Understanding the Enduring Appeal of the Theory of the Jewish Conspiracy

That great classic of anti-Semitic literature, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, has found its way into the news recently: last week, an FBI Twitter account, apparently without any malicious intent, tweeted a link to excerpts of the work in its archives; a few days ago, a speaker was removed from the roster at the Republican National Convention when it was found out that she had disseminated a series of anti-Semitic tweets that cited the Protocols as evidence. Why, asks Steven J. Zipperstein, has this book—published in Russia in 1903, but purporting to have been written by a leader of a Jewish conspiracy for world domination—remained so popular when other works of anti-Semitism have deservedly faded into oblivion:

The book sells widely in Turkey, Syria, and Japan; remains a staple of Russian Orthodox bookshops; and in 2002, was the subject of a long-running Egyptian television series. It is widely available on eBay and on the Barnes & Noble website. The British charity Oxfam sold it on its site until March of this year. When asked by the New York Times in 2018 to name the books at her bedside, Alice Walker listed David Icke’s And the Truth Will Set You Free, a contemporary summary of the Protocols.

For [its] devotees, the Protocols’ capacity to explain the world remains so resonant that the COVID-19 pandemic has now been blamed on the machinations of the ubiquitous Jewish elders. The Protocols has survived, more so than any other text of its kind, . . . not because its ideas are particularly original, and certainly not because they’re correct. It has done so for the simple reason that the Protocols is, curiously enough, a compelling read. Conspiracy theories are many things, but most of all, they’re narratives—understandable, comprehensive stories about how the world works, complete with the arcs and the rhythms of any other epic tale of heroes and villains. Part of what makes certain ones endure is how well they unfurl that story.

The Protocols’ voice is cool, patronizing, vile; the voice of someone who is ready to perform any task, however dastardly, in the march toward world domination. This, then, is no secondary source, unlike other familiar, formulaic expressions of anti-Semitism, but a chance to overhear a consequential Jewish leader plotting the fate of the world. This narrative immediacy is the difference between a newspaper article and a novel, between remove and urgency. The Protocols is not, purportedly, mere narration of a diabolical plot—it’s evidence of one. It projects authority by obscuring its authorship.

Read more at Atlantic

More about: Alice Walker, Anti-Semitism, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, U.S. Politics

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy