The Paterson 'Protocols'

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Mr. Pipes is the director of the Middle East Forum. His website address is

Arab Voice, an Arabic-language newspaper published weekly since 1993 from Main Street in Paterson, N.J., appears to be just another one of America's many ethnic publications. Its news pages are replete with items about Palestinian travails and possible war with Iraq. Its featured columnist is James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute. Its publisher, Walid Rabah, modestly describes himself as"an activist with the Palestinian Writer's Guild in the United States." Its pages are filled with ads hawking Arab-owned restaurants, travel agencies, real-estate offices, retail stores and doctors' offices.

It all appears achingly ordinary. But it is not.

For some weeks now, the Arab Voice has been serializing an Arabic-language version of"The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" in its pages (but not - revealingly - on, its Web site).

And"The Protocols" is no ordinary book.

It purports to be the secret transcription of a Zionist Congress that met in Switzerland in 1897, as taken down by a tsarist spy and first published in St. Petersburg in 1903.

At the meeting, Jewish leaders allegedly discussed their plans to establish Jewish"sovereignty over all the world.""The Protocols" includes their boasts of being"invincible" and plans to establish a"Super-Government Administration" that will"subdue all the nations."

In fact,"The Protocols" is a fabrication forged by the tsarist secret police, the Okhrana, in about 1898-99. This pseudo-document had limited impact until 20 years later, after World War I and the Russian Revolution, when a receptivity had developed for its message about a Jewish conspiracy to dominate the world.

"The Protocols" quickly became a best-seller on appearing in German translation in January 1920. The former German royal family helped defray publication costs, and deposed Kaiser Wilhelm II had portions of the book read out loud to dinner guests. Translations into other languages quickly followed. Henry Ford endorsed the book, as did the London Times.

Although the book's forged nature was established by 1921, somewhat reducing its appeal and reach (the Times and Ford both retracted their endorsements), it remained a powerful force. A 1926 study found that"no piece of modern literature has even approximated the circulation of 'The Protocols.'"

The historic importance of"The Protocols" lies in permitting anti-Semites to reach beyond their traditional circles and find a huge international audience. Its vagueness - almost no names, dates or issues are specified - was one key to this success. The purportedly Jewish authorship also helped to make the book more convincing.

Its facile embrace of contradiction - Jews supposedly use all tools available, including capitalism and communism, philo-Semitism and anti-Semitism, democracy and tyranny - made it possible for"The Protocols" to extend its insidious ideas to both rich and poor, Right and Left, Christian and Muslim, American and Japanese.

Its hold on the extreme right prompted a hitherto cautious Adolf Hitler to endorse the book, refer often to it and make it a centerpiece of Nazi Jew-hatred and a key argument in justifying his murder of 6 million Jews. In the words of historian Norman Cohn,"The Protocols" served as the Nazis'"warrant for genocide."

The forgery has since polluted public life wherever it appeared; as Italian novelist Umberto Eco explains, it was"self-generating; a blueprint that migrated from one conspiracy to another."

The process continues; last week, an Egyptian television station began airing a 41-part blockbuster Ramadan special,"Knight Without a Horse" spreading"The Protocols'" defamation to a vast new audience and creating new legions of anti-Semites.

That a forgery that helped cause the Holocaust is now openly published in New Jersey points to two important realities:

* Arab and Muslim institutional life in the United States remains as radicalized after 9/11 as it was before.

* Arab and Muslim institutions are now the primary advocates of anti-Semitism worldwide, including in the West.

To prevent"The Protocols" from making further inroads in the United States, advertisers, James Zogby and the newspaper's printer must immediately and completely disassociate themselves from the Arab Voice. In addition, Arab and Muslim groups in the United States must explicitly denounce"The Protocols" and condemn all those who forward it, whether the Arab Voice or Egyptian television.

Not to do so makes them complicit in the prejudice and villainy of this foul tract.

This article was first published in the New York Post and is reprinted with permission.

