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Introduction

  • Stephen Eric Bronner
Chapter

Abstract

The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion is probably the most influential work of antisemitism ever written. It consists of the supposed minutes from 24 sessions of a congress held by representatives from the “twelve tribes of Israel” and led by a Grand Rabbi, whose purpose was to plan the conquest of the world. This congress never took place. The pamphlet is actually a crude forgery created by the Okhrana, or secret police, of Imperial Russia. It first appeared in 1903 and incorporates many of the most vicious myths about the Jews handed down over the centuries. Used initially to blame Jews and their supposedly servile allies, the Freemasons, for the 1905 Revolution in Russia, the Protocols would become a welcome export around the world. If not simple hatred then pogroms, and if not pogroms then even worse, followed in its wake. It was applauded by royalty, it was embraced by counterrevolutionaries, and the Nazis made it required reading. It still serves as a staple for numerous fundamentalist, conservative, neofascist, and antisemitic groups in the United States and throughout the world. Indeed, what the Communist Manifesto is for Marxism, the fictitious Protocols is for antisemitism.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Eric Bronner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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