherwise known as Yahweh) is portrayed as wrathful, tyrannical and demanding unquestioning obedience. The Israelites are told that they are a superior chosen race. In return for the “promised land”, they are ordered to destroy without mercy all other tribes living there. This is graphically set out in Deuteronomy chapters 7 and 20. They are told that carrying out these instructions will bring great material rewards, but failure to obey will entail terrible consequences (Chapter 28).
Large sections of Deuteronomy are blatantly racist, blood thirsty and a license to plunder and pillage – yet this is still part of a so called holy book central to Judaism and Christianity as well. The Promised Land is described as stretching from the “western sea” (the Mediterranean) to the Euphrates river (present day Iraq) . Some ultra orthodox Jews today, particularly in Israel, still take this seriously, and it certainly helps to explain why, since 1967, Palestinians in the Israeli occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza have had their land and property expropriated by the Israeli authorities, as Jewish settlements have continuously expanded into these areas. Indeed this concept of the promised land was the rationale behind the Zionist declaration in 1906 of intent to re-establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine after 1,900 years, which in turn led to mass Jewish emigration into Palestine and the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948.
In the Protocols, the Jewish people other than those belonging to an elite caste are referred to as “the lesser brethren”. Everyone else is referred to as “the Goyim”, a thoroughly derogatory term meaning cattle. The Goyim are seen as inferior, ignorant, stupid and totally unfit to govern and look after world affairs. They therefore need to be covertly controlled by intellectual superiors, whilst the lesser brethren are to be used unwittingly as part of the plan for global domination, and are considered expendable in attaining it. Those who insist that the Protocols are a faked document designed falsely to accuse world Jewry of a plot to dominate the world, fail to address the fact that the agenda of this document makes victims out of most Jews as much as anyone else. Those who promoted the Protocols in the 1920s and 30s seem to have been just as blind to this fact as well. What is also not addressed by the same people, is the possibility that the Protocols are the latest updated manifestation of the racist, supremacist themes in Deuteronomy mentioned above – themes which are repeated in many other parts of the old testament, and which can also be found in the Jewish Talmud. In particular Professor Cohn looks at none of these issues in his book “Warrant for Genocide” referred to above.
Turning to the Talmud, this means literally “the teaching”. It contains some 4500 pages compiled between the 3rd and 5th centuries with later additions in the 11th century and further commentaries added in the 12th and 13th centuries. It is basically an edited record of discussions and debates of leading rabbis of the time. It contains an extraordinarily detailed mass of laws, regulations, rituals and requirements governing every aspect and detail of Jewish life. It also includes many noble teachings, aspirations and ethical guidelines, which are clearly an important focus for most religious Jews today, and it is very important not to lose sight of this fact. However as Professor Israel Shahak reveals in his devastating critique “Jewish History, Jewish Religion – the weight of 3000 years” , the fact is that parts of the Talmud also develop and reinforce the highly destructive and racist themes found in parts of the old testament. These sections were clearly written by fanatics and are still followed by fanatics today.
For example Gentiles (non Jews) are regarded as inferior and are despised and referred to in the most derogatory terms. They have been created to serve Jews and are equated with dogs. They are regarded as satanic creatures and liars, in which there is no good. Gentile women are equated with prostitutes. Gentiles are to be exploited and Jews should avoid any situation where Gentiles have authority over them. A remark by one of the rabbis of the extremist Gush Emunim (Block of the Faithful) movement in Israel, that “the life of a thousand Gentiles is not worth the toenail of a Jew” summarises the attitude of hatred and scorn directed at non Jews that is to be found in parts of the Talmud .
These attitudes are also reflected in parts of the Halakhah, which was the legal system of classical Judaism from the 9th to the 18th centuries, adopted by the tightly knit Jewish communities in Europe at that time, and which survives today in some quarters of ultra orthodox Judaism. Under this legal code for example it is a capital offence to murder a Jew punishable in a court of law, but the murder of a Gentile requires no punishment and is left to God’s judgement . It was because of sentiments like these and also highly derogatory remarks about Christianity and Jesus, that the Talmud was banned and destroyed in parts of Europe during the middle ages. These sentiments also must have fuelled the demonization and persecution of Jews by many Christians in mediaeval Europe – the belief that Jews were devil worshippers, demons in human form, and took part in ritual child sacrifices. The Talmud subsequently reappeared with the offensive sections toned down or removed altogether and it is these much more moderate versions that are in general use and circulation today .
Nevertheless the racist supremacist sections have never disappeared altogether – they have reappeared in more recent years generally amongst the ultra orthodox communities of Hassidic Jews (pious ones) in parts of the USA, particularly New York, and especially in Israel itself, where fanatics have felt safe within the security provided by the Jewish state, to publish and circulate these ideas. Often what is really being promoted is concealed by translations and commentaries into English from the original Hebrew, which hide the true nature of the Hebrew texts, so that outsiders with no knowledge of Hebrew do not understand what is actually being said and taught .
This is illustrated by the fact that amongst this Jewish theology can be found references to the redemption of the individual soul and of the Jewish people which will be achieved with the arrival of the “Messiah” once Jews govern the entire world… (my emphasis) . Add this to what appears in the book of Exodus, the second book of the old testament Chapter 23, verse 22 where “god” promises to his chosen people “If thou shalt indeed do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come…” – then it becomes ever more clear that there may indeed be some fanatical Jewish elite hell bent on some kind of global domination, and the Protocols are the latest in a line of edicts and declarations to that effect.
1 See “The Thirteenth Tribe” by Jewish author Arthur Koestler, and also at www.khazaria.com
2 Eyre & Spottiswoode 1967, Pelican Books 1970 and republished Serif 1996.
3 See Deuteronomy, Chapter 11 verses 24 & 25.
4 Pluto Press 1994 – it is a short clear and concise account which cannot be recommended too strongly. It is also accessible in full at http://abbc.com/islam/english/books/jewhis/jewhis1.htm
5 See “A Spectre Haunting Jerusalem” Red Pepper – June 2002. Red Pepper is a monthly socialist magazine. Not one for seeing the bigger picture, but really excellent for details in particular areas e.g. the scam of so called new Labour, corporate power, private finance initiatives and more . Also good on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Available from 1b Waterlow Road London N19 5NJ www.redpepper.org.uk
6 Whilst today no state including Israel makes such a distinction in its criminal law, it undoubtedly explains why in practice extremists in Israel are dealt with so leniently when apprehended for killing Arabs and Palestinians – e.g. 10 weeks in jail for killing a Palestinian in his shoe shop – see article mentioned in note 61 above.
7 For a look at traditional mainstream Judaism, try www.torah.org a very extensive website set up by a Canadian Rabbi, Boruch Clinton, which includes a lot of easy to follow introductory material.
8 More on this in Prof. Shahak’s “Jewish History Jewish Religion”
9 See “ Zionist Ideology, non-Jews and the State of Israel” – report by Ur Shlonsky based on a talk given at Geneva University 10/6/02.