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Michael Tinkler - 11/18/2002

Uhh - maybe the answer to this is 'no'?

>Why is it always Daniel Pipes on this website ? Is there really >no one else to report on Arab groups and publications ?

There would have to be:

1. someone with a reading knowledge of Arabic
2. someone willing to use the reading knowledge of Arabic to read popular America-based newspapers rather than doing some other work
3. someone willing to report on what's running in these newspapers.

I'm much more concerned that someone is syndicating the "Protocols" in America in Arabic than I am that Daniel Pipes told us about it.

How do people feel about THE PROTOCOLS as opposed to THE MESSENGER?

Bob Greene - 11/16/2002

I am not sure what you you think qualifies as "trained accademic historian" but Pipes has a PhD in history from Harvard. He taught at Chicago, Harvard and the Naval War College. He has written extensively on the Middle East including its history. He has authored 13 books mostly about that area again including its history. Now whether you call him an accademic or a popular historian, historian and certainly middle eastern expert he is.

Barry Minot - 11/15/2002

This is "history" ??!:


"must immediately and completely disassociate themselves"


"must explicitly denounce"


"not to do so makes them complicit in the prejudice and villainy of this foul"


Dewar MacLeod - 11/15/2002

ah, scott, I see, history for historians only.

each comment takes us further from the original article. doesnt anyone care to comment on that, or is tit-for-tat all we have left?

Scott Jones - 11/14/2002

As I understand it, Daniel Pipes is neither an academically trained historian, nor a practicing popular historian. He is apparently an expert on Islamic fundamentalism, as, to varying degrees, are Edward Said, Yasir Arafat and Osama Bin Laden. The name of the website is HISTORY news network.

Bob Greene - 11/13/2002

Since Pipes IS a historian of the Middle East we are part way there. You may not agree with his conclusions, I generally do, but facts are facts and Pipies is an expert on the Middle East
and pretending he is not does not change anything.

Scott Jones - 11/13/2002

Supposing HNN were to have 50% of its commentaries on Israel, Zionism, the Mideast, and international arms dealing come from actual HISTORIANS of these subjects (e.g. a massive improvement over recent practices). "Moderate" or "immoderate" is not the problem.

Gus Moner - 11/13/2002


Alec Lloyd - 11/13/2002

So I presume Mr. Madision's solution is to censor both sides?

Shall HNN only offer "moderate" views? Who gets to decide how moderate is "moderate?"

I'll put up with Cole if that's the price I pay to get my dose of Pipes.

Albert Madison - 11/13/2002

Kates' comment is interesting but not to the point. Criticism
of the all-holy Pipes does not automatically equate to anti-semitism, a very nasty phenomenon which should be combated
clearly, insinuated less recklessly, and not used as a cover for other sorts of nasty prejudices.

I'm not keeping a running tally, but would estimate that the number of articles by Pipes on HNN are well ahead of those by Cole. Still, even if they exactly equal, and even if we accept Kates' extreme characterization of Cole (which, if adopted, applies in spades to Pipes) that simply means we have two sets of opposing tirades. The result thereof is a grand waste of time. Much like the waste going on now between the war criminals of Likud-Israel and the terrorists of Palestine, except that the lunacy there, on both sides, is costing lives, and American tax dollars.

don kates - 11/12/2002

It isn't enough for you that HNN endlessly prints Juan Cole's anti-Israeli tirades? Or is your problem like Cole's, i.e., that Jews exist in Israel, having been systematically driven out of all the Arab nations? Certainly you would never seen any critical comments from Cole about anti-semitism or Arab distribution of the Protocols.

Albert Madison - 11/12/2002

Why is it always Daniel Pipes on this website ? Is there really no one else to report on Arab groups and publications ? Someone with a desire for objective truth, and some expertise in history and historiography, who has a genuine concern about the dangers of anti-semitism and Islamic fundamentalism, but without the endless (and boringly) ritual calls for hate, fear and censorship as the only response ?