Last updated on: 3/19/2012 11:17:51 AM PST

What Are the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and How Do They Relate to Zionism?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Ian J. Bickerton, PhD, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and United States History at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and Carla L. Klausner, PhD, Professor of Modern Middle East, Medieval Europe and Judaic Studies at the University of MIssouri-Kansas City, wrote in their 2002 book A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict:

"Toward the end of the [19th] century, building on popular fear and suspicion of the Jews, an unknown author working for the Russian secret police concocted an infamous forgery that came to be known as the 'Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.' The Protocols, which were purportedly the records of an alleged conference of leaders of world Jewry bent on world domination, were eventually translated into all major languages. They contributed to hatred of the Jews in both Western and Eastern Europe especially in the twentieth century, and they have been used by enemies of Israel in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Even today, the Protocols are widely available in the Arab countries, and they were reportedly a favorite gift of the Saudi kings to their visitors."

2002 - Ian J. Bickerton, PhD 
Carla L. Klausner, PhD 

Bernard Lewis, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Near East Studies at Princeton University, in his 1999 book titled Semites and Anti-Semites: An Inquiry into Conflict and Prejudice, wrote:

"Concocted by the Russian czars' disinformation service, this book [the Protocols of the Elders of Zion] has served as the basis for worldwide anti-Semitic propaganda. It was successively used by the czarist police, the Whites in the Russian civil war, the German and other Nazis, and certain Arab governments and organizations, in their anti-Jewish propaganda. Careful and documented exposures of its fraudulent origin have relegated it, in the free world, to the lunatic fringes, but have done little to diminish its effectiveness elsewhere. Because of its enormous impact, and the actions taken by those who believed in it, it has been accurately described as a 'Warrant for Genocide' [by Norman Cohn]...

The text has a curious history. In its earliest extant form, it has nothing whatever to do with either Jews or anti-Semites, but consisted of a pamphlet written in the 1860s against Napoleon III. The forgers took this pamphlet, substituted world Jewry for the French emperor, and added a number of picturesque details borrowed from an obscure German novel. The Protocols first appeared in about 1895, and were almost certainly the work of a group of members of the czarist Russian secret police stationed in Paris. For some time, the book was used only in Russia. It had little influence even there and none at all outside. Its worldwide fame began with the Russian Revolution of 1917. In the course of the bitter civil wars that raged across Russia in the years 1918-1921, the leaders of the White Russians used the Protocols extensively to persuade the Russian people that the so-called revolution was no more than a Jewish plot to impose a Jewish government on Russia, as a step toward the ultimate aim of Jewish world domination...

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is occasionally mentioned in Arab polemics linking Zionism and Bolshevism in the early 1920s. The first Arabic translation, made from the French, was printed in...1926. Another translation, also made from the French by an Arab Christian, was published in Cairo in book form a year or two later. The first translation by a Muslim, from the English, appeared in Cairo with a lengthy introduction in 1951. Numerous editions and translations followed."

[Editor's Note: Adolf Hitler referenced The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in his 1925 book Mein Kampf where he wrote: "To what extent the whole existence of this people [the Jews] is based on a continuous lie is shown incomparably by the Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion..."]

1999 - Bernard Lewis, PhD 

The Anti-Defamation League wrote in its 2002 article "Islamic Anti-Semitism in Historical Perspective," available on its website:

"By all indications they [The Protocols of the Elders of Zion] are perennial bestsellers in the Middle East. The seriousness with which they appear to be taken in the Middle East may be partly explained by the number of prominent Muslims who have endorsed them. Nasser endorsed the Protocols in 1958, as did President Sadat, President Arif of Iraq, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, Colonel Qaddafi of Libya, and others. The Protocols form part of the worldview of extremist groups, as attested to by their mention by name in article 32 of the Covenant of the terrorist group Hamas in describing the aspirations of Israel:

'The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the NIle to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.'

On the other extreme, excerpts from the Protocols have even appeared in the Jordanian school curriculum."

2002 - Anti-Defamation League (ADL)