The Protocols Strike Again / DR.Israel Bar- nir

A. A Brief Historical Background

The beginning of the previous century saw the appearance of a new “literary” piece by the name The Protocols of the [Learned] Elders of Zion (in the original Russian: Протоколы сионских мудрецов or Сионские протоколы). That document became a best seller. Despite its being literary forgery, it still has a wide market and a solid and loyal readership.

Initially it was a plagiarism. A German by the name Hermann Ottomar Friedrich Gödsche, who used also the alias Sir John Retcliffe borrowed a parody written on Napoleon III in 1864, by a French satirican Maurice Joly. After replacing all references to Napoleon with Jews, Gödsche published it in 1868 under his name, calling it Biaritz (in English it was called To Sedan).

An agent of the Okhrana, the Tsarist Russian secret police, Pyotr Ivanovich Rachovsky, edited the document into its final form in 1895, believing that it would serve as a propaganda tool to rally the Russian masses against the Jews and the Free Masons. A first [abbreviated] version appeared in Russia in 1903, in the paper Znamia. A Russian mystic, Sergei Nilus, included the Protocols as a chapter in a book that he has written in 1905, by the name The Great in the Small: The Coming of the anti Christ and the Rule of Satan on Earth. Nilus’s book was reprinted four times until the revolution of 1917.

The full text (in English) of the Protocols, as well as comments and notes, can be found here:; and here:;
the time line can be found here:

Two episodes are worth mentioning. The first American version of the protocols appeared in 1920. It was financed by Henry Ford, the known car maker. Later, in 1927, Ford apologized, admitting that it was a forgery. More interesting is a comment found in the diaries of Joseph Göbbeles, Hitler’s propaganda minister, from 1924: “I believe that the Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion are a forgery, However, I believe in the intrinsic but not the factual truth of the Protocols.” This statement sounds like the apology offered by the New York Times when Dan Rather was caught reporting bogus news - “Fake but Accurate”.

Starting in 1920, the Protocols have been translated into many languages. Along the twentieth century, a host of works and research papers were published proving that the Protocols were a hoax. The “faithful”, however, were not convinced and they remain steadfast in their beliefs.

B. What is it All About?

In a nutshell, the Protocols postulate the existence of a secret council of Jewish sages (the Elders of Zion) who conduct periodic secret meetings in the small hours of the night in the old Jewish cemetery of Prague. This council is running the world behind the scenes and is behind all that ails the world - wars, economic crises and every other conceivable disaster.

Not surprisingly the Protocols are widely read in the Arab world and they are practically required reading in the education system there. A few years ago the Egyptian TV produced a 24 chapter mini series based on the Protocols.

The convening of the first Zionist Congress in 1897, provided unexpected boost to the ideas expressed in the Protocols. People prejudiced against Jews saw the Congress as an incarnation of the secret council. The authenticity of the Protocols was not questioned by those harboring anti Jewish sentiments, not only the uneducated. Many among the better educated classes “bought” the idea. People associated the mysterious council with other secret organizations that existed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in particular the Free Masons who for whatever reasons were considered especially dangerous by the Tsarist secret police. It is difficult to see the connection. The Free Masons is not a Jewish organization, and to the best of my knowledge there are not many Jewish members in its ranks.

C. Revival of an Old Idea

Along the twentieth century the Protocols served as an effective tool to demonize Jews and provide a “rational” basis for anti Jewish sentiments.

In the wake of what happened in World War II, anti Semitism lost its allure. That does not necessarily mean that people who had hated Jews started to love them all of a sudden. However, being dubbed an anti Semite became a stigma, in particular among enlightened intellectuals, and people who did harbor anti Jewish sentiments kept a low profile. In the post World War II era, a hundred years old dubious document used, among others, by the Tsarist Russia secret police and by the Nazis, a document exposed as a forgery, could no longer serve the goals of Jew haters. Thus, the Protocols ceased to be something one displayed on one’s book shelf. Something new had to be found. Something to replace the old.

It did not take long to find someone who would rise to the challenge. Rather than a by a backward fanatic religious mystic, the flame was reignited by highly educated individuals under academic auspices. Two eminent American scholars, from two of the top universities of the country, undertook upon themselves the task of filling the void created when the original Protocols were discredited. The two, Prof. John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago, and Prof. Stephen Walt from Harvard University (The Kennedy School of Government), published in March of 2006, a research paper titled “The Israeli Lobby”. Despite the modern rendition and the academic presumptions, reading that essay, one cannot help a feeling of déjà vu. The central theme of this essay is essentially the same as that of the Protocols. As the target audience is no longer the uneducated masses of Tsarist Russia, the two authors deemed it necessary to introduce a few minor modifications for the sake of better credibility.

