Understanding the Enduring Appeal of the Theory of the Jewish Conspiracy

Aug. 27 2020

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


President Biden Should Learn the Lessons of Past U.S. Attempts to Solve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Sept. 21 2023

In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Joe Biden addressed a host of international issues, mentioning, inter alia, the “positive and practical impacts” resulting from “Israel’s greater normalization and economic connection with its neighbors.” He then added that the U.S. will “continue to work tirelessly to support a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians—two states for two peoples.” Zach Kessel experiences some déjà vu:

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and review how past U.S.-brokered talks between Jerusalem and [Palestinian leaders] have gone down, starting with 1991’s Madrid Conference, organized by then-President George H.W. Bush. . . . Though the talks, which continued through the next year, didn’t get anywhere concrete, many U.S. officials and observers across the world were heartened by the fact that Madrid was the first time representatives of both sides had met face to face. And then Palestinian militants carried out the first suicide bombing in the history of the conflict.

Then, in 1993, Bill Clinton tried his hand with the Oslo Accords:

In the period of time directly after the Oslo Accords . . . suicide bombings on buses and in crowded public spaces became par for the course. Clinton invited then-Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat and then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to Camp David in 2000, hoping finally to put the conflict to rest. Arafat, who quite clearly aimed to extract as many concessions as possible from the Israelis without ever intending to agree to any deal—without even putting a counteroffer on the table—scuttled any possibility of peace. Of course, that’s not the most consequential event for the conflict that occurred in 2000. Soon after the Camp David Summit fell apart, the second intifada began.

Since Clinton, each U.S. president has entered office hoping to put together the puzzle that is an outcome acceptable to both sides, and each has failed. . . . Every time a deal has seemed to have legs, something happens—usually terrorist violence—and potential bargains are scrapped. What, then, makes Biden think this time will be any different?

Read more at National Review

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Joe Biden, Palestinian terror, Peace Process