In this new version of the Protocols, the venue of the secret meetings, the old Jewish cemetery of Prague, has been relocated to Washington DC, and the secret council of Jewish sages (the Elders of Zion) was replaced by a Pro Israeli Lobby, a group of Jews and pro Israeli fanatic Christians, in the US capital. As for the rest - it is the same old story. Among others, the allegations made in that essay are that members of the Lobby have infiltrated all branches of the US government at all levels, that the Lobby has "significant leverage” over the Executive Branch of the US government, and that it has the ability to make sure that the "Lobby's perspective on Israel” is widely reflected in the main stream media. In particular the Lobby has a "stranglehold” on the US Congress.

From a scientific perspective it is a shoddy piece of research and exemplifies poor scholarship. It is rife with wrong statements, half truths and tendentious distortions. Upon its appearance, the work met with a wide wave of criticisms by scholars from various institutions, pointing out blatant errors and distortions in the work. Harvard University dissociated itself from the work, deeming its quality (as a research) below par for an Institution of that caliber. The University of Chicago had no similar reservations.

The two authors adamantly refused to respond to any of the criticisms and took cover behind the claim that the very fact that they were criticized was a proof of the existence of the Lobby and its power. The full text of the original work can be found on the WEB page of The Kennedy School of Government (one has to subscribe). The published [edited] version of the paper can be found here:

An interesting point arises regarding the publication of that research. Both authors are American, and are known scholars with impeccable records. Both are faculty members in top of the line institutions. Any American journal would have been glad to accept for publication any paper from these authors. Yet they decided to have their work published in the UK. Apparently they believed that the British academia would be more receptive to allegations about a Jewish dominated world.

History never repeats itself in exactly the same fashion. There are always some differences. This is also the case here. The Mearshheimer-Walt version of the Protocols differs slightly from the previous one, particularly in the intellectual environment in which it grew. The basic idea, however, did not change.

The two authors did not rest on their laurels. Taking their cue from Jimmy Carter, whose book, slandering Israel as an Apartheid state, was a commercial success, they decided to follow the research paper with a book. The book, a 496 pages tome bearing the same title, appeared in August of 2007. Among Jew haters that book is certain to be a best seller, and one can bet that an Arab language version is in the offing.

As a matter of fact Walt and Mearsheimer are not original. WEB sites with stories about the Zionists running the US government and the world abound on the Internet. The acronym ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government) is frequently encountered in hate pages on the Internet. It is limited to right wing freaks. The following paragraph is taken from an article which appeared in the NY Times on February 5, 2004:

“Israel’s Prime Minister has had George Bush under house arrest in the Oval Office. Mr. Sharon has . . . . Mr. Bush surrounded by Jewish and Christian pro-Israel lobbyists, . . . . ready to do whatever Mr. Sharon dictates, and by political handlers telling the president not to put any pressure on Israel ...”

That journalistic piece was penned by the NY Times’ pundit in chief, Tom Friedman, a three time Pulitzer winner.

To clarify, I do not claim that there is no Jewish/Zionist/Israeli influence on decisions made by the US government. There is. Its effectiveness varies according to the specific occupant of the White House. Nonetheless, it is not different from the influence of other lobbies. AIPAC has a record of some impressive achievements, but there were many occasions where it failed to prevent the administration from pursuing policies deemed detrimental to Israeli interest. In comparison, the power of Saudi Arabia lobby in DC (it is not defined formally as a “lobby”, but to all intents and purposes it is one), overshadows that of AIPAC.

A central allegation in the Walt-Mearsheimer “research” is that the Israeli Lobby was behind Preident Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003. Like all agenda based research this is a pure fabrication. The truth is exactly the opposite. According to Lawrence Wilkerson, who was head of policy planning at the State Department under Colin Powell, the Israelis warned President Bush against invading Iraq, predicting that it would go sour. If anything, they tried to shift his attention to Iran.

In the politically correct world we live in, what matters is the agenda. Facts and truths are discarded and replaced with fabrications that fit the agenda. If it fits the agenda even pure bunk is accepted. That’s the case here. Given the stature of the authors, the Walt-Mearsheimer literary endeavor is certain to get an honorary place on the bookshelves of libraries in schools of government and international politics in academic institutions all over the country. It will be required reading for generations of students in the coming century who will have little reason to doubt the veracity of its allegations.

Note: A Hebrew version of this article appeared in the E- Mago forum, in September of 2007 ( The two main characters are still active and up to their shenanigans, it was deemed therefore appropriate to produce this English version.

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